This was everything I want an audiobook to be, and I could barely stop listening to it. So far, it is my favorite audiobook of the year. The voice acting is fantastic, with two actors reading for dozens of characters, and the excitement and thrill the book promises is actually delivered. You know what’s coming at the end, the interview with the subject we’ve all been waiting to hear from, and it’s as chilling as you could hope it will be. It’s a bit slow to start, because Bockoven has to establish the groundwork for his universe and the theme park, but once he gets going he doesn’t stop punching you in the face with fun and exciting twists and turns. This is World War Z meets The Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies in all the best ways.
The documentary style narrative can be a hard one to pull off; it’s a series of monologues and each one has to have a new voice for a new character. There are high points in the genre, like World War Z, which many have tried to live up to over the last fourteen years, but Bockoven has actually surpassed the thrill of that book. His world building is just as complete as Brooks, and you can genuinely tell that he put a lot of thought and research into the groundwork for this tale. I’d say Bockoven is better than Max Brooks at adding distinction to each character and they’re way of speaking, and you can tell each and every one is dealing with a unique form of survivor’s guilt and PTSD. The political tone and messaging is subtle but on point, and it leaves a lot of the moral questions up to the reader. You inevitably wonder what you would do in this situation, and by the end of it all, you realize you’d probably be just as shitty as the characters are.
I need to stop gushing about it and you need to read it or listen to it. This was too much fun to put down and a great way to spend 13 hours.