Evil comes in many forms...
One by one, Laura Armstrong's friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents' death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a madman, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together.
But the killer's desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben's emotional relationship and Laura's pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his, and she has two choices-redeem him or kill him.
©2014 Donna Galanti (P)2016 Todd Barselow / Auspicious Apparatus Press
"A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended." (Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of Code Zero)
"Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born. Don't miss A Human Element." (M.J. Rose, international best-selling author of The Collector of Dying Breaths)
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Donna Galanti and Auspicious Apparatus Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Laura Armstrong is someone special. She has great healing powers, but that does not prevent her loved ones from being murdered one by one. She has terrible nightmares about somebody who wants to kill her too. Somehow it is all related to a supposed meteorite fallen years ago, when Ben was just a child. Ben is meant to meet Laura to try to fight against this evil.
I rarely judge books by their cover, but in this case its cover was what drew me in. I was not sure what to expect from it, it seemed a paranormal novel, but it was a sci-fi wannabe. The story about the two twins was a good premise, but it failed in its execution.
The characters were just plain and I could not connect to them. Laura was just too perfect, naive and kind to be real, and Ben was broken, and this was a good possibility for good character development, but Galanti just left it as merely drafted. Relationships were forced. I never got Laura's friendship with Jim, and how her parents accepted this without any questions or concerns. And that Ben and Laura's relationship was something meant to be... I am sorry but I cannot let that pass. The word Fate was repeated so many times that I could not help rolling my eyes. It could be because I do not believe in fate, and because I do not see how it fits in a serious sci-fi novel. One of the characters could see the future, and he said that he knew some things were going to happen, but about other things could or could not, depending on people's decisions. This felt ambiguous and it was as if the author was trying to explain something very profound without succeeding at it. Due to these aspects I did not care much for the characters or what happened to them.
At some point I felt I was reading a new version of the Beauty and the Beast, where all things ugly should be bad by popular opinion. And the Beauty is all good, innocence and kindness. It was just too black and white.
There are several explicit sex scenes in the book, that apart from not adding anything to the story, seemed repetitive and unrealistic. A man and a girl, her with little experience, and him with experience just with prostitutes, meet and shortly after have the best sex of their lives climaxing at the same time. Where does this happen? Just in romantic novels, believe me. I like when sex scenes add some value to the book, or they are described in an original way, but none of these two things happen in this book.
Chase Bradley narration was not bad, but also not great. It felt like he was more reading than really interpreting, and all voices sounded the same. His voice is very clear though, and despite feeling the speed a bit slower than average, this is not a real problem since the Audible App allows for speed shift.
It was an okay book but I will not continue the series since I prefer a different kind of science-fiction.
Donna wrote a captivating story that combines a great story and well-painted surrounding. I liked the detailed descriptions of the landscape and well-developed characters. The romance was a little too much for my liking but is most likely endorsed by female readers, as it gives a lot of depth to the characters but does little for the plot itself. Well, that is only me though 😉.
Mr. B, because he reminded me of myself
In the audiobook version the broad American accent of the narrator rounds up the setting but requires a little time to get accustomed to for us on the other side of the pond. However, he is well capable of capturing and transmitting the atmosphere, the mood, the setting, and all the wonderful facets of Donna’s piece of art.
Every time when Laura, the protagonist, shows her loving and caring nature, even in the worst situations and to the most undeserving creatures.
The lives of a boy and a man change as something falls from the sky and destroys a hamlet in a remote mountain area.
The US government strives to collect all evidence and purchases all cabins in the area bar one that belongs to a recluse.
Months later a government agent ensures that the child of a runaway is born without reliable witnesses. The mother dies during delivery, but the paid for doctor has a change of heart and as he realises that the runaway delivers twins he hands over only the deformed firstborn boy and secures the second born girl can stay with the people who looked after the runaway girl.
The girl grows up with their foster parents on a farm in a nearby village and eventually becomes friend with the hermit and a boy that witnessed the incident before her birth and became an orphan by it.
Also the state agent has no proof of it he suspects that the government was betrayed and in his spear time follows the development of the two orphans, especially as he has a personal relationship to the girl and the deformed boy he brought to the government agency.
The twins and the agent have, or develop, some mystical and esoteric characteristics and depending on the upbringing the girl becomes the love part and the twin brother the hate part in a distant relationship that ends in a battle between good and evil.
but is it evil or only a mirror of the upbringing?
Is the light dark in one or only hidden under a bowl?
Can regular people help when higher powers are battling?
Is the future fixed or can it be changed?
If you are looking for a great read and like to get lost in a fantastic story you will love this book. It is a true page turner.
I am looking forward to the second part in the trilogy as an audiobook and wait patiently on the release of the third book, and I am convinced you will do so as well!
I chose to listen to this audiobook after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
Several lives are intertwined in this Sci Fi story and the author does a good job of weaving those lives together as time goes on.
As a young boy, Ben witnesses a “meteor” demolish his home with his parents in it and is suddenly an orphan. Nine months later, twins are born to a young woman. One is deformed and horrific looking and is whisked away by the government. The other is a normal girl who is secretly adopted by a local family. The girl is named Laura per her dying mother’s request.
Laura and her twin are part alien, have powers, and are total opposites. The twin is locked up as an experiment and resents Laura because she’s been allowed to live a normal human life.
Ben and Laura end up meeting when they’re older when they’re both searching for what, they don’t know. Maybe each other? They realize that they need to figure out where Laura came from and that they’re going to have to face her evil twin brother.
Laura is such a strong character. She handles devastation, horror, and loss but she continues to live her life. I really liked the side characters, especially Jim, Laura’s older friend who lives by the lake.
I like the narrator’s voice. he has one of those voices that is easy on the ears. He did a good job with inflection and pacing of the story.
There’s so much happening in A Human Element. It starts as Sci Fi but is also a thriller with a bit of romance. I don’t recommend this book for younger readers because of a couple steamy sex scenes as well as some violence.
By a lake surrounded by mostly empty cabins, a spaceship crashes and the government covers it up, calling it a meteorite. Ben Fieldstone lost his family that night. Sarah, a teen runaway, wouldn’t know just how affected she was by this event until 9 months later when she gave birth. A mysterious man in black from the government was there to whisk away the unusual child. The doctor and nurse did their best to hide the twin sister, Laura, that was born that night, turning her over to the loving Armstrongs to raise as their daughter. Years later, Laura survives one tragedy after another even as she starts manifesting powers from out of this world. Something hunts her but means to make her suffer emotionally before the final confrontation.
This is a science fiction story that turns into a romance. There’s a smidge of thriller in here as well as the hunter catches up to it’s prey. I enjoyed the scifi part and the thriller part was pretty gripping. However, the romance part was a bit too much for me. The middle of the books spends a little too much time talking about emotions and learning to love one’s self and how to love others, etc.
For the most part, Laura Armstrong was an interesting central character, though later in the book she ends up unconscious and needs to be carried to safety several times. I found the antagonist, X-10, to be the most captivating character. Right up to the end I kept hoping ( or wondering?) if he would be able to change despite all he had been through. He was raised in captivity undergoing tests and torture on a regular basis.
Ben ends up in the military and so there’s some true-to-character swearing and objectifying of women. It takes some serious events for him to decide he wants something else, even if he doesn’t know what he wants. I give full marks to the author for including a near-rape of an adult male situation as it is something that is not often addressed in fiction even though such crimes occur in real life. Once Ben meets Laura, he goes all mushy and doesn’t do much beside explore his feelings until the big action scene near the end. I could have used a bit more action in the middle instead of it being solid inner exploration of Ben’s character.
The plot was OK though certain parts were no mystery at all. We know from nearly the beginning that Laura’s twin is going to be a problem child. Even though Ben is ~10 years older and he traveled the world with the military, I knew that somehow he and Laura would have to come together. Still, I had to know how things would end. Mostly, this was because I wanted to see how much X-10 could change, if he could change at all. Part of me wanted him to continue on for the next book and part of me knew that wouldn’t be possible.
The mystery man in black eventually plays a larger role, though I sometimes found him a convenient catalyst, suddenly showing up with certain powers or knowledge, that helped move the plot along. The elderly Mr. B. was a lovely addition to the main cast. I adored his thesaurus skills and his grandfatherly guidance for Laura. All in all, I’m glad I gave this book a listen even though it left me wanting a bit more action and little less on the touchy feely bits.
I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.
The Narration: Chase Bradley was OK as the narrator. Initially, his voices were all distinct. He even had a few accents, like for Andy’s wife, which were well done. Once Ben and Laura meet, they always talk so soft and sweetly to each other no matter the subject or the situation that they actually sounded too much alike and sometimes I had trouble keeping track of who said what. He did have a lovely deeper voice for Felix and I wish he had used that voice for Ben as it would have worked so well for the sex scenes. And speaking of those few sex scenes, Bradley sounded a bit bored during them, like a yawn was just hiding in the corner of his mouth. He did a great job with Mr. B’s voice as he aged and he had an excellent wicked voice for X-10.
Report Inappropriate Content