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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Audio Book Review: Phantom Universe (Summer Chronicles #1) by Laura Kreitzer

This is a really engaging story and good audio. I'm ready for the next one!
Although I loved this on audio, if you hurry you may be able to pick it up for free on Kindle!
Genre: YA, Sci Fi, Dystopia
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Blurb from
Sold into slavery to pirates at the young age of four, Summer learns to survive the rough seas of subterfuge and thieves through silence. When the boat she's lived on most of her life is destroyed, Summer finds herself washed up on the shore of a new world, a phantom universe full of the bizarre and extraordinary. She meets Gage, the one boy who understands the girl with no speech. But when their lives are put on the line, will Summer finally call out? Or will all be lost in the fathomless depth of silence?

This story is told through bounces in time through Summer’s memories from age 4 to the current at age 16. This technique is fitting since the story centers around a time displacement. Even though this was on audio I didn’t have trouble following the time flashes once I knew that was how the past was being revealed.

When Summer was four she was stolen from her mother by human traffickers. Before being sold into slavery to pirates Summer was beaten into silence, learning that she was less likely to be beaten if she never spoke. She has not touched land nor spoken since.  Although she has struggled with the chores on deck and as the cook, at age twelve she found a protector and best friend in Landon. He has helped her in the ship's galley while guarding her from the worst of the leering crew. 

Now Summer is sixteen and a childhood friend, Jaden, arrives on board with a team that is seeking to retrieve Summer because she has a power that they need to control. Jaden helps Summer and Landon to escape from the ship but when they awaken on shore they learn that they are 200 years in the future. 

The world they find themselves in considers them "outlanders". The League of Canadian Federation, under its dictatorial president, is putting the outlanders in camps and it looks like they may starve (or worse) those who can’t be trained and assimilated into the current culture. Summer and her friends are the outcasts even among the outlanders. The outlanders in the camp where Summer is sent seem to be mostly teens and are part of 200 million people who have been transported from 2010 to 2210.  Somehow Summer is the catalyst that unknowingly impacted the timeline.  One of the League authority “cops”, Gage, who found Jaden and Summer, has taken an instant liking to the nearly starved waif. He determines to find a way to protect her not only from the dangers of the camp but from the Clock Society who wants to capture her to either use her or destroy her.

Ms. Kreitzer has combined a wonderfully imaginative future world with some hard issues such as muteness, human trafficking and societal oppression. All of that is woven into a page-turning plot. The characters are nicely developed, especially Summer’s strength, bravery, fears and vulnerabilities. Through the story it is interesting to see the ways Summer learns to communicate. There is a strong, platonic relationship with her protector, Landon, and a new, powerful but frightening romance connection with Gage. The action moves along at a good positive pace. Near the end of this book certain secrets are revealed and a new character, Julian, is introduced. I am ready to follow the characters and their struggles in the next book in the series.  

The story flows easily and the narration is distinct and crisp. The narrator, Karen Savage, has a wonderful accent and uses different voices to distinguish the characters. I particularly liked her expressive reading that portrays the emotions and excitement of the action. It was hard for me to pause the MP3 as I wanted to keep listening. I am sure the story would be good reading but I really liked listening to it.

I will seek out more by this author and narrator. If you liked the Hunger Game series, Divergent and/or Inside Out I think this fits with that category of engaging read.

Summer gets a small revenge through cooking with hot peppers when a crew member destroys her treasured journal.
There is something about being insanely infuriated that makes one forget the consequences of their actions, luring them to commit to and conquer in blinding rage.

Audiobook Jukebox

Thank you to Revolution Publishing and Audiobook Jukebox for the opportunity to review this Audiobook.
The setting is primarily Canada with some mention and visits to New York. I will add this to my ARC, New Author, Audio and Dystopia challenges.

1 comment:

  1. I also listened to this book and found Karen Savage's narration quite cook. I thought that Summer's childhood memories were more fleshed out than the 16-year-old romance in the later half of the book, but the tension stayed high throughout the book, keeping me interested.


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