“Waypoint: Game of Drones” is a captivating, entertaining, and gripping techno-thriller authored by C. F. Waller; who is known for a few of his other books such as “The Calling Tree” and “Tourists of the Apocalypse”. The audiobook edition is well narrated by J. Scott Bennett who is no stranger to Audible with over 130 books voiced at the time of this review. It is a rather long book consisting of nearly six-hundred pages, or twelve hours of audio, but the book did not feel or seem long when reading and listening to it. If you are a person who likes to be taken around the globe on adventures, enjoys technology and computers, along with a game of Hunt the Wampus, I recommend you pick up this book and give it a try. It contains action, adventure, mystery, and did I mention technology?
The story opens in a rather suspenseful and mysterious way. It quickly engulfs the reader in the rather broken and dark world of one of our main characters. We are given some insight into a few other mysteries which become relevant as the book progresses. In many ways, it is a hard book to review without giving away quite a few of the book’s surprises. Needless to say, this dissimilar set of characters must join forces to defeat their one true enemy. Who does not like a story that takes you from the bottom of the ocean to the tops of the clouds and everywhere in between? We are presented with strong AI (Artificial Intelligence), autonomous drones, conspiratorial countries, and characters who are often broken and in need of one another.
The story overall is believable and shows how vulnerable our wired and dependent on technology our society can be. The book was a bit over-the-top at times, but we are shown how friendships are forged, lost, and let go throughout the story. There are times of deep emotional aspects along with mindless points of action. The characters felt like they had depth and body to them; something that is often lost in many modern books of the genre. Characters were presented as being fragile and did not seem invincible like super heroes making me wonder if they would survive various incidents. The book’s technology was well researched and implemented. Some of the technology was more futuristic then what we have today, which is not a bad thing. It is a piece of fiction and not required to fit within our technological understanding of our present day.
A few things that I would call out, which are not major stumbling blocks to the book overall, would be some of the grammar and spelling issues I came across mostly in my reading of the book, I felt the audiobook edition made most of these disappear. Again, nothing that would prevent me from enjoying the book, but something that could easily have been addressed by an editor or others prior to going to print, once again the audiobook edition did contain a few updates from the pre-release copy I was earlier provided. Even though the book followed a specific path, I felt a few of the more open plotlines were not fully addressed once the book completed. I would have liked to have had a longer epilogue closing out some of the remaining mysteries. But once again, this is only a suggestion as I enjoyed the book’s ending and that it was provided as a stand-along novel not requiring a sequel, even though the story could continue into a future book; maybe if we ask the author nicely.
Let me turn briefly to the book’s narration by J. Scott Bennett. Mr. Bennett is a veteran in the audiobook narration space and I have enjoyed and reviewed a few other books, one of my favorites was “Titanic: Voyage of Death: The Final 48 Hours”. His narration is smooth, clear and well-paced. He provides inflection and emotion to the many different characters. Even the female characters are well voiced and much more enjoyable as they are not voiced in a falsetto tone. The audio is professionally produced with no noticeable audio artifacts. I feel like when he reads a book it is much the same way I myself read books, so I will need to pick up a few other books by him in the future when my queue of books is reduced a bit.
In summary, this book held my attention and drew me in enough that I wanted to read and listen to its end. There were simply too many unknows or mysteries that I wanted to resolve that a few of the book’s bruises pointed out earlier were moot. For me, that is a sign of a good solid story and skilled author. There were a few bumps along the way with grammar and spelling, but I can usually overcome or forgive them when the story takes me on a journey like this one did. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys book in the technology thrillers genre.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy book at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.