Author C. E. O’Grady and narrator Scott Allen bring to life a compelling and contemporary science fiction story of love, loss, and memories of past lives in “Soft Inheritance”. The book appears to be the first released by this author in audiobook format on Audible, and I will say it was quite enjoyable without overly complicating or weighing the story down in heavy biology or chemistry. I do not intend for this next portion to sound like a negative, but the book is more a romance story wrapped up in bits and pieces of pseudoscience. Although romance is not one of my preferred genres and science fiction is one of my favorites, I found the book captivating enough to listen to the end; and I’m glad I did. If you are one who enjoys science with some elements of history, flashbacks, and romance, I recommend you give this audiobook a listen.
For the most part, I found the writing style to be easy to comprehend and at times more young adult (YA) than I prefer. Some of this may have been due to a few of the more unique and quirky characters who seemed over-the-top at times. More often than not, this language style surfaced during dialogue between specific characters. However, the author was able to quickly grab my attention and keep me engaged the whole way. I very much enjoyed the flashbacks and the secondary storyline they often brought to the book. Just from this I could see a series of book written filling in all the details that were only skimmed over in the book. Here is one of the places the book’s narrator shined as he was able to not only voice the main characters but also maintain a decent Scottish accent reflecting the periods of flashbacks. I think what kept me coming back was that the author put a fair amount of rather emotional tragic events along the way making you wonder what will happen. Will there be romance? Will the main character live a life of solitude?
What would I have liked to have seen more or less of? Firstly, the movement from one scene to the next often seemed very abrupt. I did not get a good feeling of a transition when moving from one scene to the other. Secondly, I felt that at times the descriptions or details of a scene appeared a bit forced. I would have like the imagery of the scene to be more smoothly and lightly painted allowing me to feel a part of the world the characters were involved in. I would have liked to have had more detail around the science and genetic aspects of the character and its debilitating effects. At times, I really felt the characters struggled with this fascinating but debilitating condition, and there are so many unknowns. It was like having to deal with an Alzheimer patient or other mental disorder. The author really did a good job of expressing both the positives and negatives of this genetic condition; it really is a curse and blessing wrapped into one. I would have enjoyed the book even more if the author had incorporated a bit more science into the story.
Scott Allen, who also narrated another book I reviewed, did an exceptional job with this book. As stated earlier, I felt he did an outstanding job with the many accents and characters portrayed in this book. There were a few slight blemishes in narrating the main female voice, however this is a difficult task for a male having a deeper sound when narrating female voices. This does not impact the story in any way as long as you can put it behind you. I also did not notice any audio artifacts with volume, page turns, or swallows while listening. I really enjoyed his rich voice of the main male character in this book. I look forward to future narrations by him.
For parents or younger readers. Note, this book contains a light amount of vulgar language and often used by the characters only during times for expression. However, there is some subject matter involving sex along with rather graphic episodes which may not be appropriate for younger readers. If you are troubled by any of the above, I would recommend you find a different book to listen too.
In summary, I enjoyed the book and its overarching premise. Even though I would have preferred to have more science than romance, the author makes it work in this book. I also enjoyed that the book was self-contained as it is getting more and more difficult to not get sucked into a series. I really feel there is more the author could expand upon and I would hope a second book based on the same path is in the works. If you pick it up and give it a listen, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.