Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
14 is escapist slacker horror in roughly the same category as John Dies At the End, but with a less crass sense of humor. The setup is that Nate, a young guy with a dead-end temp job at a Los Angeles magazine publisher, moves into an apartment in an old building somewhere near Hollywood. The deal seems too good to be true, with cheap rent and a great roof deck.
Naturally, a few things are weird about the building. What's up with the green cockroaches with an extra leg? The permanently-closed elevator? The strangeness of the building layout? The cold spots? The tight-lipped, paranoid building manager? The padlocks on apartment fourteen?
As Nate investigates, he gradually meets his neighbors, including an exhibitionist artist who likes to sunbathe in the nude, a not-too-sharp movie crew guy, a female Indian computer hacker, a creepy religious guy, and an unusually fit older man whose backstory seems at odds with his skillset. Together, they form a mystery-solving gang, with lots of ironic Scooby Do wisecracks.
This really isn't heavyweight fiction, but I enjoyed watching the characters delve into the mysteries of the building and its basement, the constant banter between them, and Clines's imagination and humor. There's even a bit of sweetness, as romance blooms and we learn whom "Shaggy" really has the hots for (not Scooby). Audiobook narrator Ray Porter does a pretty good job of giving each significant character his or her own personality and accent.
The last act of the book takes us into some netherdimensional sci-fi/horror territory. The payoff isn't highly original or quite as much fun as everything leading up to it, but it's not bad, and that freaky tower towards the end is a great visual. Clines leaves a few threads unresolved and not everything makes complete logical sense, so perhaps there will be a sequel.
In sum, if you're looking for something deep, look elsewhere. If you want an audiobook that's fun to relax to, but has wit and a little creepiness, this is a great pick.
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
The first 2/3 of this novel are pure fun. There are mysteries in an strange apartment complex to be unraveled, a winning cast of characters to do so, and a great reader to narrate the whole thing. The pacing is such that you are always listening for a few more minutes, just to see what the tenants will learn next about their mysterious building. There is lots of original ideas, and some old science fiction and horror concepts reused in fun ways.
Sadly, as the mysteries are finally revealed, much of the fun drains away, and the last 1/3 of the book, while by no means bad, just can't keep up the excitement and pace. The twists are more cliched, and the revelations surprisingly unsatisfying.
Despite that, this is still a fun novel, and a solid read, especially those into modern Lovecraftian horror (Atrocity Archives, for example)
Great reading. Characters had distinct voices and brought the story to life.
I loved the suspense and the science of the first half of the book. It was mature and I enjoyed the theory and the intellectual approach. I couldn't wait to get back to listen to more. THEN...Somewhere near the last 1/4th of the book when the characters actually discovered "the answer" and the "monsters came out of the closet" so to speak, all the suspense flew out the window and it became a silly, contrived action adventure and I was glad when it was finally over. I actually felt a little anger at this book. How could it have been so good to start off and then end in such pure cheese?
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
What on earth is this book about? At 2/3 of the way through nothing had really happened, and nobody had really done anything, but I still kept reading because I wanted to know (probably as badly as the characters wanted to know): what is up with this building? And why is it titled 14? And why has it sometimes been tagged as "horror"?
That makes it sound like the first 2/3 dragged... it did not. For some reason the story kinda grabs you and pulls you in, even if it spends a lot of time keeping you in suspense as to what the story is actually about.
When I (and the characters) finally discovered what was going on, the story picked up the pace, and perhaps got a bit far-fetched... and it ended up not being at all what I thought it had to be. Of course, you have to suspend disbelief when reading. If you can do that, you should enjoy this book. It has a nice sense of foreboding and suspense and you're never really sure what's really going on.
I even liked the ending, pat though it might have been. I'd read more by this author. It is mostly sci-fi-ish, not really horror at all... There is a bit of violence, but it's not graphic or over-done. There is no sex and I don't think there was much in the way of swearing. The narration was very good.
Busy mom who loves to read but doesn't always have the time. I enjoy YA, Romance and the occasional Best Seller.
Although I typically read Romance Books I just loved 14! After reading so many good reviews I decided to give this one a try for something different. WOW!
I don't want to give any of the plot points away so I will just say this book is funny, scary, mysterious, creepy and a little weird. It's Dean Koontz meets Lost. Just the right blend of sci-fi and horror.
The narration is outstanding. Ray Porter did an excellent job of bringing all the characters to life (even the evil ones).
Definitely a credit worthy listen.
The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.
Well written, highly imaginative, apocalyptic thriller, ably narrated by Ray Porter. Listen, and you can expect several hours of entertaining diversion ... IF ...
You suspend disbelief in the fantastic. This plot moves from engaging mystery to wild apocalyptic fantasy. Let me repeat: WILD apocalyptic fantasy. You have to drink the Kool-Aid for this plot to work. AND
You also suspend logic and critical thinking. Here is the greatest flaw in this novel. Fantasy is not an excuse for sloppy plot development. And as well written as this novel is, it is bloated with illogical or unexplained plot elements, and not a few distracting contrivances.
If you think me overly harsh, consider just a few examples (minor spoilers follow):
~ Do we really believe that a government so concerned about a particular building that it would track public inquiries would not have more capable agents on site?
~ Do we really believe the same government would go to such extraordinary lengths to screen tenants and NOT track or arrest the cult whose actions it fears most?
~ And don't we find the explanation from the mysterious "owner" at the end to be a little too contrived, relying a bit too much on the "if I tell you, I'll have to kill you" contrivance.
Nonetheless, if you can, you should accept the world of 14, turn off that part of your brain that demands logic and internal consistency, and take this ride. It is a wild one.
This thing was listed under Sci-fi & Fantasy and was recommended to me after purchasing an epic fantasy Scott Lynch's, 2nd book (Red Seas Under Red Skies) WHICH WAS AWESOME. I put it in my wish list after seeing the HUGE positive ratings.
This book is fiction, sci-fi slightly... fantasy... barely. I would have some mature high school students read/listen to this book due to its easy going pace and somewhat interesting story-line. This book is NOT for epic fantasy fans or even hard core sci-fi fans. The narrator was good which is how I was able to get through this book.
When "14" first came out on Audible, I read the both the publishers blurbs and customer comments, and on the basis of that, put it on my wish list. I'd never heard of the author or the book, so I tend to rely mostly on customer reviews -- of which there weren't many, in the beginning. More to the point, there weren't any that said, openly and clearly, that this was a book of science fiction -- or maybe fantasy, a distinction I won't discuss any further for fear of spoiling the story for someone who does likes that sort of thing.
I don't. Or at least I haven't liked science fiction since I was about 9. I'd read ALL of the SF books in that impoverished little school library we had, and I loved them -- until I found myself totally blown away by the fact that I'd read a whole book -- an entire ADULT book -- about the dastardly doings in the world "Urth" without ever realizing, up to the very end, that it was EARTH they were talking about. Jeepers!
It's not nice to fool either me or Mother Nature about things like that, so I promptly dropped the genre.
The problem for me was, all the customer reviews referenced only a "mystery" behind that secret closed door. None of them hinted -- nor will I -- what actually lay behind it. Given that I'm totally consumed by detective fiction, my mental image focused on a room full of dead bodies, say, or maybe a few million in stolen loot. What actually WAS behind the green door -- no, wait, it wasn't really green, was it? -- was something very different, and not my cup of tea, so to speak.
When "14" appeared as a "Daily Deal" I didn't investigate it any more, I just snapped it up, which wasn't a bad thing at all. I loved the first three-quarters of the book. Peter Climes assembled a delightfully diverse and eccentric group of adventurers, people I greatly enjoyed reading about. The way Climes worked in their back stories, each of them in turn, was just great. Loved the early adventures, the run-ins with Oscar, the nasty building manager, Nate's story, the times and trials of being a data entry clerk at a magazine -- who knew? -- and about all the beer consumed on that scenic roof top. Sounded like fun, actually. I enjoyed it.
Then it went weird on me. I got to the heart of the book, and suddenly it wasn't about eccentric women who sunbathed in the nude -- in public -- a habit the lady tossed it off with "Oh for crying out loud. It's just BOOBIES! Haven't you ever seen any before?" which made me laugh out loud. "14" got serious, with lions and tigers and dragons and things, and my mind started to drift.
I quit an hour before the end -- tick tock, tick tock, tempus fugit and all that -- and I decided not to waste any more of it on this book, which had already gone way beyond my tolerance level for non-reality-based fiction. I quit.
Still -- good book, and I'm glad I listened to the first part. Special kudos to narrator Ray Porter. He mastered a strange assembly of characters of varying ethnicities -- listening to him, I could picture every one of them.
If you like well-written weird, this one's for you.
This book starts out with a great premise. Kind of an X-Files, or Twilight Zone vibe. Unfortunately the writing is not very good. People are continually saying and doing things that just ring false and contrived. Every time that happened, it took me out of the story, and it happens OFTEN. It's irritating. Several times I almost stopped listening.
The other complaint I have is that, once the big secret is revealed there are about 10 or so more chapters, and everything from that point on is utterly predictable. Basically, once you get to the big reveal, you can pretty much stop listening. Just imagine how the story would be resolved if it were a Disney movie, and you've got it.
Also, there are a LOT of loose ends. Many of the "oddities" that set up the premise of the story are never explained, at least not to my satisfaction.
The narrator does a good job. I liked that all the characters are given very distinct voices.
An excellent read in the vein of Steven King's Under the Dome or Duma Key. A great set of characters. And a fun collection of strange and quirky mysteries which all add up to one big thriller and a fun climax. I will read more from Clines.