“Enslaved” is the first, and at the time of this review, only book available in audio format in the “Exodus Chronicles” series. The book is written by D. Robert Pease with the audiobook narration performed by David S. Dear. Mr. Pease has a few other books available on Audible, however this is the first one I have listened too. I am familiar with many of the narrator’s other works and have enjoyed listening to him. The book is a contemporary science fiction story that not only spans space, but it also covers a large amount of time. Overall, I found the book enjoyable and the story interesting. There were a few bumps along the way, but they were few and far between. If you are looking for a new series and you like science fiction, I think you will enjoy the journey Enslaved takes you on.
I found the opening chapter of the book both confusing and powerful at the same time. The listener is dropped into a traumatic situation requiring one to ask what is happening. Right away, you begin asking who are these people, what is the significant of the teddy bear, why are they on a space ship, etc.? At times it was a bit perplexing, but the opening events are revealed to the listener as the book progresses. The story and all the details are well unwrapped throughout the entirety of the book. Once we are placed back on earth, we are not presented with the same planet we live on today; not at all. Instead we find an earth that is overpopulated, government controlled, and lacks the necessary resources for people to survive. The government even has control over the number of children a person can have, and when one is born illegally, the government steps in and makes a decision on next steps. Not a very fun and friendly place to live.
One thing that sets this book apart from others in the genre is the ability for a person to have their memories downloaded into the next generation of living descendants and even one’s ability to selectively download specific events or remove others. Think of all the things you would want to exclude passing down to your children or grandchildren from your own experiences; which sight, feeling, smell, and all other senses would you want included? In the book this is called “transferring” and a person’s memories can only be inserted into one other individual. The other limitation is that a person can only receive a transfer from one other person such as their mother or father; but not both. Doing so simply overwrites the earlier transfer with the newer. I would have like to have had the author spend more time covering this technology as it was quite fascinating. I hope more time is given to it in future books in the series.
A few areas that I would have like to have seen changes was around the communication between younger alien characters. The pokes and jabs they threw at one another reminded me of an earthly school yard, but (sorry for the pun) it seemed alien that aliens would communicate the same way. Their phrasing was more young adult including some slang that for met just did not fit the characters or culture. It simply seemed to earth-like. I’m not sure how the author would be able to correct it, but it just seemed not alien enough to be believable.
One of our main characters had the responsibility to locate and chart a path to a new habitable planet as the population became too much to sustain itself. During her research, she discovers a shocking event that will change and speed up the expected launch in a hope to save some, but not all. The earth is really in a grim state and science is doing all it can to come up with a solution, but it is too late? At times I found the switching from one time to another somewhat confusing and I think it would have been better to have some means of transition, but as you listen you get used to this about a quarter of the way in. Just stick with it, as you will enjoy the entire story.
Regarding the book narration, I enjoy listening to Mr. Dear’s as he has a very rich and clear tone. He gives the book a more dark and gloomy feeling based on his tone, yet he is also able to easily voice the female and child characters quite well. Nothing like having them voiced by character of the same gender or age, but Mr. Dear’s does a fine job. If I had one criticism, it would be that at times I would have liked to have had more inflection used. Other than that, the recording was professionally done, and the narration was clean of any issues.
For parents and younger readers. I do not recall, nor did I make note of any use of profanity in this book. Often, I catch these, but I do not recall any. There are a few graphic scenes of violence and some adult subject matter, including state forced abortion, that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
In summary, I found the book quite fascinating and the worlds the author created engaging. Although there were a few times I was confused by what was going on, the author often took the extra time to put me back on the right track. When I really think about the book, it is a coming of age story with a few other elements sprinkled in making it even better. If you are looking for a new series, I would recommend you pick up this book and give it a try. If you are not a person who like series, be aware that this book does leave a few open-ended plot lines but based on those I think the next book in the series will also be a good one.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator