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Exoskeleton: A Novel | [Shane Stadler]

Exoskeleton: A Novel

A convicted felon is given a choice following his sentencing: serve a 25-year conventional prison sentence...or spend 365 days in a new, experimental corrections program. He opts for the experimental program, only to realize he has made a horrible mistake. A dark tale of science spun dangerously out of control, Exoskeleton will leave even the most jaded of listeners quaking in their boots.
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Publisher's Summary

"[A] cleverly executed [blend] of science fiction, suspense and horror. ... a certified dark journey into madness." (David Gammon, Horror News)

A convicted felon is given a choice following his sentencing: serve a 25-year conventional prison sentence...or spend 365 days in a new, experimental corrections program. He opts for the experimental program, only to realize he has made a horrible mistake.

A dark tale of science spun dangerously out of control, Exoskeleton will leave even the most jaded of listeners quaking in their boots.

©2012 Shane Stadler (P)2013 New Street Communications, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (192 )
5 star
 (46)
4 star
 (71)
3 star
 (46)
2 star
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1 star
 (8)
Overall
3.7 (172 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
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3 star
 (39)
2 star
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1 star
 (8)
Story
3.6 (175 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
 (75)
3 star
 (30)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (9)
Performance
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  •  
    Molly Lakewood, OH, United States 08-13-13
    Molly Lakewood, OH, United States 08-13-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    2
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    "Exoskeleton - now I get it"

    Very compelling, with scenes of cringe-inducing torture. I found myself saying "oh...oh..oh no...oh no..." a lot! This isn't about gratuitous violence - the torture scenes serve to make you understand how truly awful and hopeless the character's situation is, and also to bring about the interesting twist that I didn't see coming. The ending was somewhat abrupt, but I didn't feel like there were loose ends. Definitely recommended.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Columbia, MD, United States 12-18-13
    Ryan Columbia, MD, United States 12-18-13 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    2
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    "An Excellent Novel"
    Where does Exoskeleton: A Novel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Definitely one of the better ones I've read recently. Great writing style, compelling story and original plot elements that keep you guessing. The story keeps it's secrets until the climax, and while it has good detail and thought provoking sections, it never lets them get too technical or too esoteric.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narrative structure is definitely the strongest part. He cuts around to various characters and scenes, stays with them long enough to convey the meaning of the scene and moves on to the next. The resulting narrative flow is excellent, it never drags and results in a real page turner. He avoids the pitfalls of this type of writing by focusing on a core cast of characters and never padding it out with throw away characters.


    Any additional comments?

    This book clearly leaves some questions unanswered and there are definitely hooks for a follow-up if the author plans to write one. So if you are the type of person who wants every last detail explained, you may be disappointed.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 04-06-15
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 04-06-15 Member Since 2012

    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)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    294
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    9
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    Story
    "Step below B grade novel - more horror than sci-fi"

    I think I must be the only reviewer here on Audible who was not paid or given a free book to review this novel. There is no way this story is even a 3 star, let alone anything higher than that. Period. Oh, and it doesn't fit in the science fiction genre - it is a horror story.

    The book seems okay as it starts, but just got worse as it went on. It spent way too much time discussing/detailing torture, and the longer it went on, the more times the same (or similar) torture scenes were explored. It isn't really that graphic, just... repetitive and detailed and every torture scene was described in detail - being *just that little bit worse* than the scene before. There are only so many times we need to hear about the pain being so bad that he blacked out, or nearly blacked out, or greyed out or defecated, etc. And, seriously, all these people torturing him doesn't make any sense - there can't be an entire organization of sadists who have the sole goal of creating as much pain as is possible... as a job...

    For 3/4 of the book, the torture seems pointless but it does turn out that there is some (albeit foolish) rationale behind it. Why they went through the hassle of obtaining and using Will (as opposed to any other existing convict) was not explained, however. (There was some attempt to explain this by there being a shortage of convicts available, but... realistically, in the U.S. penal system there would have been hundreds of thousands of eligible convicts who didn't need to be framed in order to be used as a guinea pig.)

    Some specific annoyances: people scratch an itch... they don't itch it. The "spiritual/philosophical"component (as a result of torture) was lame. It seems it is there to give the author a chance to talk about post-death or souls, or the nature of existence. But coming from an author that doesn't know when to use "itch" and when to use "scratch", it was very hard to take seriously.

    All in all... it was an annoying book to finish: there was a lot of jumping back and forth between (mostly) irrelevant characters who all sound the same, a plot that is ultimately fantastical/supernatural but is presented as if it is realistic, and a setting that is conveniently contrived just so the setting will be correct for the author's "spiritual" exploration.

    The narration is not very good. He emphasizes the wrong part of the sentence sometimes -making statements sound like questions - and pronounces some words incorrectly (femur as fe-mure and epitome as epi-TOME). He also laughs or coughs when the characters in the book do (but thank goodness he didn't scream when the characters screamed). I won't be looking for more books by this author, and would think twice before buying books read by this narrator.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek Partridge new england 04-21-14
    Derek Partridge new england 04-21-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    5
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    Story
    "WOW-not for the faint of heart! A very good listen"
    Any additional comments?

    I chuckled at the reviews of how some of the scenes made people squirm. They weren't kidding. The imagery is at times intense, evocative and disturbing - but not excessive or superfluous. Blew a couple nights of good sleep listening to this before bed.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Herndon, VA 11-21-13
    Marie Herndon, VA 11-21-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    4
    2
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    "The best book I have read in a very long time"
    What did you love best about Exoskeleton: A Novel?

    I go through 3 - 4 books a month and I have never written a review until I finished reading Exoskeleton. It gripped me from the very start and I was hooked until the end. Note to author: Please hurry up and write more books!


    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Igrat777 12-04-13
    Igrat777 12-04-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    48
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    Story
    "Not what I expected"
    Any additional comments?

    This was a very interesting, and well-written book. First time in a long time that I had to skip ahead at some parts (the dentist scene had me cringing like nothing I've ever read before! - pure genius!). I really felt for the main character but was skeptical of him as well. His character was written in a way that made you question his innocence. It took quite a few chapters into the story before I realized that he was indeed guilty?/innocent? (I won't spoil it for you!) I would actually really like a sequel to this book. It ended in such a way that I would love to know what this character does next.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Therese M. Adams 01-05-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "not as scary as claimed"

    The book is very slow to get started. Other reviews claim it is chilling and will leave even the most avid horror fan disturbed. Other than the dental scenes it was in my opinion average for horror genre. Much of the torture was unrealistic both physically and psychologically. I found the plot to be somewhat predictable and the ending very abrupt and unfinished, unless the author plans a sequel. Sadly it is not a sequel I would seek out to read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natalie Fayman Boynton Beach, FL United States 12-27-14
    Natalie Fayman Boynton Beach, FL United States 12-27-14 Member Since 2014

    Vampyrvet

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "More painful for me than for the main character"

    One of the worst listens I've had since joining Audible. I will be asking for my credit back. The characters are one-dimensional and thoroughly uninteresting. The story itself is unimaginative and predictable, and I wondered many times if the author was a teen-age boy. I suspect the narrator is actually a text-to-speech computer generated voice. (unnatural inflection, phonetic mispronunciation of words like "subtle" ["sub-til"], "anonymity" ["anomity"], and "femur" ["fe-moor"]). The only thing I enjoyed about this story was the fact that it was short enough that I got through it in a couple of days. (I actually switched to 1.25X narration speed to further shorten my agony) I suspect the positive reviews I read on this site must have been solicited. I could write several pages about the reasons why I hated this book, but I can sum it up in one sentence: Please don't waste your credit on this tedious piece of garbage.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AudioBookReviewer Madison, WI, United States 11-07-14
    AudioBookReviewer Madison, WI, United States 11-07-14 Member Since 2011

    All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "it doesn’t stop or go down easy"

    First thoughts about the cover of Exoskeleton? What in the world!? Looks like a warped take on the Vitruvian Man sketch by Leonardo da Vinci. Is this going to be an observation book about the human form? How do those other symbols tie in? Hmm… This should be interesting.

    The main character is Will Thompson. He’s an inmate in an advanced treatment facility. He’s there to do a condensed sentence. Rather than spending the majority of his life in jail, he agrees to this ‘treatment’ to condense his time to one year. In doing so, he unknowingly signs up to be tortured.

    The Exoskeleton is a full body suit designed to go over every inch of the body. It in-cases the person in steel, wires, and tubes. They do nothing without the Exoskeleton’s consent. It makes the person a puppet to the whims of the controllers. It feeds, you, it nourishes you, it tortures you to the brink of madness. In some cases it pushes the wearer past the brink.

    Will is accused of a crime he did not commit, but he is still being punished for it. The corporation that runs the Exoskeleton program has a sinister motive. They are doing human torture testing to try to activate human telekinetic abilities. They want to figure out how to trigger abilities to make people into weapons.

    This story takes awhile to get going, but once it does it doesn’t stop or go down easy. The tortures are in vivid detail. Very descriptive. At times I had to pause the book because it would give me cold chills so bad that it set my teeth on edge. This is not for an easy reader or young audience. Scenes where it describes bending the limbs to the point of breaking the bones made my muscles ache.

    The narrator is Patrick Conn. His voice is smoky, smooth, and with a bit of a southern draw. He pronounced several words oddly at times. Words such as Lived or Whirred. The author is Shane Stadler. This book is 7 hours and 37 minutes long.

    This book left me with the feeling that sometimes bad people will do bad things in the name of justice, for knowledge, and for the gain of power. Sometimes these people look like regular people, but inside they are monsters. Hold fast to what you know is true, what you believe in, what drives you onward. Do not let bad people corrupt you into doing their bad deeds. Be true to yourself, always.

    Audiobook submitted for review by the author.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne D'Arcy Roanoke, VA 07-23-14
    Jeanne D'Arcy Roanoke, VA 07-23-14

    Sailor. Reader. Adventurer. Liberal.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    5
    5
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    0
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    "Excellent"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Exoskeleton: A Novel to be better than the print version?

    Yes, because the narrator brings so much to characterizations of the voices. His voice is very easy to listen to, and his pace just right.


    What other book might you compare Exoskeleton: A Novel to and why?

    Any of the books by Dean Koontz, as well as Peter Straub and other excellent writers of thrillers.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The culminating scene when the entire plot resolves itself, quite surprisingly and engagingly.


    If you could take any character from Exoskeleton: A Novel out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I'm not sure. In fact I'm not sure there are any of these folks with whom I would care to hang out with in real life - even though I enjoyed hearing about them and following them through this twisted tale.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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