Audiobook Review: Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry

3 04 2013

Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger, Bk. 5)

Read by Ray Porter

Macmillan Audio

Length: 14 Hrs 58 Min

Genre: Science Thriller

Quick Thoughts: Extinction Machine is like a sick blend of The X-Files and 24, amped up on meth, laced with cocaine, marinated in Jolt cola and mainlined directly into my brain through my earholes. I absolutely loved this book. It’s a novel so tailored to my likes that I briefly wondered if my 2-year-old self was correct and the world actually does revolve around me.

Grade: A+

Anyone who is a reader of mystery novels or has any knowledge of Sherlock Holmes has more than likely come across this quote "…when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." And those of us who have spent anytime between the pages of a science fiction or fantasy novel have probably come across the Arthur C. Clark quote "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I think the interplay between these two ideas form the basis that is Jonathan Maberry’s excellent science based thriller series featuring Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences. In fact, Clark’s quote is one of his three rules, and sadly the one most often overlooked is the second rule which says, "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." This is exactly what Maberry does with the mystery of a magician, he takes what seems impossible, what has become wrapped in myth and mythology, what is often scoffed at and ridiculed, and makes it seem eerily possible. When reading a Joe Ledger novel, the author doesn’t require you to suspend disbelief, he beats the disbelief out of you. It’s easy to take things like Zombies, bioengineering, Vampires and even Alien technology and dismiss them outright as paranormal impossibilities. I know, I often do it myself. While I am fascinated by these topics, and believe my mind is open to possibilities, that side of me is too often beaten down by my inner skeptic. Except when I am reading Maberry. Maberry doesn’t just make me want to believe. He makes me believe. He makes me think that those who don’t believe are the naive, ridiculous ones. He does this by blending just enough fact into his fiction, where you simply must pay attention. This is why Maberry has become my favorite modern author and his Joe Ledger series is currently my favorite ongoing series of any genre.

As reports of flying saucer sightings skyrocket, and mysterious cyber attacks plague some of the top scientific development companies in the US, Joe Ledger and Echo team are sent to investigate a lead, and walk into a horror show perpetrated by two mysterious agents in back with seemingly impossible gear. Then the president is abducted right out of his bedroom and the only evidence left behind are crop circles in the White House lawn… OK, Let me stop right there. Head onto the internet and find a better summary, because I can’t get past that last statement… CROP CIRCLES ON THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN. Mr. Maberry, get out of my frackin’ brain. I’m serious. This man is a sick demon magician who just pulls out my darkest twisted desire of things I want to see in a novel and puts them to paper, MAKING THEM BETTER THAN I CAN EVEN IMAGINE! Sorry about the caps, but come on… CROP CIRCLES on the mother of god WHITE HOUSE LAWN. Now, I know, most of you guys are not me, but really, all Maberry had to do was write that phrase, and he had me sold. Yet, it was even better that that. Extinction Machine is like a sick blend of The X-Files and 24, amped up on meth, laced with cocaine, marinated in Jolt cola and mainlined directly into my brain through my earholes. I absolutely loved this book. ABSOLUTELY. Now, I typically enjoy a Maberry tale, but Extinction Machine felt like it was custom built for my brain. The great thing about Joe Ledger is he’s not an action hero or superhero in a traditional sense. He is human. He’s conflicted. He is riddled with guilt and burdened with his past. And he totally kicks ass. Maberry takes all you think you may know about alien conspiracies, and put together a scenario that would make even the hardest skeptic think. Yet, Extinction Point is not about making you believe. It about great characters, a compelling plot, true human drama, and action so visually cinematic that I felt the need to carry a bag of popcorn around with me while I listened to it. No matter what labels I slap onto my blog, I am not a true book reviewer. I share my experiences with a book, and my experience with Extinction Point was pure joy, Extinction Point played into everything I love about reading, touching on topics that fascinate me. It’s a novel so tailored to my likes that I briefly wondered if my 2-year-old self was correct and the world actually does revolve around me. I know it’s a bit early, but Extinction Machine is easily my favorite listening experience of 2013.

There are certain series where the audiobook narrator becomes as vital to the story as the actual characters themselves. For me, Ray Porter is as vital a part of The Joe Ledger series as Joe, Ghost, Mr. Church, Bunny, Top and the rest. Porter makes this brilliant transformation when reading the words that Jonathan Maberry puts to page, he becomes Joe Ledger. Porter does what few narrators can do authentically, he adds to the character. Porter doesn’t just read the words, he speaks them as the true Joe Ledger would, full of emotion, humanity, doubt and confliction. He sighs, his voice breaks, he stumbles over thoughts and phrases just like you picture the real character doing. At times, I feel that Porter knows Joe Leger almost as well as the author who created him. Porter also is one of the few narrators who can read with a lightning speed, yet still; give every word its due. He races through the intense action scenes like a bullet, yet never loses the reader. It hard for me to express how much I enjoy this series and the work of this narrator. It truly an amazing experience and one that seems to get better every time I am given the opportunity to experience it.



2 responses

3 04 2013

Thanks for the awesome review! Maberry has bcome one of my favorite authors within the last year with the Ghost Road Blues and Benny Imura series. I have debating the Joe Ledger series because the description of the first book doesn’t sound like my thing… but I think you have me sold just on listening to the first four to get to this one!

3 04 2013

Sometimes I hate you 😉
I am hoping that my copy is on it’s way.
When I dream, I am Joe Ledger.

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