Anyone who dares challenge the Rho Project is being systematically picked off. At the top of the hit man’s death list: NSA fixer Jack Gregory, and the three teenagers who first exposed the Rho Project’s dark agenda to the world.
On the run for their lives, Heather, Mark, and Jennifer know that the Rho Project’s alien nano-technology has been released into the world, disguised as a miracle cure. But what they don’t yet know is that the serum has taken on a life of its own, modifying human DNA in a way that even its engineers cannot control - one that will alter the very fabric of humanity.
©2012 Richard Phillips (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Richard Phillips has led such a life that he absolutely nails the science aspect of this new sci-fi classic - and yet also gets the action and the political aspects exactly right as well. Speaking as an old sci-fi writer myself, I know how hard it is to do what Phillips has done.
But here's the clincher. Reading on my Nano, I began this book without remembering that this was volume two of the Rho Agenda series. Within a few chapters I realized that there must have been an earlier book. But so skillfully does Phillips handle exposition, and so clearly and deeply did he create his characters and their relationships, that I felt no need to stop and go back to listen to the first volume.
I WILL go back and listen to The Second Ship, now that I've read Immune to its brilliant and completely satisfying end - but only because this new writer is so skillful and this storyline is so inventive and moving that I don't want to miss a chapter of it.
I promise you that Richard Phillips is going to be a popular and influential writer, period.
The Rho Agenda has young protagonists, and so the series could be viewed as YA (Young Adult) fiction. While the novel is brutally real, including sexual tension, there is NO explicit sex and nothing to keep you from handing this book to a mature and well-informed twelve-year-old. Yet it is also completely fulfilling for adult readers - as good as any science fiction being written today.
MacLeod Andrews gives a perfect performance. You forget you're listening to a book. All you can think about is what's happening and why. Moving back and forth among characters, he is always clear as to who's talking - without "doing" voices in any obvious way. This is how audiobooks are supposed to be read.
Avid fan of science fiction and love books. I do not have enough time to read the books and audiobooks is perfect for me.
The book follows the story where book 1 left off, and ends when you just want more! All 3 books are incredible well written, and the characters seems so real! The story is captivating, and in lack of a propper "page turner" expression for audiobooks I will have to call it a "sleep stealer", I can not tell you how many times I had to extend the sleep timer another 30 minutes :)
This exciting Part 2 of the Rho Agenda series ups the ante for the three teenage protagonists and we follow them through a suspenseful web of lies and intrigue. Phillips draws the net more tightly around the three (and the world!) without giving himself leave to reinvent his universe - the suspense he masterfully built in Part 1 continues its hold and we remain on our toes.
As the series progresses and expands outwards from Los Alamos, the plot gets a little more cluttered with characters and scientific loops that are a little superfluous, a few plot points are developed but never picked up again. The timeline also introduces some slack, while we felt pushed through a tightly woven narrative arc in Part 1, Parts 2 and 3 suddenly allow world events to progress for weeks or even months without escalating our sense of urgency.
Nevertheless, Phillips always picks us up again and sweeps us into the whirlwind of the Rho Agenda - despite these moments of respite, this is a thoroughly suspenseful and charming tale, leaving the listeners (and the fate of the world) in the hands of three protagonists who are supremely likable and, in no small part because of their internal dynamics, never too dull or too perfect.
The narrator deserves tremendous praise for keeping the story as sharp, quick and warm as it is. Parts 2 and 3 challenge him to even greater range than Part 1 did (or any common audiobook would) and he excels at keeping us always at the crest of the story as it thunders through its countless different characters, locales and emotional peaks and valleys.
THE TRILOGY AND THE NARRATION
The Rho Agenda is a thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi trilogy - Richard Phillips succeeds in painting a sci-fi universe that is firmly anchored on earth and in its human protagonists and accordingly doesn't require an all-round suspension of disbelief from the reader. He sets the sci-fi parameters for his story early on and diligently sticks to them, resisting the temptation to constantly introduce new sci-fi "miracles" to toss around his characters. The human story and the political thriller may be instigated by input from another world, but they remain exactly that: a huy man story and a political thriller. With some cool sci-fi stuff going on.
The author switches between points of view more than a hundred times per book, but MacLeod Andrews narrates his way through these transitions seamlessly, taking the listener along with ease. We always know exactly where we are and who, out of the large ensemble of characters, we are currently with. The books give him a wonderful opportunity to show off his range, in terms of both voices and accents, and he brings its countless twists and turns to life masterfully, instilling the main characters with his characteristic humor and warmth. His voice grips us as tightly through the densely packed action and political intrigue as it charms us during the spells of the teenage life of our heros.
One additional point: I greatly appreciated that Phillips keeps the story at a very agreeable level of "clean" - he abstains from being gratuitously graphic in his characters' language or actions, but doesn't shy away from strong language, violence and even a little carnage when they are necessary. I enjoyed not feeling myself be dragged through gore and bodily fluids at every turn as is so easily the case in contemporary otherworldly fiction.
Immune continues and "sorta" completes the story arc established by the first installment (The Second Ship). All the main characters are back with several additional new players, including a washed up newspaper reporter and a Colombian drug cartel. Raul gone missing in the first, shows up and plays a major role. As expected, in the end the teenagers with help from various adults manage to save the day while having one adventure after another along the way.
This installment is much darker than the first, with graphic and in some cases unnecessary violence. There are many more "evil doers" this time around in addition to Stephenson, including one with almost magical powers. Jack also remains an enigma, especially how capable he is even around the rho-enhanced opponents. Finally, the denouement is rather quick with a simple hack followed by public revelation. There are also a number of times when suspension of disbelief is quite strained (how exactly and why did the drug cartel get involved in the first place?).
In spite of these deficiencies and the fact that the pre-teen style of Scooby Do meets Power Rangers remains, the story is compelling and engrossing, leading to a fast and enjoyable listen as many chapters are short producing a staccato jumping from scene to scene. Once caught up, it's tough to shut down. Finally, while the immediate threat of Stephenson / VP world domination (their ulterior motives and end goals are never clearly articulated) is aborted, the story again ends abruptly with many unanswered questions.
The narration is superb with an excellent range of voices that perfectly compliments each of the characters.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
Picking up where "The Second Ship" left the listener, "Immune" throws you back into the world of the Rho Agenda - a world of suspense, muddling and scheming! Preying on our fears Richard Phillips weaves a web of intrigue that makes over the top nonsense seem real.
In my review of "The Second Ship" I indicated that that book reminder me very much of the comic "Danger Girls" without the girls. "Immune" reminds me of the "Punisher" set loose in the world of "Danger Girls."
It is quite enjoyable and could stand alone.
I've either gotten used to MacLeod Andrews voice or he has improved a lot. He kept me from opting out and enhanced the story by using different tones of voice.
I am amazed how believable Richard Phillips can make that which is unbelievable. If you are a conspiracy theorist or just like considering those possibilities, this book is for you!
Always looking for twists in a story that surprise me!!!!
This is book 2 in a three book series. The first book caught my interest enough to bring me back to listen to 2. I liked 2 even better!! The characters - Mark, Jennifer and Heather - develop more skills and depth. Who would have guessed they could clean up in Vegas. Jack proves to be even more invincible than in book 1. Go back and read book 1 before tackling this one to fully enjoy the story.
My Audible library is nearing 200 books and I never write reviews...just no time for it. But this series took me so completely by storm that I decided it deserves a comment or two. You can read the many comments by others for details. For me, the first book was amazing and I frequently find the second in a series to be a letdown. Happily, I found this book to be even better than the first, partly because I had already fallen in love with the characters. The author, perhaps intuiting that his readers will have already made their character attachments, are ready for some surprise storyline twists and revelations about the two alien powers and agendas. He does not disappoint!
I also want to congratulate the Narrator for a five-star, perfect job. After listening to dozens of narrators, I've developed some likes and dislikes but no one does a better job than MacLeod Andrews at creating believable voices, consistent identification, and most of all, emotional vocal expressions that keep you engrossed in the story without ever being distracted by the narration itself. Like special effects in the movies, the best narration in audio books needs to be completely invisible and Mr. Andrews accomplishes this better than anyone.
i recommend everyone to enjoy this audiobook
great narration and story
need to have more and more these kinds of audiobooks
Immune ranks in my top ten audio books ever. The first two books of the Rho Agenda trilogy constitute twenty six hours of entertaining diversion from the problems of this world in which we live and operate.
I can't really think of another book with the same flow as the first two Rho Agenda novels. The loss of innocense from the first book to the second fits with a coming of age story, but this one mixes in a healthy dose of spy thriller and even a touch of horror. Fascinating and fast moving. If you're expecting a previously defined genre, you're in for a jolt to your senses.
MacLeod Andrews has a great knack for making relatively minor changes to his voice and inflection upon new character dialogue, such that you get the sense of character change without jolting you out of the story.
I loved the interplay between the superspy, Jack The Ripper Gregory, and the three high schoolers who are just trying to survive the escalating crisis.
I eagerly await the third act of this play.
The first book was awesome, the second, not so. The plot took a turn that made no sense, and the parents were supposed to be engineers, yet they had no concept of intellectual property.
Didn't have one
The Vegas arc.
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