Jamie wants to be a halfskin.
Her life has become dull and pointless. If she had more biomites, the synthetic stems cells that promise hope and healing, she could take control of her life. But Jamie's body is already 49.9% biomites. The rest is clay-her God-given organic cells. Anymore biomites and she becomes a halfskin. And halfskins are shutdown.
But there is a way.
Black market biomites, called nixes, can't be detected by the government. She'd have to sacrifice her clay, but nixes can make her halfskin without anyone knowing. But first, she has to find them.
Nix Richards can help. He's the first halfskin to escape the government and Jamie has something he wants. He'll need her to help him find a fabricator to build a human body. He'll betray anyone to get it, even those closest to him.
This psychological thriller will keep them second-guessing every move while they elude Marcus Anderson and the governing agency that seeks to rid the world of biomites. But in the end, they'll all discover just how deep the betrayal goes.
©2014 Tony Bertauski (P)2014 Tony Bertauski
The writing and world/plot development.
The world building. Some of the concepts were amazing. Interesting plot twists.
David Dietz's voice is engaging and pleasant. However, I was not a fan of his voices. The male ones blended with the narrator's, and the female ones sounded whiny.
Most of the male and female voices sounded alike and often times I could not tell who was talking.
No, too long for that.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to Clay and recommend it.For a full review, please check my blog Ana's Lair.
Avid reader and chronic procrastinator, I bide my time voicing & producing podcasts, and lurking on Facebook, Twitter, and at my site.
DISCLAIMER: I received this copy in exchange for a review.
WARNING: This review contains mild spoilers.
I have mixed emotions about this novel. Parts of it are so very well done, that the parts that come up a little short are glaring.
The world building is intriguing, and had me hooked from the start. The "Halfskin" universe (home of "Halfskin" & "Clay") has an intuitive, lived-in feel. The reader picks up on the social clues scattered by Tony Bertauski, and feels familiar with the world of the narrative. This book stands on it's own. Having said that, reading "Halfskin" first will likely provide richer history, context, and background.
We are introduced to a society coming to grips with the ultimate means of empowerment and escape, the "biomites." The gritty, noir feel of the universe is not so much Mad Max as Blade Runner. The raw descriptions of the characters and their settings give you a sense of immediacy. This isn't so much about a far flung future as it is about an alternate now.
The audio is very clean, slick, and professional. I didn't hear any duplicated lines, bad edits, or background noise. Frankly, I am in envy of David Dietz's ability to simply and effectively put individual voices to the characters, particularly the female characters. That's not an easy task for a male narrator.
Bertauski reached for, and by-and-large grasped, the themes of: the need for community, the dangers of isolation, the heavy burden of dependence, the distraction of social media, the illusion of a single reality, and the faded nobility of sacrifice. There are others, I'm sure, but these are the ones that stuck with me.
One trope bugged me; the bad guy as religious fanatic. The character's skewed use of scripture to justify his actions was particularly rankling. I kept wanting to shout him down. Kudos to Bertauski for invoking this strong of a reaction in me.
The religious overtones and parallels begin the novel's title "Clay," and continue: Marcus Anderson's obsession with purity and his righteous disdain of biomite use, Cali's messianic position, and ultimate, willing sacrifice. But, the very odd, and very genius moment comes when Bertauski casts the AI "Mother" as mankind's savior. Not what you normally find in a cyberpunk novel!
There is an ensemble cast of protagonists. Other reviewers have mentioned difficulty following the shifting POV, however if you know to expect that going in, it's fairly easy to keep up with the main protagonists: Nix Richards, Jamie, Cali Richards, Paul, Raine, and Marcus Anderson.
Of the protagonists, I had the most trouble with Nix Richards. Often he didn't strike me as someone who could survive 20+ years in hiding. He didn't exude the degree of cold implacableness hiding from a determined government search would require. It was more of a desperate, whiny neediness. At times, I had a difficulty reconciling his present actions with previous ones.
The resolution to the central conflict had the feel of "...and a wizard walked by." It welled up suddenly, attempting to resolve disparate issues on multiple plot lines. It felt ungainly and clunky, particularly in light of the story craft exhibited to that point. Cali's ultimate decision smacked more of exhaustion and desperation than noble sacrifice. However, Bertauski weaves that into an almost perfect noir ending; she won't get the brass ring, but her actions might make it possible for others.
Unfortunately, the book didn't end there, instead opting to tack on two additional endings that seem to be positioning the plot for the next book in the series. Like "The Lord of the Rings," it just didn't seem to know when to quit. These endings, with Marcus and Raine, could easily be the opening chapters of the next book, unless Bertauski isn't planning anymore. And, that would be a shame. I believe the "Halfskin" universe has a lot more stories to tell, and I'd certainly like to hear them.
Check out more detailed reviews on my blog amiesbookreviews.wordpress. com
CLAY - Halfskin Book Two
Author: Tony Bertauski
Type of Book: Audiobook - Unabridged
Narrator: David W. Dietz
Length: 8 hours, 47 minutes
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: January 9, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
* I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.
This is the follow-up book to HALFSKIN.
Twenty years have passed since Callie invented biomites that were untraceable by the government. Nix and Callie are both still alive, yet they lead vastly different lives.
Technology did not stand still over the past twenty years. Biomites no longer replicate unchecked and people are able to maintain them at a level of 49.9% biomite and 50.1% clay (or organic/original matter).
The government still shuts down people's biomites when a person becomes Halfskin. However people have found a way to outsmart the system using untraceable biomites created by many different sources (called Nixes) and bought and sold on the black market.
Technology has advanced so far that the government has created "Bricks." These are 100% biomite created people. These "Bricks" are uses to hunt down and destroy Halfskins.
Jamie is 19 and is 49.9% biomite, so is her boyfriend. They are desperate to find a way to avoid being "charred."
Marcus Anderson is back. He's older but he is still 100% clay. He wants to rid the world of biomites once and for all.
Meanwhile Nix Richards wants to find a replicator to create a human body and he is willing to do anything to achieve his goal.
This audiobook is a thrill ride that will have listeners riveted to David Dietz's wonderful narrative skills. With just the right amount of drama and suspense listeners will not want the story to end.
This is a thrilling tale of what can happen if technology proceeds unchecked. It is also a tale of human nature and the pursuit of a dream. Visionary or fanatic? Technological marvel or the downfall of mankind? Readers are sure to develop their own opinions on biomites.
This might just be a look into the future of our society and that is precisely why this book is so interesting (and scary).
This story may be fiction, but it addresses many ethical questions that arise when issues such as cloning and artificial intelligence are discussed. The author does a wonderful job of explaining and exploring the varying opinions on the topics. This book will not only entertain you, it will make you think.
I rate the story as 5 out of 5 stars and the narration also deserves 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Both HALFSKIN and CLAY need to be added to everyone's "must read" list for 2015.
I can't wait to read/hear what Tony Bertauski comes up with next.
I feel like I did myself a disservice by reading this book before reading the first novel, Halfskin. From the start I was completely confused by the political and historical aspects of the biomites, Mother, and Bricks. Bertauski tried to give a good, yet brief, explanation so as not to bore the familiar readers, but I couldn't grasp it. Perhaps I would have had a better chance if the story didn't jump from one perspective to another before completing a thought. I will give it credit, though. The plot and idea is very creative and even interesting. The personal drama is great. I just wish I could have understood it a bit better.
I felt David Dietz did a pretty good job of fulfilling the noir feeling of the story. The female voices were a bit whiny, but the variety of voices and characters made up for it. Excellent pacing as well.
Read Halfskin first to avoid confusion!
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
What I loved about this book is how it echoes William Gibson by creating a near-future with enough elements of the now to make it feel real while including enough tweaks to make it feel like someplace very different.
The writing is fast-paced, page-turning. Each scene opens with a visceral, visual or sensual details that put you right in there. The characters are real, fallible, vulnerable, with their own hopes and nightmares.
The performance is spot on, capturing the noire/private detective aspects of the story well. Each character comes to life with its own unique voice.
There is a huge B-U-T... The underpinnings of the story itself, the metaphor we are supposed to accept, is over complicated and not very well explained.
Humans are born clay. But they add bio mites to augment themselves as treatment. They also apparently allow us humans to chat without any technology, the surf the internet without technology, to have psychic discussions with others without technology.
However, if you go to far, you become "half skin." Meanwhile, there's also these fully fabricated human bodies known as bricks. But this isn't explain until at least one third of the way in to the story.
This is volume two of a series, but for those readers new, there should be at least a brief explanation sooner in the story.
Why are they taking bio mites? I'm given the impression that they give pleasure, but how? They take away pain. But only the impression...
What do people in the world think of bio mites... this is implied, shown in a few instances but some telling would be nice? What's so wrong with it? Sure it's like a drug, like our technological addiction, but it needs to be explained for this world the writer has created.
The antagonist is a man who is entirely clay, who is proud of that, and yet he sleeps with a brick. But we don't learn how he explains this to himself. How this makes it okay? Is it because he likes really rough sex and bricks are the only ones who can take it? Is it because he likes how they have no feelings? How does he reconcile his hypocrisy?
There is something deep at the root of the story, at a philosophical level. It has a lot of the meat on the bones, tons of possibilities. But it needs a little simplification for the reader earlier on. And, perhaps, in the mind of the writer, as well. In the end, the philosophical points never really hit home with the power they could. With so many other aspects of the story so strong, this makes it disappointing.
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
This is my fourth from Tony Bertauski and yet again he is able to leave my jaw laying on the floor.
There is just something about the Sci Fi that he writes that makes me think that this cannot even be THAT far into the future. People are thinking about this! Bertauski is a zeitgeist, ahead of his time and thinking of things that will come to pass.
The scary thing about that is that this is dystopian. It’s horrific and I can see hundreds if not thousands of people wanting to go against Mother but I can also see those that would embrace and think this technology will save humanity.
I’m not even talking characters and plot yet and there is THAT much in here. So many interesting thoughts that I had to give myself time before I could write the review JUST to wrap my brain around all of this!
But, as in other books by Bertauski, the characters are there. The plot is definitely there. The narration jumps back and forth a bit but I was able to keep up with it for the most part. His books are like this and I think it is great because the reader gets to see all points of view, not just the main character. If we were stuck with Nix we would have no idea what really happened inside the warehouse at the beginning, and that was a phenomenal start to this story!
David W. Dietz does it yet again. I’m so glad they kept the same narrator. I was in love with his rendition of book one and loved it all the more in this one. There is just something about his intensity that adds to the dystopian feel. It adds that anxiety that the characters are supposed to feel. The audio was amazing and this might be one that I listen to again just because this is a deep story. I normally would switch to reading if I wanted to get more out of a story, but this one just lends itself to be heard.
Amazing story, fantastic writing, and great audio make me want more from Bertauski!
Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.
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Narrated by David Dietz this science fiction novel is performed in an clear and emotional form that presents the writers prose well. The story isn't so far out of reality. This book follows Tony's previous book in this series Halfskin. Biomites are enhanced cells that when added to humans enhance their abilities. They can give special computer like abilities to a users vision, vocabulary, strength and stamina. Some are given a boost at birth and can continue to receive boosts until they reach 49.9% biotite. Once over the 50% threshold the person is no longer considered human and forgoes all their rights, such as living. The government can kill you as soon as the catch you and it's not murder, because you are not human. This is the basis for the adventure of this story. What if 49.9% wasn't enough to keep you alive. What would you do?
Along comes Nixes, black market bio mites not detectable by the Government. So many things going on in this book you have to listen to catch them all. I recommend Clay for a fun listen. I have questions but that is what makes science fiction fun.
I loved this book more than the first one in the series. Biomites have progressed and people are living at 99.9%. Are they still human? Who is really in control? The struggle between science & faith is more dominate in this episode in the series. Are we playing God with biomites? Or with the shutdown of half skins?This examination of morals, humanity, perspective, & reality forces the reader to examine what they believe & where they draw the line.
The twist, turns, and loopty-loops that Nix, Cali, Paul, & Jamie go through are astounding. I hate to give spoilers because that element of surprise is what I truly enjoy about a wonderfully crafted story. So I’ll say this "Expect the unexpected!"
The production of this audiobook was so much better than the first one in the series. The issues that were present in the sound mixing & production are non-existent. I was able to truly get lost in the story and for me that is a sign of a great audiobook.
I am a wee bit over the half a century mark in years. I enjoy audiobooks,cats,rats and most days my family,not necessarily in that order!lo
I probably would
David Dietz did a great job with the material.I've listened to several books narrated by him and am always pleased with his reading.
I liked the storyline of this book.My issues with it were that there was too much to try to keep track of with technical details and names of characters.There were a few similar names I just gave up trying to figure out.David Dietz did a great job with the material.I've listened to several books narrated by him and am always pleased with his reading.
The story of biomites ,which can make you stronger,smarter,etc if fed into your body,is a good one.Of course you can get too much and then you must die,which is where we begin the story.A good read all in all
This book explores what power can do to different characters, those that have it and those who hide from it. Some outsmart the power, and some are undone by it. But relentlessly running through this book is the thread of power. Power , and the best way to use it.
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