Plagued by overpopulation, disease, and starvation, humanity was headed for extinction - until an alien race called the haan arrived. And then the real trouble began.
It's been a rough day for Sam Shao. As part of a program that requires humans to act as surrogates to haan infants, Sam has been genetically enhanced to bond with them. So when three soldiers invade her apartment and arrest her guardian for smuggling a dangerous weapon into the country, Sam can sense that something isn't right. One of his abductors is a haan masquerading as a human, and the supposedly fragile haan seems to be anything but. Racing through the city slums, trying to stay one step ahead of the mysterious haan soldier, Sam tries to find the man who, in her 20 years, has been the only father she's ever known.
Could he truly have done what he is accused of? Or did he witness something both human and haan would kill to keep hidden? The only thing certain is that the weapon is real - and lost now somewhere in a city of millions. Fighting the clock, Sam finds an ally in Nix, a haan envoy devoted to coexisting with humans, or so it seems. But what she really needs are answers. Fast. Or else everything she knows - and everyone she loves - will burn.
©2013 James Knapp (P)2016 James Knapp
This book has it all - good writing, vivid images of strange settings, action aplenty which speeds up as the book progresses, well constructed 3-dimensional characters to care about, all told by an excellent narrator.
Some 50 years ago the Haan arrived. An alien race stranded here on a world of fifteen billion people: there is poverty, sickness, and - always - hunger. Plus the constant threat of terrorists and war.The Haan promised to help and they did but still it was a struggle to survive. To earn extra credits (and food), 20 years old Sam works as a surrogate mother to Haan babies, fragile, glass-like children who need constant care. She loves these tiny babies. But when her father is viciously arrested, she is forced to return her latest charge to try to find him and try to get him back. Together with two friends, she finds herself caught up in a nightmare of adventures in which a lot of violence ensues.
The story is told from Sam's perspective throughout, with all of her fears and the sights she sees vividly portrayed. Sam is no goody goody heroine. She smokes, drinks excessively and takes drugs. But she cares ... Jeannie Lin is the voice of Sam, conveying her emotions naturally with a pleasant cadence and perfect timing (even the gap between chapters is just right). Female narrators often have difficulty giving convincing renderings of male protagonists in conversation, but not Ms.Lin. Her renderings convey the male voices lightly but convincingly throughout and all of the different characters are easily distinguishable. Her portrayal adds the extra dimension of reality to an already thrilling story where tension increases with every passing hour.
The combination of book and narrator makes this a must read audio book for anyone who enjoys both action thrillers, mysteries and science fiction and isn't adversely affected by the spilling of (on page) blood. My deepest thanks to the rights holder of The Burn Zone for the complementary review copy i received, via Audiobook Boom. I will certainly be looking out for more works by the author, James K. Dekker, and his narrator, Jeannie Lin.
"Waaaaayyyyy too many people on the planet!"
I liked that even though the alien race that is in the book have technology that way surpasses our own, they still have a great flaw in their anatomy, which is they are very fragile when it comes to physical duress.
Probably the closest I could think of is the Lorien Legacy series where the aliens in this book are sort of a mix of the two races, the one that wants to help us, and the other that wants our planet.
I thought it was really cool at the beginning when she is falling and a portal opens up beneath her and she falls through it and gravity switches so she starts falling sideways and her impact is much less intense.
The moment after she gives back her surrogate and realizes what that entails, I won't give any spoilers, but what happens made me rather angry and sad.
I received this audiobook from the author, narrator, or publisher for free via audiobookboom in exchange for an unbiased review.
"A little bit of everything"
I haven't read the print but I love the narration and the added effects that the audio comes with so yes it is better.
It was action packed. It has moments that felt reminiscent to terminator, aliens, and all kinds of fun things that kept it entertaining.
Fantastic narration. She added life into a already living story which is crazy to imagine but she does.
Itense and thrilling adventure like no other
Worth a credit if you like sci-fi. Great story line and though complicated still easy to follow. I received this audiobook from audiobook boom for free for my unbiased review.
"Not your usual Sci-Fi Invasion Story"
This is a really faced paced story that seems to draw some of it's inspiration from District 9, with a really great twist at the end!
Jeannie Lin does a great job with the narration, bringing a unique identity to each character.
Overall, this book is well worth a listen.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.
Very vibrant, detailed wold and characters created. The story was very involved and took awhile to hook me, but it's interesting. Great sci-fi action.
The narrator did an awesome job. Great performance.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
I love science fiction and dystopian worlds so I was pre-disposed to like this listen. Turns out, it was even better than I hoped.
The twists and turns to this story are many and varied. The tech-centric future (past?) was very detailed and the writer and narrator were able to create a very visual world right down to the smell.
The heroine, Sam, had moments when you just wanted to smack her but man, oh man, did she prove her worth.
The narrator was very good and she made a convincing series of artificial voices as well. Way to go!
All in all, a very good listen.
This was an awesome futuristic story. While the names of locations used was was at times difficult, the story was top notch.
I was gifted with this copy of the book for an honest review; however, I would willingly purchase future books in the series as I enjoyed this one so much.
This book was non stop action with excellent narration that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The characters were well developed and believable. It ended with lots of unanswered questions and a Twilight Zone type cliff hanger.
"This audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobookboom"
"Riveting from start to finish."
This story line was very well thought out. All the dots connected in the end.
The only criticism I could have is that the story takes place in unfamiliar location. The details are their for the city, but unknown to most readers. That being said story still held my attention all the way through.
The performance was fantastic and exuberant at times. A little loud on the yelling parts, if using headphones or ear buds. But wonderfully done.
I would put the story on par with the likes of Blade Runner. Would love to see this made into a movie someday.
I thought it was a good choice to end it as a stand alone work or continue the story about the young girl and old man.
All in all I highly recommend it.
"An Odd Invasion"
The Burn Zone is a rather unique, full tale of an alien... invasion? I'm not sure how to exactly classify the scenario. It isn't a typical hostile alien invasion scenario, or V type false friend invasion. The book starts years after a rather cataclysmic accidental appearance of an alien species on earth, where a war didn't erupt with an overpopulated, tired, hungry humanity, but instead humanity more or less accepted the apologies and help the aliens were offering. In the ensuing years, resentments fester of various levels, from the person on the street to leaders, on both sides of the 'invasion', and at the extreme end of these resentments (once again on both sides of the invasion) devastating plots are put into play by people of authority on both sides of the invasion.
The story is pretty rich, and in some places complicated, but it primarily is told from the perspective of a young female, Sam, who is suddenly thrust into the middle of the whole mess. The overall length of the novel is also just right. It isn't too short, or too drawn out, and reaches a satisfying end.
Both the author and narrator are new to me. The author has another audiobook (under the name James Knapp) which I now have on my wishlist. Jeannie Lin did a wonderful performance with the book, adding a lot of life and distinction to the characters and story.
I did receive this audiobook as a review copy, and I am glad to have the opportunity for a unique tale like this.
"An amazing world building and a great narrator"
I was offered a copy of this book in audio format at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The story is set in a near future, in Hangfei, an Asian coastal city. The Haan, an alien race has crashed by accident 50 years before at an old station, killing many. As the Haan are stranded on Earth, and to apologize for the harm they did, the offer humanity great advantages in technology like special gravitational fields or gates to travel from one part of the city to another instantaneously. Earth is overly populated, with many people living in poverty and disease. There is not enough food for everybody, and 80% of it must be given to the Haan, causing a black market of human flesh and hunger. The Haan need to be imprinted from a very young age, so some people participate in the called surrogate program, raising young Haans. Sam Shao is one of this surrogate mothers. Rescued by the soldier Dragan from a horrible childhood, spayed, she enjoys motherhood caring for the baby Haans. But one day her guardian Dragan returns home early from an assignment, and several soldiers break in at their home, taking him with them and trying to kill Sam. She wil look for him but will discover a dark conspiracy that will threaten her and everyone's lives.
I loved LOVED this book. If feels a crossover between Blade Runner and an Anime movie. The world building is absolutely amazing, and the background story is cleverly introduced progressively along the book. Sam is kind of an anti-hero, she smokes, does drugs, and does not hesitate in eating human flesh if necessary. But she loves Dragan, and will do everything she can to get him back. I think everyone could, in a way, se themselves in Sam. Nobody is perfect but we will do everything for our loved ones. The main characters are very well developed, and the atmosphere feels so real that I could imagine myself walking on the streets of Hangfei. There are several twists to the story that had me mulling over for quite some time, and the great reveal left me shocked.
I just have one small complain, and it is that the action scenes felt a bit confusing. Things felt a bit hectic and all over the place, but apart from that it was a five star book.
There is nothing better than great books paired with great narrators, and this is one of those occasions. Jeannie Lin did a incredible job, not only narrating the story and giving different voices for all the characters, but also using sound effects. It was all done very neatly and it all combined guaranteed an incredible experience. Some female narrators' capabilities to interpret male characters are limited, but it is not the case of Lin. She has become one of my favorite narrators.
James K. Decker has written two other books belonging to the Haan series. I do hope they get release as audiobooks too, because I need to know more about the world visited by the Haan.
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