I purchased this novel on a whim, primarily on the strength of it's description. It turned out to be a great investment and a pleasant surprise! It's best experienced without much knowledge of the plot as most of the fun comes from the characters (who make numerous pop culture references and even compare themselves to Scooby Doo and his pals) unraveling the mysteries of the building where they live. Cline has a to-the-point writing style, a good sense of humor and he keeps this story rolling along.
14 isn't a deep novel or a book that will blow the reader away with tremendous, in-depth characterization. It's good, fun genre fiction with a memorable cast of characters and some genuinely surprising twists and turns. I highly recommend it.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
I am thrilled to rate this book with 5 stars. What this book has.....
terrific character development, I got to know and cared about each and every character; story/plot, I just couldn't put this book down (what is the audio equivalent of a page turner?); intrigue and suspense, the tenants of the building have a mystery to solve that is a matter of life and death;
romance that is hip and cool and relevant, with plenty of references to current culture;
and equal to the wonderfulness of the book overall is the expert narration, I am thinking that Mr. Porter is perhaps one of the best narrators ever, he did everything right, accents, pace, tone, and inflection.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book, oh I agree ......happy dance!!!!
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)
This is a very good entertaining book. The story is about a person who starts to notice a lot of strange things about his new apartment building. He forms collation of other tenants to unfolds the mystery of this building. The mystery is very intriguing and complete fiction, but it unfolds in very entertaining though highly unlikely fashion. The cast of characters in the book are very interesting and narrative is snappy delivered expertly by Ray Porter.
I found story to be very lean, and it moved at a brisk pace. The cast of characters are well flushed out, and their interaction is entertaining. Even though last stages of story become a bit out there, I would still rate this a very good book. I would recommend this book, and I will consider picking up other books from the same author in the future.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I really like this story, until it went off the rails about 75% of the way through. It really was too bad. I liked all the major characters a lot. They were believable and credible. They reacted to weird developments like normal people would. I don't even have a problem with the notion of the building being more than it appears. But once they go through the door into Apartment 14 ... well, the author's story unravels into increasing silliness. I could come up with half a dozen ending scenarios that would make more sense than what's written.
So you have a diverse cast of poor to barely-middle-class Los Angelenos living in an old apartment building in which everyone is willing to ignore the occasional creepiness and green cockroaches because the rent is ridiculously cheap. When new guy Nate moves in, just another wage slave working in a dead-end temp database entry job, he actually starts taking an interest in the strange mysteries of the place, like the rental agent who turns out to be an actress, the doors that don't go anywhere, the absence of a connection to the city power grid, etc.
He makes friends with his neighbors, and slowly they all become involved in solving the mystery. Half the book is character spotlights, from Veek, the minimum-wage worker who has high-powered cluster computers in her apartment, to Xela, the nudist who dyes her hair in day-glow colors with matching carpet and drapes. Tim, the guy with all kinds of secret agent skills who says he used to be a small book publisher. And Andrew, the creepy Bible freak. There has to be a creepy Bible freak.
The other half of the book is plot, as the Scoobies go about solving the mysteries. And find it's turtles all the way down. All I need to do is drop the word "Lovecraftian" and I've pretty much told you all you need to know about the story and whether or not you're interested.
Is this a brilliant, genre-breaking, or Hugo-worthy novel? No. But it's a pacey adventure with a little romance, a little death, a little SAN loss. The big reveals make sense, given the necessary suspension of disbelief, and Peter Clines has created a consistent world in need of saving.
I've come to rely on Peter Clines to deliver good dark fun with straightforward prose and storytelling in gleeful genre mash-ups, and that's what 14 is. So: Lovecraftian adventure in a creepy old Los Angeles apartment building. You in or not?