“Paradox Bound” is a recently released, best-selling, and highly-rated audiobook novel written by Peter Clines. The audiobook edition is skillfully narrated by Ray Porter; who is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators of the science fiction category. Many may say that this book is just another time travel story, However, you would be incorrect in this assumption. As you quickly learn, this is not about traveling though time, but instead it is about traveling through history in search of a lost dream. Take many aspects of a well-developed science fiction story, blend it with the suspense from a solid thriller, and toss in some fun humorous elements and you have a good idea of what you will find while listening to this book. Even thought at times the story may have been somewhat predictable, the number of times I was surprised and entertained made up for them. If you are a fan of Clines’ work or just like a well-developed contemporary science fiction story, I recommend you pick up this book.
I found the book to be a combination of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, “Back to the Future”, “The Matrix”, and a little “Dr. Who”. It sounds like a strange mix of stories, but it works in this novel. Again, it is less a focus on time travel per se, but more a focus on traveling through history with a potential to impact the future; and present. From the start of the book, it felt a little like the story of “The country mouse and the city mouse”, and what was even more funny was when the author said this in the book itself. A young boy growing up in a small Maine town sheltered from nearly everything new (apart from a video store), who is thrown into not only the big city, but the world and history which all depends on his success.
From the very beginning of the story, we are left wondering who these mysterious people are that the main character interacts with as a young boy. He discovers a stranger who is riding in a strange vehicle and is being perused by even stranger people. A few years later he again meets this stranger who is there and gone just as quickly as before. It was not until a few years later that their paths once again cross and the main character is lead on the strangest adventure of his life. The author did an exceptional job of keeping my interest by always having something new or unique on every page. If you are a person who can suspend belief and loves well told stories where there are paradoxes within paradoxes, I think you will really enjoy this book.
For me, the author did a very good job of developing the characters by giving them depth and personality. As the story unfolds, you are treated to some interesting backstory details by way of flashbacks. What better way of telling a story than to have a school bully, a girl you love, and a mission to accomplish. All the foundations are there, and Clines’ pieces them together in a way that only he can. In many ways, what often seems mundane, Clines finds a way of making it fun and interesting. There is a fair amount of banter and amusement between characters which helps to relieve some of the built-up tension of the main plotline. Take all of this and throw in some great technology, some old fashion cars, and even a train and you have a science fiction story with a slight Steampunk feeling. I also found the location of the story of interest to me as I’m from the Northeastern United States.
The book’s narration was performed by one of the more prolific narrators on Audible, Ray Porter. I have nothing negative to say about the narration or the audio quality; it was exceptional. Even having to voice a female main character, he pulls it off where many fail. His voice is rich and dark which added additional atmosphere to the story. The characters felt unique and that each had their own voiced personality. I personally have listened to thirty of more of his narrated books and enjoyed every one of them.
For parents and younger readers, there are some references to sex and sexual parts of the body in this story. There is also some use of vulgar language throughout the story. It is not as much as other books in the genre, but be aware it exists. If these are items that may be offensive to you, I would recommend you find a different audiobook to listen too.
In summary, I agree with many who have rated this book highly. The story and characters are likable, complex, and fun. The technology is well researched, implemented, and not overly used. If you are a fan of contemporary science fiction stories, I believe you will not be disappointed listening to “Paradox Bound”. If you find yourself listening to the book, make sure you listen to the author’s notes during the last chapter. I found his reasoning for the story, support from friends and family, along with the choice of subject matter interesting and it added to the overall story; I recommend you do not skip it.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.