"[A] cleverly executed [blend] of science fiction, suspense and horror. ... a certified dark journey into madness." (David Gammon, Horror News)
A convicted felon is given a choice following his sentencing: serve a 25-year conventional prison sentence...or spend 365 days in a new, experimental corrections program. He opts for the experimental program, only to realize he has made a horrible mistake.
A dark tale of science spun dangerously out of control, Exoskeleton will leave even the most jaded of listeners quaking in their boots.
©2012 Shane Stadler (P)2013 New Street Communications, LLC
I found this to be a good story, if a bit graphic in some of the torture descriptions. it was an interesting premice and the central character was likeable (I found myself rooting for him from pretty much the start). I think some of the antagonists got off lightly, it would have been nice if they had had more of a comeuppance!
The narrator had a nice voice and read it generally well - except for the poor pronunciation of certain words which was sometimes a bit jarring.
Not a bad bit of horror sci fi. Pacy, inventive and with enough eye-watering nastiness to keep even the most battle-hardened gore fans listening. The story's a bit hokey in places and the prose probably isn't going to win the Booker prize but it kept me entertained nonetheless. My one major bugbear was the narration. Conn occasionally lapses into a monotone that sounds like Stephen Hawking's voice software and he frequently mispronounces words to the point of distraction (for god's sake someone teach this guy how to pronounce the word 'subtle')! On the whole it was a fun bit of gory nonsense and worth go if you've got a strong stomach for horror.
"Exoskeleton - now I get it"
Very compelling, with scenes of cringe-inducing torture. I found myself saying "oh...oh..oh no...oh no..." a lot! This isn't about gratuitous violence - the torture scenes serve to make you understand how truly awful and hopeless the character's situation is, and also to bring about the interesting twist that I didn't see coming. The ending was somewhat abrupt, but I didn't feel like there were loose ends. Definitely recommended.
"An Excellent Novel"
Definitely one of the better ones I've read recently. Great writing style, compelling story and original plot elements that keep you guessing. The story keeps it's secrets until the climax, and while it has good detail and thought provoking sections, it never lets them get too technical or too esoteric.
The narrative structure is definitely the strongest part. He cuts around to various characters and scenes, stays with them long enough to convey the meaning of the scene and moves on to the next. The resulting narrative flow is excellent, it never drags and results in a real page turner. He avoids the pitfalls of this type of writing by focusing on a core cast of characters and never padding it out with throw away characters.
This book clearly leaves some questions unanswered and there are definitely hooks for a follow-up if the author plans to write one. So if you are the type of person who wants every last detail explained, you may be disappointed.
"Step below B grade novel - more horror than sci-fi"
I think I must be the only reviewer here on Audible who was not paid or given a free book to review this novel. There is no way this story is even a 3 star, let alone anything higher than that. Period. Oh, and it doesn't fit in the science fiction genre - it is a horror story.
The book seems okay as it starts, but just got worse as it went on. It spent way too much time discussing/detailing torture, and the longer it went on, the more times the same (or similar) torture scenes were explored. It isn't really that graphic, just... repetitive and detailed and every torture scene was described in detail - being *just that little bit worse* than the scene before. There are only so many times we need to hear about the pain being so bad that he blacked out, or nearly blacked out, or greyed out or defecated, etc. And, seriously, all these people torturing him doesn't make any sense - there can't be an entire organization of sadists who have the sole goal of creating as much pain as is possible... as a job...
For 3/4 of the book, the torture seems pointless but it does turn out that there is some (albeit foolish) rationale behind it. Why they went through the hassle of obtaining and using Will (as opposed to any other existing convict) was not explained, however. (There was some attempt to explain this by there being a shortage of convicts available, but... realistically, in the U.S. penal system there would have been hundreds of thousands of eligible convicts who didn't need to be framed in order to be used as a guinea pig.)
Some specific annoyances: people scratch an itch... they don't itch it. The "spiritual/philosophical"component (as a result of torture) was lame. It seems it is there to give the author a chance to talk about post-death or souls, or the nature of existence. But coming from an author that doesn't know when to use "itch" and when to use "scratch", it was very hard to take seriously.
All in all... it was an annoying book to finish: there was a lot of jumping back and forth between (mostly) irrelevant characters who all sound the same, a plot that is ultimately fantastical/supernatural but is presented as if it is realistic, and a setting that is conveniently contrived just so the setting will be correct for the author's "spiritual" exploration.
The narration is not very good. He emphasizes the wrong part of the sentence sometimes -making statements sound like questions - and pronounces some words incorrectly (femur as fe-mure and epitome as epi-TOME). He also laughs or coughs when the characters in the book do (but thank goodness he didn't scream when the characters screamed). I won't be looking for more books by this author, and would think twice before buying books read by this narrator.
"WOW-not for the faint of heart! A very good listen"
I chuckled at the reviews of how some of the scenes made people squirm. They weren't kidding. The imagery is at times intense, evocative and disturbing - but not excessive or superfluous. Blew a couple nights of good sleep listening to this before bed.
"The best book I have read in a very long time"
I go through 3 - 4 books a month and I have never written a review until I finished reading Exoskeleton. It gripped me from the very start and I was hooked until the end. Note to author: Please hurry up and write more books!
"Not what I expected"
This was a very interesting, and well-written book. First time in a long time that I had to skip ahead at some parts (the dentist scene had me cringing like nothing I've ever read before! - pure genius!). I really felt for the main character but was skeptical of him as well. His character was written in a way that made you question his innocence. It took quite a few chapters into the story before I realized that he was indeed guilty?/innocent? (I won't spoil it for you!) I would actually really like a sequel to this book. It ended in such a way that I would love to know what this character does next.
The concept was interesting. There is a large amount of torture in the book and is described very thoroughly. I thought that the main character was very easy to relate to and have compassion for.
Exploring the potential of the human soul and what the mind can accomplish. This is a dark book and is not easy to finish but I think that it well worthwhile.
"Don't fall for the pitch."
It's a great concept. Unfortunately it's also one of the most poorly written books I've encountered, accentuated with a narrator who consistently mispronounces several words. Disappointing until it just became funny in the wrong way.
"not as scary as claimed"
The book is very slow to get started. Other reviews claim it is chilling and will leave even the most avid horror fan disturbed. Other than the dental scenes it was in my opinion average for horror genre. Much of the torture was unrealistic both physically and psychologically. I found the plot to be somewhat predictable and the ending very abrupt and unfinished, unless the author plans a sequel. Sadly it is not a sequel I would seek out to read.
"More painful for me than for the main character"
One of the worst listens I've had since joining Audible. I will be asking for my credit back. The characters are one-dimensional and thoroughly uninteresting. The story itself is unimaginative and predictable, and I wondered many times if the author was a teen-age boy. I suspect the narrator is actually a text-to-speech computer generated voice. (unnatural inflection, phonetic mispronunciation of words like "subtle" ["sub-til"], "anonymity" ["anomity"], and "femur" ["fe-moor"]). The only thing I enjoyed about this story was the fact that it was short enough that I got through it in a couple of days. (I actually switched to 1.25X narration speed to further shorten my agony) I suspect the positive reviews I read on this site must have been solicited. I could write several pages about the reasons why I hated this book, but I can sum it up in one sentence: Please don't waste your credit on this tedious piece of garbage.
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