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Publisher's Summary

They have come for our most important resource...

The year is 2061, and the planet is dying. Cataclysmic solar storms have forced leaders from around the world to finally put aside their differences and agree on one thing - to jump ship. The human race is headed to Mars.

Dr. Sophie Winston is hired by New Tech Corporation to test a biosphere deep within the heart of Cheyenne Mountain; a mission she believes will help prepare NTC for the three-year flight to the red planet. But, just days into the assignment, things start to go wrong. When the blast doors hiss open, Winston's team finds a changed world outside. Humans are gone, vanished without a trace, and they aren't the only thing missing. The planet's water is gone, too.

As the team explores their surroundings, they find thousands of luminous blue orbs lining the streets. It isn't until they uncover what's inside that they realize the nightmare that lies ahead.

©2013 Nicholas Sansbury Smith (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

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Fast-moving Alien Sci-Fi!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, anyone looking for a fast-paced alien invasion would enjoy this book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Overton: he's the tough military commander who insures there will be more alien vs. machine gun action!

Which character – as performed by Elizabeth Evans – was your favorite?

She did Sophie really well.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to it while driving to college this past summer.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Great Science Fiction!

If you could sum up ORBS in three words, what would they be?

Original. Creative. Terrifying.

What did you like best about this story?

Character development is a huge thing for me. Feeling connected to the characters can make or break a story and this definitely delivers. I am looking forward to more!

What about Elizabeth Evans’s performance did you like?

Elizabeth brought to life the words on the page. I loved her adaptation of the words from the pages.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Spellbinding!! Once you get past the 3 prequels.

I almost changed my mind about reading this series because the prequel's are so confusing. Like most booknerds, I want to read a series in order. So I was a little put off 1) by the fact that there are three prequels. 2) the prequels are NOT NUMBERED the way the novels are. 3) I became confused when I inadvertently read them out of order. To help those that suffer with my same affliction, read Solar Storms 1st, White Sands 2nd then last but not least Red Sands. But even after this, you're not fully prepared for what starts to unfold in Orbs . This writer has an amazing ability to create scenes in your mind with enough detail to make it crystal clear but not bog you down. I felt as though I could see, hear, even taste everything that was going on around the main characters. Dr. Sophie Winston is an all American female heroine /scientist /hopeless romantic /fatal pragmatic . Not only is she mentally brilliant but when push comes to shove the girl can kick some serious Tail. With extinction looming dark and inevitable in the distance , humanity just might have a chance with Sophie in control .

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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an environmental theme of guilt and waste

Aliens come to Earth and kill 99% of the humans. Sound familiar? Orbs is different in that it takes a generally original and unique approach to the time honored alien invasion. Instead of bombs, lasers or some other weapon of mass destruction, the aliens are sucking the water from every source available – lakes, ponds, animals, plants and humans. They leave all the structures intact. The physics of this idea are dicey, but the logic is sound. Water is likely to be the common denominator of compatible species. And when it becomes scarce enough, aliens might indeed attack other worlds for it. Smith asks the important question, will they be so different from us that moral concerns for other life simply won’t matter.

Just under the surface of the action packed story is an environmental theme of guilt and waste; that the humans have taken something so precious for granted. The reader is not bashed over the head with it, but the theme is clear and helps us empathize with the characters. There is a strong feeling of connection to our dying earth, personal and deep. “What have we lost?”

Most of the characters are well developed and easy to empathize with. Sometimes the reader is told too many times about the deep emotions of the characters rather than showing us through dialogue or action. There is also a tendency to report on past action rather than move forward at times. These writing quirks are sometimes distracting, but don’t harm the story.

Elizabeth Evans does an excellent job with the narration. Her voice is clear and strong and enjoyable to listen to. Each character voice is clearly differentiated and male voices are strong. Her only weakness are her accents, they sound strange. This doesn’t hurt the story, and is only slightly distracting.

Orbs is the first volume of a trilogy. It ends at an appropriate point, leaving the reader hungry for the next book, but not hanging on a cliff either. Good, hard science fiction for any lover of alien invasions or post-apocalyptic earth. You’ll want to move right on to book 2 and find out if humanity really is doomed.

Audiobook provided for review by the author.

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19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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I really enjoyed this book.

Sci fi lit has never been a favorite, but N Smith won me over with this one. I like the idea behind this end of times take. It's different and very plausible.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Like Inception for the Post-apocalyptic genre

Josh Here

And my journey into the Nicholas Sansbury Smith writing world continues with the first book in the Orbs series after reading his other books (Extinction Cycle, Trackers, and Hell Divers). Given the propensity for my being drawn into his other works due to his writing and storytelling styles and talent, it felt natural to progress to this series. I am glad that I did as I feel this book really puts an interesting twist on the alien apocalypse genre.

The title for my review was actually my working idea as I listened to the first entry in the series. It was not until about ¾ of the way through that I realized it might not fit as I had originally intended. None-the-less, I still feel it holds as we do have a disaster within a disaster (akin to the dream within a dream) more of the story unfolds.

What does humanity do when planning and work has already started because of one disaster only to have another disaster occur right in the middle of said planning? Well, that is what this story seeks to address. I will not go into a plot summary as I want to avoid spoilers for those reading the series.

I found myself drawn in to this series right from the start and found myself not wanting to stop. As is the usual with Nick’s writings, he elicited many emotions from me during his telling of Sophie and her team. Some of these emotions came at the behest of the nature of certain characters. Likewise, I developed a cringe when it was described what the organics did to a living human body. In particular, I found myself wanting to punch something due to the anger I felt at Timothy’s character; talk about a pain in the butt. Not sure I could handle someone as negative as him in real life. Likewise, I was torn with Sophie’s character throughout the story. Her initial need to be in charge combined with her incessant focus on the original mission she was placed in charge of made it difficult to side with her at points; although she did redeem herself towards the middle of the book.

I loved Nick’s recognition of the very nature of military service and the connection service members have towards one another (although my wife says this is specifically a “guy thing”). One particular favorite moment of mine was with SGT Overton saying, “Let’s go, you shitheads”. This is a classic depiction of the realities of military life. We are often times vulgar to each other and this helps foster a sense of connection/comradery. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been referred to in this manner, or referred to others in this manner, and absolutely enjoying it, even if given in a negative sense due to a mess up of some kind. That said, I will say that Marines would never like being referred to as a “soldier”. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

I was able to pick out, or associate, many pop culture references in my own mind which helped me visualize various points in the book. Right from the start, I immediately associated Alexia to Amazon’s newly released Alexa devices. This continued throughout the as the team often asked Alexia for information in traditional Alexa style (Even though Alexia came into being long before Amazon’s Service). Likewise, the spiders in the story caused me to visualize the Chrysalids from the XCOM games (Scratch, Scrape). And the train discussed in the book brought about visions of Resident Evil.

As is usual in Nick’s books, he brings about many examples of the various depictions of the nature of humanity. Whether it is the way humans take for granted the finite resources we have on this planet (water, in this case), or the way individuals react in a disaster scenario, Nick did another fantastic job of showcasing how these reactions and reactions can vary from person to person. For example, what would you do when you find out there might be other survivors (the scene where they picked up Luke’s beacon)? Do you stay in the safety of your location or risk it out there with the organics? What about the situation with kids? Again, these situations really make you think and examine how you would react in a scenario. A large portion would likely think they would react one way, but when put in the actual situation would find themselves reacting in the opposing manner.

Finally, Elizabeth Evans did a fantastic job narrating this book. She was able to keep a great pace (an important aspect for any audiobook) and did well at differentiating the various characters so as to make them stand out during voice changes.

Can’t wait to move on to books 2 and 3 once my Audible credits refresh next month.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Frightening Aliens and Exciting Story

Nicholas Sansbury Smith has created a frightening world with scary aliens and interesting characters. There are no easy solutions and many twists and turns. Orbs is so fascinating that it is hard to stop reading.

The narrator is alright and grows on you as book progresses. The narrator for author's Extinction series actually adds to enjoyment of that series.

I am so hooked on Orbs that I purchased Kindle Omnibus version and I am immediately beginning Book 2.. I will probably get Audible versions also to help my eyes.

Orbs is a really great read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Mind blowing!

I really enjoyed this book. I'm a big scifi fan, so this book had everything to keep me entertained. I'm excited to read the next one and see if they can reverse some of the damage done by the aliens. I also hope they put a hurting on those slimy bugs.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Full of major prblems wirh plausibility.

You can travel across the stars but you cant make a basic compound like water?

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

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The narrator makes this book torture to listen to.

I am an avid listener of audio books, several hours a day. The narrators voice although technically flawless is awful, I just can't continue to listen. I usually can adapt to any narrator to enjoy the story being told but I have tried for 4 hours and I just can't continue. Since the same narrator doors this whole series it looks like I will have to skip it. Hopefully it is redone some day with a different narrator so I can come back to it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 07-18-14

Good idea, ruined by cliched characters

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I doubt many people will rave about this. Its a perfectly reasonable story and a good concept.

What was most disappointing about Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s story?

The characters we terribly clichéd, from the scar-faced tough talking marine, and the insecure annoying IT geek, to the lead female who couldn't seem to decide of she was a tough professional women or a screaming wet lettuce incapable of making decisions. Don't get me started on the AI! All she seemed used for was a forced narration of events for people who seemed to have short term memory loss and couldn't remember the last few pages.

What three words best describe Elizabeth Evans’s voice?

Appropriate, clear, solid

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from ORBS?

The AI should have had a purpose, it didn't, either remove it or actually have it serving a purpose that supports the story. Ditch the entire love interest element as it didn't work, it fogged the readers understanding of her motives and background. The IT guy! Why was he in the story? What did he do? Delete him

Any additional comments?

The concept was good, the science was good, I liked the overall ideas and arc of the story, but as with all good stories you need to be able to suspend belief and get rolled along with the story. All too often I was brought crashing back out of the story by some jarring character cliché.