Have you ever wondered what it would be like to possess an invisibility suit and leverage this enormous power to take revenge on your enemies? This is a dream that I believe everyone has thought of at least once while growing up. Well, in “Nowhere Man” by author David Gerrold and narrated by Daniel Penz, this fantasy is taken to the next level. For a young adult (YA) adventure story, Mr. Gerrold makes the story light-hearted and fun while also keeping the overall tale interesting and intriguing at the same time. There is plenty of high-technology, experiments, and life lessons that one can glean while listening to this new audiobook. I’m not often a fan of YA fiction, but I can say that this story held my attention while even giving me a few moments of laughing out loud. If you are looking for what may become a series of stories, I recommend you pick up “Nowhere Man” and give it a listen.
The story opens with our main character, a seventh grader, who is dropped into some difficult situations at school. The listener comes to learn of his odd family lineage and their genius-level intelligence along with all the quirkiness that often comes with it. I did have to laugh when the main character said how difficult it was being a genius, it reminded me of people in my life who had higher than normal intelligence who often struggled with the simple things in life, such as putting gas in their car. In this story, I was able to see the real struggles our character faced, not only school bullies, but his ability to relate with “normal people”. People like this are often misunderstood and picked on for being the nerd or geek of the school. This drives him to create a new superhuman like suit. The difficulties come when he really thinks thought the ramifications of not only his leveraging the suit for both good and bad, but what if the suit were to get in the wrong hands. Some good thought-provoking material here when you dig into it.
The audiobook opened a bit slower than I would have liked. It took a few chapters to get into it and understand what was going on. As the story unfolds, you begin to see the true depth and complexity of the story which is often not something found in more young adult audiobooks. Once I was hooked, it was easy to go with the flow and better understand the relationships, struggles, and more of the main characters. With references to some technology that was rather old (which I grew up with), I think the target audience may not fully get the references/jokes. There is a good portion of technology, programming, and other zany creations making this tale possible and fun. I can say that the story grew on me as it progressed. It also appears this may be a series as the book ended with some open-ended questions still needing to be answered. This is not a bad thing, but I often like to know ahead of time when picking up an audiobook if it is complete or a part of a series.
Nowhere Man was wonderfully narrated by Daniel Penz. A voice I can easily listen to all day. I have reviewed a few of his other narrations on Audible and enjoyed each of them. The audio itself was professionally produced and I do not remember any issues such as page turns, swallows, or background noise. I have come to expect this from this narrator. There were not many main characters in this story, but Mr. Penz was easily able to bring each of them to life and giving them unique personalities.
For parents and younger listeners, I do not recall anything that would make the audiobook targeted at mature listeners, and this makes sense as the book is written to be a young adult story. There is some light crude humor at times, but it was nothing surprising for this genre.
In summary, for a story that started off a bit slow and confusing for me, once it found its rhythm it progressed at a great pace. There is some neat technology and science sprinkled throughout which may even educate a few listeners along the way. The narration was excellent and without issue. Even with the target audience being younger listeners, I think this is a story that most can enjoy.