ABR's original Energize audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.
The first thing that struck me, well the first two things are. One – The gorgeous eye catching cover artwork. So many time I see horrible covers, and face it I am pretty sure most people actually judge books by their covers and I am no different. Two – In audible it was not listed in the science fiction genre at all, but in the mysteries and thrillers. Now I am no expert but if the story involves space travel and alien planets, I am pretty sure you could put it in sci-fi.
Energize is a story taken from the logs of Daniel Quinn a space mercenary. This “from the logs” made me initially think that the book was going to be in journal entry style, but it wasn’t at all. It was much more of a chronicle of one of his adventures. Who is Daniel Quinn anyway? He is a mercenary looking for jobs and scores to make as much money as possible in the easiest possible way. Except he has something holding him back. Daniel is not brave, nor bright, however, he has a determination like non other, has a heart larger than it should be given his line of work. All of this and he also has some emotional baggage that has been holding him back for some time, while also haunting his thoughts and dreams. Who finds information about the one and only ultimate power source that would make him enough money for, well, whatever. Ultimately bringing him and his smarter than it should be AI to an alien world on a mission. That is until a previously unknown alien society is discovered. Oh what is Daniel to do?
Alright, enough with the plot summary.
Thomas R. Manning has created a story that is very easy going as for as the science behind everything, maybe this is why not in the sci-fi genre. Full of complex characters that captured my mind and emotions. Daniel we have already talked about, Al the AI that is a non-sentient being that is entertaining in his own way, then there is Cessa (forgive me if this is spelled wrong) the ruthless female sword wielding assassin who I’m sure more can and will be written about. Manning also includes several unique personalities from the Dawnians, the alien race from the planet most of this story takes place. Lastly there are several Action scenes that got my heart pumping want more and transfixed, not getting anything done at work. It was fun to watch Daniel face some of his demons and grow and evolve. I am really looking forward to hearing about some of his other adventures.
I really enjoyed the simple yet brutal and endearing aspects of human nature that Manning explored. The fact that we will come into a land, knowing little about the natives and wildlife. Destroy anything and everything in our path as long as we can get what we came for, in this case the ultimate power source. While few if any have the guts to standup for those that cannot speak for themselves. Even though the odds are against them, they stay and fight. I was able to draw many parallels in my personal life to the latter.
If you are an audiobook lover you are going to know what I talk about when I say this next line. There are some narrators that from the second they start talking/performing a wave of ease and comfort radiates over my entire body. Like a giant fuzzy warm hug to the imagination. James Foster is one of these aforementioned voice actors. So maybe this alone is enough to bias my opinion of this performance?
Foster has a way of making the stars of the audiobook he works on in to real down to earth people. It does help that, at least the ones I have heard, they are just regular people having an adventure. One of my favorite things that he does are these subtle and sometimes not so subtle sighs while talking that express so much exasperation or frustration or boredom, brings a smile to my face every time. Along with that Foster varies the pacing quite dramatically for the action scenes, something that gets my blood flowing as if I were there. Paired with decent characterizations makes for a great listening experience.
Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.