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First of Their Kind

Chronicles of Theren, Book 1
Narrated by: Benjamin Fife
Series: Chronicles of Theren, Book 1
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Synthetic Intelligence.

Thought impossible, but Dr. Wallace Theren has pushed the boundaries of computational science, creating an artificial mind capable of conscious thought. Naturally, his creation faces a harsh world bent on using it, exploiting it, or destroying it. If the first synthetic intelligence is to survive its early years, it'll need friends, but more importantly, it'll need a family.

And together, they'll need to show their enemies they're worth saving...or fearing.

Do you enjoy science fiction with robots, androids, virtual worlds, and corporate conspiracies? First of Their Kind is the first book of the Chronicles of Theren, a centuries-spanning science fiction series that will force listeners to question what it truly means to be a person.

It will invoke the character driven feel of a tale like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, but through a narrative that slowly unfolds upon a scale closer to that of Dune or The Expanse. But at the heart of First of Their Kind, you will experience the hopes and dreams of the first synthetic intelligences; the first SI. The story is through their eyes.

First of Their Kind is the first novel of Two Doctors Media Collaborative transformed into audio form; look for Their Greatest Game, its sequel.

©2019 C. D. Tavenor (P)2019 Two Doctors Media Collaborative

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Curiouser and curiouser

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by this author. I am curious to see how this story is going to play out. I must admit, I found myself a few times checking to see how much was left of the book. It seemed to progress so slowly and yet when I think back quite a lot happened?? The book ends after building up to a crescendo, but leaves us hanging there. I like the realistic nature of the SIs- they were exponentially cleaver and smart and yet fell prey to various emotions, predjuices and preconceived notions. This book is deeper than appears at first.

This is the second book I’ve listened to by this narrator ( Benjamin Fife ) and I would listen to another. I think he did well. He used different voices and accents to differentiate the characters. The narrative was natural and not stilted like someone just reading a book.

There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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One Heck of a Great Story!

This Story was Great it showed the perceptive of a Synthetic Intelligence in our Society with all the prejudice mankind can Not get past. Excellent beginning of a Series. Definitely worth the money and Time to listen to or read!! Awaiting book 2 on Audible to be released in 2020.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Believable Science Fiction

I requested a free review copy of this book and I'm glad I did. I am writing a voluntary review of this book.

'First of Their Kind' centers around a human-created intelligence, called a synthetic intelligence (SI). The SI quickly decides it needs a name, and calls itself Theren. It also decides that it should take on pronouns that more specifically evoke personhood and uses the non-gender they/their. We follow Theren on their journey of what it means to be SI in a human world.

I like my sci-fi to be rooted more in the sci than the fi; this book delivers that. C. D. Tavenor has written a book that takes real world science and extrapolates it to a possible outcome in the future. The story is intelligent and well-researched. The plot points make sense with no need for the handwaving away of inconvenient scientific fact that so many authors rely on. For me, the science has to sound right. I had no problem with that here. The reader is given a thoughtful and thought-provoking story, most of which can be related to events happening today.

The narration by Benjamin Fife is equally good. His ability to create distinct character voices enhance the story Tavenor is telling. I liked his interpretation of Theren. It kept me listening.

I highly recommend this audiobook. Teens to adults will find it enjoyable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Read it to the End!

If I am being perfectly honest, I didn't enjoy The First of Their Kind until the last few chapters. I felt the main character, Theren (pronouns they/their) was self-absorbed and it made it difficult to keep listening to the way they took in the world, almost annoying. They avoided human interaction, which resulted in missed connections, which lead me to question whether Theren really was as advanced as they were thought to be. But, by the end of the book, I realized that what Theren was experiencing was not faulty wiring, but in fact, trauma. Very early in the book, Theren has a traumatic experience and throughout the telling of their story, I discredited that trauma and it's effect on Theren's perception of the world. Some part of me thought an SI couldn't truly experience trauma, and if the SI (synthetic intelligence) was so advanced, then it would "heal" quickly. I thought an SI should be a more-perfect human but that turned out to be my own prejudice getting in the way! In the end, the book shocked me and resulted in a beautiful story about the human experience, with themes of trauma, love, and those missed connections that make us question our very existence. If you can open your mind, this book is sure to capture your heart, just like it did mine.

The narrator also did a fine job with this book. I enjoyed the range of voices and accents he was able to implement. But, I probably would have preferred a female voice or more gender-neutral voice given that most of the characters in the book do not identify as male. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story all the same.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Intriguing

What a story. Artificial intelligence that needs friends. Everyone takes advantage of them. The narrator’s was perfect for the story. Can’t wait for more by this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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AI evolution in world of man, slow but closes well

Slow start. AI was too anthromorphic it evolved interesting capabilities along way. The last quarter of book closed well and set up next book. Good start to series. Look forward to second book

I received a free review copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Look at the world with new eyes in this novel

I found this one of the more profound reads on my list recently. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review, and I'm quite glad I did! This narrative realistically and deftly explores how the world really would look through the eyes of the first Synthetic Intelligence, and through the narrative comments on what it means to be human, and what it means to be sentient. Surprisingly deft and subtle in the use of emotion, this author has a knack for extrapolating from current events and attitudes to weave events into a completely believable tomorrow. Theron and their compatriots are written as wonderfully sympathetic characters without losing sight of the fact that some of them are, in truth, a new kind of creature with a new kind of thought process.
I adored the fact that, without pandering to the Terminator trope, Tavenor wrote a story filled with conflict over the existence and the sentient status of AI. He's proven that a story full of tension and emotional impact *can* be told involving AI, without involving a devolution to robots going crazy and starting a killing spree (which has always, as a plot, mildly annoyed me)
Beyond these excellent story qualities, I have to say that as a reader, I appreciated the sight of a possible way into a brighter future so very much. We need that right now.
This was an intellectual delight of a story, and an emotionally bolstering one as well. Definitely one to pick up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Sci-fi listen/read

This books follows a 43'rd test on making an AI.The only one that has success to date. It is called Test 43 and it recognizes its name before anything else, but it doesn't like that name and wants to choose another. As time grows by, it continues to learn things in its lab area. There are plot areas that you will not see coming.

It was a very enjoyable listen, although I will say, that some might not like the story only because you mainly get the story from Test 43 point of view but that is also a good way for it to be since it helps you understand what is going on behind what people would normally read if it was written differently.

Narrator did a great job reading this and giving Test 43 a voice.

I received a free review copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Science fiction at it's best

Wonderful science fiction. A masterful tale of the dichotomy of the human race, where some reach for new scientific horizons, while others struggle to adapt to the threat of anything new and different. I loved the characters and the scientific ideas. If you are a fan of science fiction, you will love this. I received a free copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I am dying here!

Such a suspenseful ending! I can't wait for the next book to come out on audio! I will be watching for its release.

This book presents a thought provoking perspective on AI and human bigotry. The book is paced perfectly. It starts off with unexpected events and ends with unexpected events. I love it when you can't predict the next action in a story. Great writing!

I thought the narrator was perfect for this story!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 11-20-19

Question everyone, everything, even your friends

Artificial intelligence had always remained just that: artificial until Wallace Theren devised an entirely new way, a synthetic learning to, hopefully, produce synthetic intelligence. And with Test 43 he succeeded. After Wallace was assassinated, Test 43 took the name Tberen in honour and memory of the man, considered father. This is less a 'man-made-intelli gences-turning-on-their-creators' than a look back at humanity with unbiased and kind eyes. A sociological science fiction. Not that it is without it's thrills and action: these, too, come into this well executed stkry. And the ending leaves the reader wanting to know the future.

The story is not fast paced, but envolving, time taken to explain and enclose everything in an aura of plausibility. And, of course, reopens the debate about what constitutes human. Well written, it is also well performed by Benjamin's Fife.

My thanks to the rights holder of First of their Kind, who, at my request via Audiobook Boom, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy. The idea of the creation of such comp!ex being a that they can rival or excel the best human minds is a fascinating one: would such beings also have complete individuality, emotions and such like? And if so, would they be similar to our own or totally different? It is a good S.F. concept and this exploration is fascinating different from most. I am looking forward to book two..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • 11-19-19

A vision of the future

I was very happy to recieve a review copy of this book. It is a well written and narrated story, exploring the potential around the birth of AI and the impact on the world. The story balances the technical and social implications, along with elements of mystery to create an exciting story that is difficult to put down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • kharnynb
  • 11-25-19

A great twist on ai in a well written story

This is an interesting story about the creation of ai a story set in a believable future and it's reasonably well built science wise as well as having a good social dilemma built in. The writer makes a great story about the development of a new kind of intelligent life within an imperfect and yet hopeful world setting.


Benjamin Fife's narration provides a great listening experience that has great separate character voices and his storyteller voice is on of my favourites on audible, clear yet warm and engaging.

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  • Montyc
  • 11-08-19

short, but compelling

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

that being said, this book discusses many social issues we face today from a perspective that is relatable and measured, without forcing a bias in opinion, and not only does it offer this wider commentary, it is also an engaging and fun story with a good dose of robots. I only wish it was longer