“Alive” is the first book in the “Generations Trilogy” series. The audiobook version I was provided for review was a fully dramatized edition which included the words “Graphic Audio” and “Movie in Your Mind” at the top of the book’s cover art. This new audiobook edition was released in 2018 and the original audiobook was published in 2015. The graphic audio edition has fifteen people providing narration where the audiobook, currently available on Audible, shows it was narrated by Emma Galvin. The book is a young adult contemporary science fiction story much in the way of the Hunger Games but it takes place in space. Even though the book is written for eleven to thirteen year-old’s, I found much of the story enjoyable and the characters likeable. I’m not usually a fan of YA books, but I found this one quite engaging. The story is written by Scott Sigler, a rather well-received science fiction author who seems to include elements of horror in most of his work. If you are a fan of young adult (YA) science fiction with some scary parts thrown in, I think you may find this book to your liking. For those who are completionists in their listening style, all three books of this trilogy are currently available on Audible; but not in the graphic audio versions.
The book centers around a twelve-year old who often felt like she was much older based on their knowledge and conversations, but I could dismiss this and enjoy the story. Imagine you awaken out of a cryogenic pod and you have no recollection who you are or how you got here. You find others also awakening around the same time, and they also have the same questions plaguing our main character. Not only has everyone lost their previous memories, each of the children awake to find others having unique symbols or marking on them. Almost as if they belonged to a clan of some sort, and no one knew their meaning. The characters need to work out what has happened to them and what they need to do next. Many fall in to a survival mode and quickly think about food, shelter, and finding protection in numbers. Choices need to be made when they come across another group of kids during their search. Do you join them or keep going on your own? Along the way, many decisions are made, and our characters discover that for every one of them, there are often consequences. Such are not to be made lightly in their situation as it can mean the difference between life and death. We are also shown some characters that seem to have a special powers or abilities allowing the group to continue on their journey when stuck. Things get really interesting about two-thirds of the way though the book and some great discoveries are uncovered. I did like the way the characters had to often piece together a solution much like MacGever.
The author did a good job describing the world and the characters themselves. The listener felt a part of the story and could easily picture the events unfolding. There were many struggles our band of explorers faced along the way, and I did like that in most cases situations were handled in the way one would expect from this age group. Possessing an object gave some the title of leadership and in many cases most of the younger children were simply followers of the older ones. I enjoyed the mystery and build up as the story progressed. One never really knew what was going to happen next. Were the others they encountered friendly or foe? Even the listener was often caught off guard until it was too late. I thought the world building and the discovery of the characters was handled well. We find wild animals and paradise fruit trees along the way that often were more than first imagined. Add to this some mysterious flashbacks and an odd subconscious voice in the main character’s head, and this only adds to the unknown. The book is told mostly from the main character’s perspective, yet there are a few times we see out of other’s eyes.
Let me turn your attention to the audiobook’s narration or dramatization. I will say that I did not recall any issues or artifacts with the production quality. There were no observable page turns, swallows, etc. It should be noted that I am not a person who dislikes audiobooks containing sound effects or having multiple narrators, yet this book seemed to include both at their maximum levels. I often had a hard time hearing a conversation due to the overly loud sound effects or music being played at the same time. Simply placing these effects behind the narrators would have made more sense and provided for a more enjoyable experience. Each of the narrators did a decent job in the production and it was clear who the various characters were. Apart from the sound effects, the quality of the production was professional.
For parents and younger readers, this book is categorized as being written for eleven to thirteen year-olds. Some of the humor was rather crude, the book did contain some vulgar language and the book had elements of romance and sexual over and undertones. There is also a fair amount of focus on character’s state of dress and how revealing it is when worn by some. There are quite a few places containing graphic violence and aspects of horror that my not be suitable for younger readers. I’m not sure I would recommend it for this age group, yet for more mature listeners it may be OK. The author also includes some anti-religious aspects in the story, but these are not over-the-top.
In summary, if you are a fan of books like Hungry Games, or television shows like Divergent or the 100s, you may find this book appealing. For someone who does not like young adult stories, the author kept my attention from start to end. Remember, this book is a trilogy, so it should come as no surprise that it ends with a cliffhanger. If you want to know what happens to the characters, you will need to listen to all three books for the final conclusion.