I was offered a copy of this book in audio format at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The story is set in a near future, in Hangfei, an Asian coastal city. The Haan, an alien race has crashed by accident 50 years before at an old station, killing many. As the Haan are stranded on Earth, and to apologize for the harm they did, the offer humanity great advantages in technology like special gravitational fields or gates to travel from one part of the city to another instantaneously. Earth is overly populated, with many people living in poverty and disease. There is not enough food for everybody, and 80% of it must be given to the Haan, causing a black market of human flesh and hunger. The Haan need to be imprinted from a very young age, so some people participate in the called surrogate program, raising young Haans. Sam Shao is one of this surrogate mothers. Rescued by the soldier Dragan from a horrible childhood, spayed, she enjoys motherhood caring for the baby Haans. But one day her guardian Dragan returns home early from an assignment, and several soldiers break in at their home, taking him with them and trying to kill Sam. She will look for him but will discover a dark conspiracy that will threaten her and everyone’s lives.
I loved LOVED this book. If feels a crossover between Blade Runner and an Anime movie. The world building is absolutely amazing, and the background story is cleverly introduced progressively along the book. Sam is kind of an anti-hero, she smokes, does drugs, and does not hesitate in eating human flesh if necessary. But she loves Dragan, and will do everything she can to get him back. I think everyone could, in a way, se themselves in Sam. Nobody is perfect but we will do everything for our loved ones. The main characters are very well developed, and the atmosphere feels so real that I could imagine myself walking on the streets of Hangfei. There are several twists to the story that had me mulling over for quite some time, and the great reveal left me shocked.
I just have one small complain, and it is that the action scenes felt a bit confusing. Things felt a bit hectic and all over the place, but apart from that it was a five star book.
There is nothing better than great books paired with great narrators, and this is one of those occasions. Jeannie Lin did a incredible job, not only narrating the story and giving different voices for all the characters, but also using sound effects. It was all done very neatly and it all combined guaranteed an incredible experience. Some female narrators’ capabilities to interpret male characters are limited, but it is not the case of Lin. She has become one of my favorite narrators.
James K. Decker has written two other books belonging to the Haan series. I do hope they get release as audiobooks too, because I need to know more about the world visited by the Haan.
Available at Amazon/Audible
My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.
I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six-year stay in Belgium, four cockatiels, eight lovebirds, and a hamster in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.