A genre-busting postapocalyptic first novel - a pause-resisting adventure channeling Animal Farm as imagined by Cormac McCarthy
The "war with no name" has begun; its goal, human extinction. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that will forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony's watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans' penchant for violence, exploitation, and religious superstition. The final step in the Colony's war effort is the transformation of surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who will rise up and kill their masters.
Former house cat turned war hero Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bioweapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind Mort(e)'s recklessness is his ongoing search for a pretransformation friend - a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and learn the ultimate fate of all earth's creatures.
©2015 Robert Repino (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
This reads like a creative writing project where Orwells animal farm is updated with cats instead of pigs. Sounds great doesn't it, but the cat to human transition is so blunt as to be either painfully obvious metaphor or just plain ridiculous depending on your stand point. Strange to say the thing that disappointed me most was the lack of cat appreciation, as in, there's nothing cat like about the characters, nothing, they are human instantly. Interesting as an experiment but frustrating as a pleasure read.
My 1st audio book via Audible and it is a stark yet engaging and emotionally rich imagining of the rise of the animals. Capable and subtle voice work really adds to the atmosphere. The imagery felt quite adult-Manga to me. Highly recommended.
"Just don't think about plausibility"
No. It was fun but I wouldn't spend the time re-listening.
I've listened to other books he has read and he's a great narrator. This book's premise is crazy implausible, but he pulled me into the story and characters so strongly that it didn't matter.
Probably not. The long passages about the queen were somewhat tedious (that's why 4 rather than 5 stars).
I put this book in my wish list after reading a review on Slate.com titled "The best post-apocalyptic cat detective story you'll ever read." So far, it is.
"Couldn't Make Myself Care"
Mort(e) is about the housecat formerly called Sebastian, transformed into a catman by the ant-queen's master plan to uplift the animals and destroy the humans, and his quest to find his doggy friend Sheba. It's also the story of the Nameless war between the humans and the ant-queen's army.
I don't know if Mort(e) suffered from the literary ennui that I acquired reading The Yiddish Policemen's Union at the same time, but I had a hard time bringing myself to care about Mort(e) or his quest. Even after the initial brain-spasms of accepting the nonsensical premise of the book.I just didn't care. I couldn't root for the animals and I couldn't root for the humans. I could sortof root for Mort(e) if he was doing anything other than aimlessly looking for his dog friend until he became "more".
Blerg. Skip it unless you have a strange urge to punish yourself until you believe that most science fiction/fantasy/romance books about cats are beyond redemption. I have this urge and one day I will stop buying these books.
Regarding the narrator, he was fantastic. Five star. Loved his narration of parts of the Southern Reach Trilogy and will unhesitatingly listen to him again.
So basically, this book has pretty much everything in it. Which makes it okay; it does keep you fairly interested; makes you pick it up again after you've set it aside for a while. But it doesn't make it great. There's a lot going on, and I wonder if Repino didn't bite off more than he could chew because the characters, whether human, ant, animal, all are one-note. There's no joy here, no excitement, no passion. There's just a lot of action.
Okay, so I get it. This is going to be an action-driven novel. But whyyyyyyy (Yeah, I'm whining here)?!? Mr. Repino you've got this GREAT set-up for some memorable characters here! This could be a real treat of a novel! Instead, it's just a bunch of "animals" who behave/walk/talk/believe/have the intellect of people. I could've been reading a cheesy generic military thriller for all this was worth. Cardboard cutout characters
Instead? The only real life that's breathed into the story comes from Bronson Pinchot's reading (he's starting to impress me...!)
This book might be your style if you're not into character-driven novels, if you're more into action. But still. You might wanna hold off until it's on sale or something.
"A good start, but crazy end"
Yes, with the caveat that the ending and some of the statements made are a bit off.
The characters and their backstories are very well done. It's really easy to empathize even with the secondary characters. The story, while odd, is very good at first though it throws rational logic out of the window with some actions, statements, and generalizations at the end. I can't go into specific issues without spoiling plot points but needless to say if the end was removed and rewritten I'd have no issues giving it a top rating, but as it is the glaring flaws ruined my suspension of disbelief and immersion.
"Hard to suspend the disbelief"
Have you ever had a pet dog or cat? Then you probably understand what makes animals and their relationship with people so wonderful. They are not people. They are not little humans in furry bodies. They think in an entirely different way. That is fascinating and makes interacting with an animal and relationships with animals very fulfilling - mutually fulfilling. It is a connection with nature, and a relationship we don't have with other humans. And often it is a relationship based on a great deal of love and care and fun and happiness. Every dog or cat I have ever had was happy, loved, cared for. Every dog or cat I have known of friends was the same. They love their owners and their lives are often very fulfilled. There are, of course, exceptions, and some people are poor pet owners, but the billions of dollars spent on the pet care industry every year demonstrates that more people love their pets almost as children than are unkind to them.
All that understood, the idea that, given self awareness, all cats and dogs would immediately rebel against their "enslavement" and hate the humans and go to war is a stretch. Further, this is not a story about animals. Their thinking and the way they act is human nature in every way, and retains not a trace of animal nature. That was disappointing and felt a bit uncreative. It is a story of human slaves who happen to be in animal bodies and I don't believe represent pets or people really. It doesn't seem to connect to a current situation... what slaves is this about if it is about people? If it is about animals, they stop being animals pretty fast in every way and are just basically fur covered humans and animals, I argue, kept as beloved pets, would not hate the humans in this way or feel enslaved.
That said, if those things don't bother you, then it is incredibly well read, and I suppose the story itself is engaging, interesting science fiction. Some have compared this to animal farm. Animal farm it is not. Animal farm was a commentary on human nature, on human society, a parody and an interesting examination of the human condition. this is not a commentary or parody in any way - it's just a strange story about some weird people that don't seem to fit into our world of people, don't seem to fit into our world of animals...
But it is engaging enough, I suppose and well read. Just not what I had hoped based on the description.
"I hate cats"
I hate cats and cannot really defend why I purchased this audiobook. I think I was tired of my usual genres and just needed something outside the box. What I consider a good book is one that gets the point across without just enough emotion and description as not to waste my time. I do not do well with the Margaret Atwood type books, but I am a lover of Hemingway. Short, to the point. Done.
This book is very well-written in that respect. So much of it feels like just the right mix of emotion, description and characterization. The plot is intriguing enough, but really its the characters you follow into the chaos. I highly recommend it not just for that, but also because the narration is superb. This guy should narrate every audiobook ever made.
Overall good story. I feel like the humans are a bit overdone, but they fit their role in the story well. There is one chapter in the book that has large blocks of gibberish text that does not translate well into the audio format. Even though they stayed true to reading it all properly, it was difficult to listen to. Still a well done story.
"Weird but good"
Bronson Pinchot brought the book alive for me. Without him I would not have continued listening to it. Somehow his performance was so good that it surmounted the weird happenings in the book.
Wah Wah, was the most interesting secondary character for me, followed closely by Cul-de-sac. I found their back story interesting, very nicely performed by Bronson.
No. I don't see the need for it.
This book is intelligent, action-packed and a little scary. Great first effort. I loved it!
"Too. Slow. To. Get. Through."
I've enjoyed Bronson Pinchot's narration before -- I think -- but this time he seems off, almost as if he's sedated. The entire affect is flat, dispassionate. If the story works at all -- and I bailed before I could find out if it recovered from a slow start -- it's because it carries a wonder for our world seen through the eyes of a house pet. There's nothing like wonder in Pinchot's reading. It's stately, slow, and bored -- it's almost the manner of a golf announcer.
The narration is so poor, in fact, that I suspect at least part of it is due to bad engineering. I wonder whether this somehow this got recorded at something like 90 percent speed. (I tried listening to it at double speed, but that was a bit too fast to work.)
Anyway, largely because of the narration -- but also because the story, echoing it, develops with such painful slowness -- I bailed on this one around 40 minutes in.
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