Review – Audiobook: Mort[e] by Robert Repino
Publisher: Blackstone Audio | January 2015
Format: Audio Download, 11 hours
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate
From the Publisher
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.
About the Story
The book began as an engaging science fiction novel: animals are transformed by a hormone and become self-aware, rising up against oppressive masters; unfortunately we hear little from beloved pets that are treated as family members by their ‘owners’, and only from the ‘slave’ animals. The uprising was instigated by the ants and the other animals blindly follow along. There was a mysterious weapon, or maybe it’s a virus, or maybe it’s something else. In the end, we do find out, but along the way the plot got a little confusing, and sadly I struggled to stay involved.
I was hoping this would be like Watership Down, but it was not. The book is described as “A genre-busting postapocalyptic first novel, a page-turning adventure channeling “Animal Farm” as imagined by Cormac McCarthy”; and true, there are similarities. Animals are no longer acting like animals, but rather as angry humans. But Animal Farm was teaching a lesson, something I struggled to find in this novel.
The story is told through the eyes of Mort[e], a former house cat and now a fighter in the war against humans. Morte is also searching for a dog named Sheba who ran off before she could become self-aware. Everyone tells him she is most likely dead, but he persists in his quest to find her. I found that part of the story, and Mort’s compassion and concern for Sheba, most engaging.
One of the things I didn’t like was the violence. I don’t mind a little of it, after all I do enjoy Stephen King horror novels, but I wasn’t expecting such graphic detail—or maybe because it was animals and former pets. Another was the religious symbolism which was prevalent throughout the second half of the story.
The book did have an interesting premise and lots of action, and I really wanted to like it, but in the end it fell a little flat for me.
The book was read by Bronson Pinchot who brought the characters to life. Mort was not that well-developed, and yet the narration made him seem real and more complex. The audio was nicely performed; my problem was following the plot.
Source: Review copy
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