Jake Bible and Andrew B. Wehrlen once again come together to create and produce a new post-apocalyptic action-thriller audiobook series where time bubbles around the globe permit people to journey back to prehistoric periods by simply entering them. These bubbles are soon developed as a way of profiting via tourism; but is it really a good thing? These are not your ordinary time traveling device, instead you are sent back to the period when dinosaurs roamed the earth and they are the ones at the top of the food chain. This familiar Audible duo have again created and brought to life new and exciting worlds, technology, and challenges in their book titled “The Flipside”. The book felt like a blending of Starship Troopers and Jurassic Park, and for me it worked. I liked the complex story, characters and world building, but I found the book lacking the normal amount of action Mr. Bible often includes in his Roak series. This does not mean it’s a bad book, not at all. Just that it is different from others he has written and I like the change. If you go into the book understanding this and/or if you are a fan of well-written and produced science fiction audiobooks, I recommend you give the book (and future series) listen.
As with most of Mr. Bible’s works I have listened too, this one opens with an action-packed scene along with many unanswered questions. This quickly brings the listener into the story and hooks them from the start. It made me think of a futuristic opening like that found in the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. It was quite powerful and impactful for me as the story began to unfold and I became aware of what was happening. I liked the suspense and mystery Bible creates in this story. Although this is not a fantasy tale, we are shown many new and different creatures which can only be described as something resembling a flying dragon; who has its own stash of treasure. I was a bit confused to see the book classified in the “Post-Apocalyptic” genre instead of “Military Science Fiction”. However, this may be the final direction the author intends to go with the series and this is only the first book setting up the scenario.
Because the story mostly focuses on a team of military people and a few scientists, there is quite a bit of graphic violence and over-the-top mean of people dying. Again, this is a Jake Bible book need I say more? Not only do we get a view into the needs of protecting these time travel bubbles from hostiles, we also are made aware of current dramatic and cataclysmic world events such as major earthquakes, etc. This may be some of the building of the post-apocalyptic theme. With all the action and events happening, I do have to say that Mr. Bible is able to weave in times of intense emotion. There are twists, turn, lives saved, and lives lost. I liked that there were elements that made me feel a part of the story as I cared about most of the characters he created. There were not always highs and lows, but also a fair amount of humor and surprise along the way. A pet dinosaur called Elvis, multiple pokes, jabs, and zings thrown around between the party members and much more.
Not only do we have the military parts of the story, but I also liked how Mr. Bible included and even raised a few questions around the science of time travel. Is there really a concept of a time travel paradox, or was that resolved by science in some way? You will have to read the story to find out. Although this story takes place in 2046, it did not seem otherly from what we know today apart from some advanced tech and knowledge. Much of the geopolitical facets of our world we know today also are a part of this futuristic Earth. At times I felt like I was dropped into a Mass Effect game that was combined with bits of Jumanji, and it worked well.
If we turn out attention to the narration performed by Andrew B. Wehrlen, I have listened to a number of his audiobook works and all of them were nothing less than what I would consider the highest of quality and professionally produced books I have listened too. His voice alone is a pleasure to listen too, and he is able to add the necessary inflection making the story feel like you are listening to a movie production; only with your eyes closed. This book is no exception. The audio was clean of any defects or artifacts, and the voicing of the many characters was done expertly. If I had one critique, this story seemed to be read a bit faster than his other pieces I have listened too. It was not a bad thing unless you are one who likes listening to audiobooks at a slightly faster rate than normal (1x).
For parents and younger readers, I would say this book is only intended for mature audiences. It is quite graphic regarding scenes of violence and the use of vulgar language is what one might expect when the various members of the book banter between each other along the way. If you are a younger reader or someone easily offended by the above, I recommend you pick up a book other than this one to listen too.
In summary, if you enjoy unique stories involving science fiction, time travel, war, and creatures with big teeth that can tear you to pieces, I believe you will enjoy this new book written by Jake Bible. Note, this book is only one in what appears will be a series of books. A number of the story plots conclude, but a good amount of them are left to be answered in the next book; not yet available in audiobook format.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.