Audiobook Review: The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry

29 04 2011

The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger, Book 2)

Read by Ray Porter

Blackstone Audio

Genre: Science Fiction Thriller

Quick Thoughts: An fun science fiction action thriller that moves beyond your typical novels with a detailed look at true monsters, and evil.

Grade: A

What exactly is a monster? I thing the concept of what a monster is has changed a lot over the past century. Growing up, to me, when I would think about monsters, I would think of Frankenstein or that creature that lived in my room who every once in a while, I could see just out of my peripheral vision. Today, monsters are much more benign. According to Sesame Street, monsters were cute and huggable, and enjoyed cookies and saying the alphabet. We have cute cuddly movies about monsters, saving the world and protecting kids. Yet, these where not my monsters. My monsters hunted you. My monsters were predators. Yet, I never thought of my monsters as evil. Evil is a choice, monsters are slaves to their nature.  A few days ago, I made a joke about how I was about to start the novel The Dragon Factory by Jonathon Maberry, and I called it “more monster killing fun.” I have read a few books about killing monsters recently, many of them really good, yet with the Dragon Factory, I really began to think, what are the true monsters? Even more so, what monsters am I really afraid of.

When I reviewed the first Joe Ledger book, I was blown away by the crisp, well choreographed action scenes. In The Dragon Factory Maberry continues his quality action scenes, but adds a bit more to the formula. The Dragon Factory is a look at the true monsters of our society, those that choose evil. Maberry isn’t very subtle at times, with detailed discussions on the Nazi experimentations and Eugenics. Yet, there is one scene in the book, a discussion between a young boy, we’ll call him SAM here, and Joe Ledger’s shrink best friend Rudy, which truly puts the focus on the issue. Sometimes, in novels of such epic evilness, where the true monsters are trying to decimate the world as we know it, and remake it in their own awful images, it’s the small moments, the interpersonal intimate moments that have the most effect. While I loved Patient Zero, The Dragon Factory grew my appreciation of Maberry as a writer and storyteller. Now, don’t let the deepness of the review give you the wrong impression, The Dragon Factory is a whole lot of fun. Crisp action and bad guys that sort of remind me of a more sophisticated, adult version Cobra from the old GIJoe cartoons. I always wonder about evil doers. If they could somehow pull their shit together, and not get into petty power struggles and suffer from intense paranoia, then maybe they would have brought about that apocalypse they have been so keen on. Yet, I guess that’s one thing about evil, it’s an affliction of the soul. Lucky for us, I guess.

Ray Porter again handles the narration for The Dragon Factory, which is a good thing. Porter handles the characters well, and his pacing and sense of rhythm for the action scenes are spot on. Yet, where he really excels is the first person narrative of Joe Ledger. For me, Porter has become Joe Ledger. He brings such a sense of authenticity to the character. Ledger has his demons, and isn’t exactly stable, and some narrators may take that a license to over do things. Yet, the instability of Porter’s Ledger is simmering just below the surface. His doubts enter in to his voice, yet they don’t overwhelm it. I found one early scene, where Ledger is discussing the anniversary of a tragic event in his life, to be the perfect example of how to handle this character. It really was a moving moment, and set the tone for the rest of the novel, and Porter handles it perfectly. If The Dragon Factory is the example of how Maberry will progress this series, then the latest Joe Ledger novel, The King of Plagues, will truly be special.


Note: A special thank you to the good people at Blackstone Audio for providing me with a copy of this audiobook. You can purchase this audiobook at all major bookseller sites, or at Blackstone’s own website HERE.



One response

29 04 2011
Jonathan Maberry

Thanks for that great review, Bob. And I agree that Ray Porter is the definitive voice of Joe Ledger.

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