Narrator: Peter Berkrot
Series: Wired #2
Published by Recorded Books on 29 October 2013
Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
Genres: Science Fiction
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Kira Miller is a brilliant scientist who discovers how to temporarily boost human IQ to dizzying levels. But this transcendent intelligence brings with it a ruthless megalomania. Determined to use her discovery to propel human civilization to a higher plane, despite this side effect, Kira and ex-special forces operative David Desh recruit a small group of accomplished scientists, all of whom are safely off the grid. Or so they think...
Soon Kira and her team are fighting for their lives against unknown but powerful adversaries. Worse still, while on the run and being relentlessly attacked from all quarters, Kira comes across evidence of savage acts that the enhanced version of Desh kept hidden, even from himself. Now both she and Desh must question everything they think they know. Can they trust each other? Can they even trust themselves?
And all the while, the greatest threat of all may be coming from an entirely unexpected direction. A threat that could lead to devastation on a global scale. And time is quickly running out...
Like its predecessor, Amped is a smart thriller crammed with breakneck action, unexpected twists, mind-blowing science, and philosophical and ethical concepts listeners will be contemplating long after they've finished listening.
©2012 Douglas E. Richards (P)2013 Recorded Books
Note: This works pretty well as a stand-alone even though it is Book 2 in the series.
Kira Miller is the star of this show. She’s charming, smart, and compassionate. Her physical beauty only adds to the overall package. Her IQ enhancing drug has let her chart the current trajectory of humanity and will hopefully give her answers to saving us from ourselves. Alas, she is the only woman. Yep. The whole world to play with, masterminds everywhere, humanity to save, and 1 female character for the entire book. Sigh… No wonder the future looks so bleak.
OK, so, obviously this book needs some gender balancing. Setting that aside, the science and action and espionage and torture and double-crossing and split personalities made for a very entertaining listen. The action never became fatiguing because there are quieter moments where science-y bits are covered or the characters are questioning the morality of their choices. I loved all the fancy tech too.
A little over halfway through the story, there is a bit of a surprise that I wasn’t expecting but I was very interested to see where this would take the story. The tension builds and builds as humanity faces its greatest challenge yet. A master villain is brought into play but I found him a bit one-dimensional. More than once, other characters are surprised by what he does, giving credit to his amped IQ. Yet his ‘incredible’ actions were rather predictable and didn’t take a genius to see coming.
Besides Kira, I also liked David Desch and Jake (a good guy but an adversary of sorts). Throughout the tale, sometimes they are all allies and sometimes they are all suspicious of each other. I really didn’t know who was going to end up on which side by the end and I really liked how the author kept me guessing on this front. Big Matt Griffin with his quiet light voice became the star of the show in the second half of the novel. Watching him at work made me want a chocolate muffin!
There’s plenty of references to Star Trek, the Borg, Asimov, and other SF geekiness. I loved it! Coupled with the science-y bits, this book made me want to brush up on my physics. If science isn’t your strong point, I think you’ll still get the gist of those bits.
At the end, we learn of the big gambit (which I won’t go into detail about because that’s a spoiler). I have to admit I was a little disappointed since I have previously seen this same gambit done in a graphic novel and it was done quite well there. Now, if I hadn’t already bumped into this plot device, I probably would have really enjoyed the ending. As it was, the final big reveal fell just a little flat.
Narration: Peter Berkrot did a really good job with this novel. His character voices were distinct and his voice for Kira was feminine. My favorite voice was Jake’s. Berkrot made him sound skeptical, a little angry, and yet with a central kernel of goodness. I did find that this voice for the Big Bad Guy was a little overdone as he sounded evil from the moment he entered the tale. The characters go through a variety of emotions and their amped personalities all experience some personality shifts. Throughout all of those, Berkrot managed to keep each character recognizable and distinct.