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Future's Orphans

Ouroboros Cycle Series, Book 2
Narrated by: Anneliese Rennie
Series: Ouroboros Cycle Series, Book 2
Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In an uncertain future, the truth can get you killed.

Cassidy Nolan is a drug addicted journalist, disgraced after releasing one of the most iconic images of the new millennium. Fourteen years later, the world teeters on the verge of ecological collapse. A chance encounter with a sociopathic street kid will send her on a journey into chaos that may lead her to uncovering the biggest story of her career. Pursued by a burnt out ex-military contractor determined to earn his reward, there are no guarantees that she will live long enough to reveal what she has found.

Blade Runner meets Mad Max in this action packed near-future thriller from the author of Frame.

Future's Orphans is a fast paced Cyberpunk standalone thriller set in the world of the Ouroboros Cycle.

Be sure to listen to the other novels in the Ouroboros Cycle, Frame and Gravity’s Truth.

©2015 AK Alliss (P)2018 Spectrum Audiobooks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A gripping story that pulls you along.

As I listened to the story I found myself very involved with what was happening with the characters. Each one was so different and well fleshed out that I found myself connecting with them on an emotional level. The story was full of twists, turns, and intrigue almost always doing something that I did not expect. I would definitely recommend this story.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An addict saves the world?

So, I’m always curious when a book comes out in a series that isn’t the original starter for the series, like getting book three before 1 and 2. Well, here we get book two, with no hint of one on the horizon. So I just have to run with it. So, let me tell you a little about the book. It has two things going against it for me right off the bat. First, it is told in the present tense. I hate stories written in present tense and literally go out of my way not to read them. I know the producer of this podcast, the amazing Ramon Mejia, writes in just that style and I had been debating listening to his stuff because it would be an automatic bias for me before I even started. I have authors that I actively avoid reading because of this style. Secondly, the book starts of a little slowly. Well, pretty slow, in fact. I am ok with the slow stuff so long as it gives payout in the long run. But I am warning you now that the book doesn’t take off like a race car in the red.
The book is set in an undisclosed future and centers around two characters, a junkie journalist named Cass, and a street punk named Paco. It seems that after all the spit hit the fan the world is barely getting by. The government is controlling people will dermal patches that control their emotional states, but makes the populace addicted and believe that it is saving their lives.
Needless to say that stuff happens and before you know it the pair are in it up to their necks. So, when I said it started slow, it did just that, but once the initial setup was over the book began to gather some steam until it was flying along. A lot of stuff happens, but it is really about the journalist and the street kid keeping each other going that steals the show. Yes mysteries abound, betrayals occur, and they are hounded by a relentless mercenary; even the post-apocalyptic setting takes a backseat to the relationship the pair have. I can see elements of Blade Runner and Mad Max here, and maybe the Road by Cormac McCarthy and some Philip K. Dick influences as well. A lot happens in this book.
I do want to really talk about Anneliese Rennie for a minute, since this is her spotlight on the What Else Have they Done segment. I first “discovered” her on Akillia's Reign, Book 4 of the Puatera Online Series. She’s since become a big part of the community and is doing more books in the genre, so I thought it would be nice to give her some time on the show, and this was the perfect opportunity to do it. The topics in the book hit a lot of things that also pop up in LITRPG, so it isn’t out of place, and you might want to look at her upcoming audiobook, The Song Maiden: A LitRPG Journey. It should be popping right about the time this podcast is released.
Anyway, I like Rennie’s style. She really paces her story and dialogue, and she provides distinct voices for each character, and I think her voice slips into male voices pretty easily. I think that she is the only reason I was able to get passed the perspective in the book to be honest, that present tense still rattled my cage, but she made it a little easier to swallow, and the same with the whole slow set up process. If it had been anybody else I might have dropped it altogether, and I’d have been sorry that I did because once the story gets going you are on a satellite that is out of control. Yes, I was having a good time.
As you know, I do not rate the What else have they done or Izzit lit segments. I will only use books that I have enjoyed as a showcase, but I do have a third segment coming in which I will be rating the books normally, so just be aware that this is strictly something for awareness and that I have to really enjoy the book to do it on here. If you want numbers I suggest that you rock it on over to audible to see a score. Oh, good, you're here!

Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

As seen on the LITRPG AUDIOBOOK PODCAST, please check it out on Youtube.com

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mad Max meets Bladerunner was right

This is definitely the love child of Mad Max and Bladerunner. The dystopian world presented here comes alive as you take the journey. The characters were given life by the very capable narrator who I will have to check out in other projects. A.K. Alliss created a world of unexpected twists and believable characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to escape into a believable new world for a while.
I was given a free review copy of this audiobook for a voluntary review.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A gripping cyberpunk with the perfect dose of WTF

Let me first explain the headline... In my experience, a really good cyberpunk has a certain level of "WTF IS GOING ON HERE?!" quality to it e.g. Neuromancer, Blade Runner, Snow Crash, etc. Too much and it is just out there and too hard to get in to or follow, too little and it comes off as just another sci-fi.... it is the perfect amount of weird that makes this genre unique. Let me tell you, Future's Orphans definitely hits that mark! The synopsis of the book isn't wrong, but it certainly doesn't capture the style and intrigue of the book. As a brief example to limit spoilers, the "drug addictions" is really a societal practice as people are encouraged to use a daily drug patch that assists with the coping of the societal deterioration. That is all i will discuss about it here, but that little tweak alone is enough to give you the unsettling feeling that there is a lot more going on that meets the eye. The story is dark, gritty, and wild. I typically listen to an average of 150 audiobooks a year, so when it comes to plots, I can usually predict the chain of events about to happen, but not so with Future's Orphans. I honestly had no way of figuring out who was going to be an integral character and who would meet a bloody death within 500 words or less. A.K. Alliss does not disappoint, and takes you for a crazy struggle through a slow collapse of humanity.

The narration was fun and unique. I haven't listened to any of Anneliese Rennie's narrations before, but i'd definitely be interested in hearing more from her. The character voices were all unique and easy to differentiate, and the tone and pacing was spot on.

As the description of the book says, it is a Mad Max meets Blade Runner (with a bit of genetic modification for good measure). If any of that sounds mildly interesting, then i would encourage you to give this series a try! I look forward to future installments from AK Alliss!

(Note: I received a promotional audible code, and upon completing the listen i voluntarily provided this review)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting world building

The book starts of slow but hang in there - it gets better. A lot better.

The characters are pretty well developed and while the slang can be a little hard to follow (particularly Paco's), overall story isn't too complex by my reckoning.

Narration was spot on and and I look forward to checking out the rest of the series.

Disclosure: This book was provided to me in exchange for an unbiased review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting Twist on dystopian future

Disclosure, I was provided a copy of this book for free in exchange for my review.

The story takes place in a dystopian future where the government mandates drug patches to keep its citizens “stable” after a nuclear war. The main character is a washed up journalist who had her fame snapping the picture of the “big one” but has since gone into obscurity and can barely survive in a world on the brink of collapse.

The first thing to note is that this book is told in present tense. Cass goes into here, Diego thinks this, etc. I usually find that books written in this style are somewhat choppy and are difficult to listen to. However, the author actually did an exceptional job of making this story flow very well.

Overall I found the writing to be good but there are several dream sequences of things that happened in the last and the transition between present and past was sometimes confusing as a chapter may start as a dream but it reads like a character just jumped from one location to another until you realize this is another memory in dream form.

The narrator did a great job of character voices and did a great job with differentiating between the different people. What I found odd is while the conversations had great pacing, when the narrator was reading the descriptive parts between conversations she rushed through the lines like she was trying to hurry up and get to the next section of dialogue. This was more so at the beginning of the book but it was still there at the end.

Overall I enjoyed the book and the narration and will add both to my list of people to keep an ear out for.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Challenging

I was provided a copy of this audio book for purposes of review. However, I also purchased the entire ebook series on my own.

First off, I'd like to state that I'm not terribly fond of dystopias. I find them depressing. Even though this particular book is a stand-alone, it is also part of a trilogy, and some references in the story make more sense and have a greater impact if you have read the first book. I would recommend that you read the first book in the series if you have not. The event that has marred the life of the female lead, Cass, is from the ending of the first book; it will have less of an impact without that background. I don't want to give away spoilers. Ray Johnson, in another review, does a bang-up job covering the story elements. Near the end, however, there was one place where Cass. the female lead, decides to "talk about it later," and I found myself shouting, "No, talk about it now!" Was it realistic? Yes. But I hate that type of action in real-life and when I read about it -- or in this case hear it, it causes me to boil a bit.

Alliss has a lyrical quality to his writing. His writing tends to be slow and subtle, so it requires patience to get into the story. It wasn't until I was thirty percent into the first book before the story picked up speed. I found the written version the second book to be same way. I made it to twenty-six percent when I decided to see how the audio version compared. Much better.

If I had any advice for the writer, it would be to get with the hook to bring the reader in much sooner; then add to the world building as the story progresses. Alliss' dystopia is grim. There's no other word for it. Again, he's able to evoke imagery that is sometimes quite literate, and this is actually enhanced by the audio version. I'm a visual person, but I do have experience visualizing things; with some writers, the words on the page actually disappear.and it's like watching a movie inside my head.

I was really surprised -- and pleasantly so by the quality of the narration. Anneliese Rennie has a warm quality to her voice, like an aged single malt whiskey -- smooth, with a soft kick at the end that leaves you with a warm glow. Hearing her speak the passages that I'd previously read was a very different experience, and a good one. I found the narration clean and clear, and she made effective uses of short pauses on occasion to great effect. Sometimes those changes of pacing can draw attention, and when you're listening to seven and a half hours of story, that can be important to keep a listener's interest. She kept my attention such that I finished the audio story in one sitting, something I hadn't intended to do. I was very impressed with her presentation. The various voices were distinct and pronunciation was clear. I would definitely consider other titles narrated by her. The only surprise was hearing "burgeoning" pronounced with a hard "gee" sound.

If you like dystopia fiction, give this a run, but again, I'd recommend doing the first book and then this one. As for the narration, I think Anneliese Rennie does a stellar presentation with this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good Dystopian S.F

I really like the character Cassidy Nolan. Especially how one picture she took lead to her current path. Also, as someone whom has struggled with addiction, her pain seems very real. The story was action packed and full betrayal and conspiracy. The narration was pretty good with district variation between characters. Overall I enjoyed the story and want to listen more of this series.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Future's Orphans

This starts of slow and I have to admit that I stopped it and listened to something else. If it was a book that I was reading I would have not bothered reading it after reading the first few pages.
However, once that is out the way the pace actually picks up and we do have twist and turns with interesting characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very different but Really good!

We really enjoyed this novel! It was a very original concept that left me us pretty shook when we finished it. We would recommend this book to anyone who loves science fiction, drama, and great and complicated storytelling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 01-24-19

You still be chasing the puzzle.

Fourteen years before, Cassidy Nolan had been a reputable staff journalist with a promising future. Then she'd posted her iconic photograph, Death in the East, to the internet and all of her future was behind her. Now, living in poverty in the ruins of her world, she eked out her credits selling occasional articles to Michaels, an editor. She wore patches, everyone did, but she was an addict, she needed more. And without any left, the drug effects of her last already fading before the day had even started, she had to get more, fast. Only two ways she could think of to do this, and both possibilities were terrible.
Sent in a dystopian not-too-distant future, the story traces the events of Cass' life as the little stability she had achieved is further snatched from her. Earlier moments are revealed through dream sequences or brief flashbacks. Entwined in her story is also that of a teenage street kid, Paco, who had survived in the uncaring City by cunning and violence. Somehow their destinies seem linked as they run from the authorities and the mysterious and much feared Ouroboros. Betrayal and conspiracy, constant fear and near death situations pursue them through desolate wastelands and the ruined city.

A book of contradictions, Future's Orphans paints a very desolate picture of a world fallen apart, it's peoples buried in hopelessness and desperation. Yet it is almost poetically written. It can be confusing, too, as the point of view changes between different protagonists, often without warning and repeating the same incidents from a different perspective. Same with the dream sequences: the reader is launched into them without prior indication and have to be untangled from the current happenings. However, the whole builds into a very satisfying, if uncomfortable, read. Especially refreshing is the invented street patois used throughout by Paco.

Narration is by Anneliese Rennie. Her voice has a pleasant timbre, well modulated and intoned and she provides good voice differentiation for the characters. Essentially a good performance but marred by a sometimes jerky delivery, with overlong pauses which made this reader hold her breath occasionally wondering if something had gone wrong with the playback.

i was very fortunate in being freely gifted with a complimentary copy of the book after I requested it via Audiobook Boom. Future's Orphans is the second volume in the Ouroboros Cycle. Not yet having read the first in the series, I can confirm that it works well as a standalone book. Whether the back history of how the world achieved it's deteriorated state, or introduced readers to the earlier life and character of Cass, I cannot say. Certainly a little more character development would have been appreciated. But it is an enjoyable, intriguing storyline with an excellent evolving relationship element, set in a well defined landscape. Recommended to all who enjoy dystolian, S.F. and conspiracy thrillers. Unfortunately,, neither book one or three is yet available on Audible..

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  • Ruby
  • 01-02-19

Genre jumping adventure

I’ll start off by saying Sci-Fi isn’t really my favourite genre, in fact I’ve never finished a Sci-Fi book! But this was different...

It took me a while to get into but once I did I was gripped, a great story with twists and turns and I started to realise this is more thriller than sci-fi and that’s probably what hooked me.

I don’t often listen to American narrated books and maybe that’s why it took a bit of time to get into it. But Anneliese Rennie did a brilliant job and soon I was lost in the adventure.

Please note, I did receive a free copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.