ABR's original H2O audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.
Several generations after a massive pandemic, the human population is reduced to a mere fraction of its former billions. Society has reorganized around small towns along the cost of northern California and Oregon, each with specific resources: food, fuel, fishing and most important to the story, water. Outside of the group of towns, known as the territory, are giant wastelands, where no one is allowed to go without risk of attack from outlaws, called the marauders. Intellectualism is shamed and met with ostracism, imprisonment or death, meted out from a police force with nearly unlimited power.
The story starts out interestingly enough. Roy, a child born from an intellectual father who disappears in his youth, is forced to battle his way through childhood, alone and nearly killed several times by his thuggish peers. We are given many literary references during his growth, seemingly more revealing about the author’s favorite stories, than anything else, however. Roy, now as a young adult, is sent off to fix a problem with the town’s main water pump. He is sent alone into dangerous marauder territory where his own father died, even though he will probably be killed, even though water is critical to their lives and livelihood, even though they could send guards with him. Sure, everyone seems to want Roy dead, but don’t they like having water too?
The plot continues down this disappointing spiral as Roy meets two-dimensional characters in his insatiable quest to…drum roll please…find where the town’s excess water is disappearing to. Roy finds friends and battles enemies, gets out of contrived and ridiculous predicaments all to find out where the extra water is going.
Paul Heitsch is the narrator of this tepid story, not quite bringing it the energy it so desperately needs. He is proficient and the production quality is adequate.
Post-apocalyptic novels have a large audience (this listener among them) and H20 has some intriguing ideas, such as society’s development generations after a plague. Unfortunately, the author quickly abandons this idea and follows one that is wholly unbelievable, propping it up with science that is flawed and unsupportive of his premise. If you enjoy young adult fiction, you may like this story that focuses on young characters with a light, nonthreatening mood. For those looking for meaty, post-apocalyptic fare that you can sink your teeth into, should probably look elsewhere.
Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.