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Publisher's Summary

The second book in the bestselling Atopia series.

Cast out from Atopia, Robert Baxter undertakes a globe-trotting quest to find his friend Willy’s lost body, which just may hold the key to understanding the dangers facing his home…and Jimmy Scadden’s role in the disasters that are spreading across the world.

As Robert pieces together the puzzle, he realizes that mankind’s ravenous consumption of natural resources is no longer the most immediate threat to this world. As full-scale global war erupts and an ancient apocalyptic threat resurfaces, Robert must risk losing the ones he loves to save the planet from destruction.

©2014 Matthew Mather (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Well worth a listen, despite flaws

The second book in the Atopia series is all about Bob and his friends going on a quest to find Willy's body. Meanwhile, the entire world is close to destruction and only these guys can stop it.

This book has a lot of great action. The scale is truly global and it throws up surprises the whole way. It continues to explore all kinds of great ideas with virtual reality, neural networks, etc. Bob, Sid, and Vince go on a global journey not only to find Willy's body, but to learn the truth about Jimmy, Atopia, and the forces working to destroy everything. The ending was quite unexpected..the author really took a chance with it.

There were some things I didn't like. The book has an anti-religious tone, especially Christianity. Also, I felt that many things in the book were not adequately explained. Some things were even explained, with the reader being told later that the explanation was wrong, but yet no alternative was given. Many of the things in the book didn't make a lot of sense if you looked deeper, and the epilogue was extremely confusing.

Despite the issues with the book, I found it overall to be very entertaining and interesting, and well worth the read. I sincerely enjoyed it.

I listened to the audible version of the book, and I found it very well produced. The narrator does a wonderful job reading and also doing all of the various voices in the novel.

NOTE: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Greg
  • Springfield, OR, United States
  • 09-05-14

Further down the rabbit hole

The first Atopia chronicles drew quite a bit of likeness to the Wool series by Hugh Howey, mostly due to its narrative structure and ebook distribution as a series of short stories following separate characters to be stitched together to form a larger novel. Beyond that, subject and writing style, the comparisons mostly draw to a close.

Dystopia Chronicles abandons the previous format for a full fledged novel, with much more fluid transitions between its characters and picks up immediately after the Atopia Chronicles, with Bob and the gang of Atopian castaways left to find Cid's missing body and hopefully stop a conflict between technocractic micro-nations.

The meandering story jumps from an exposition of "What if..." into a labyrinth of pseudo-religion, secret societies and so forth, some of which works and some of which doesn't. Despite the avalanche of ideas and sophisticated tech presented in the first book, it was easy in enough to comprehend. The second feels a little more dissonant, I found myself relistening to a few segments of the book (perhaps I needed a refresher). For example: early in the book Bob has an interaction in a small town that leads to a man brandishing a gun at him. I found myself bouncing back, thinking "How did we get here?". Sometimes a little more pretext or background was needed as Mather seems eager to "just get on with it" more often than not.

The conclusion is underwhelming and felt a bit like a cop-out. I'm sure it'll be divisive: some loving it and some hating it. Overall, I enjoyed the first book more but found myself becoming more distracted with The Dystopia Chronicles. It was enjoyable but lacked the deftness that I felt the first book had.

The ending seems pretty finite, so I'm expecting we won't see any more in the Atopia series. If for some reason Mathew picks it back up, I may skip.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

A few downsides but all in all it was a good read

I loved Atopia and could not wait to get my hands onto this one! Matthew Mayer just has a way of bringing the reader into this fantastical world that he has imagined. But the scary thing? Not only can I imagine it for fiction, I can actually see this happening in our future!

I recommend reading the Atopia Chronicles before delving into this one. He brings back quite a few of the people that we met in Atopia and their background stories are important to what happens to the plot in this one.

In Atopia Chronicles the narration jumps from one character to another and you’re not sure where you’re standing with each character until close to the end of the stories. This one is much more stream lined and due to that I think it was a better read. Instead of being a little choppy it flowed quite well. This does start RIGHT where Atopia Chronicles left off too, leaving the questions that were left at the end to be answered! I love when an author does not skip portions. It has been a little while since I read the first but I was able to immediately fall into this story. There are just enough reminders to help that transition be very smooth.

The only thing I question is how the story progresses. Even without being as choppy as the first with narration at times I had to move backward to be able to figure out where I was. Or re-listen to a portion to ensure I got the entire story right. This also may have something to do with the fact that this is getting into some serious science fiction, which is definitely not my normal genre!

Over all I thought the narration by Nick Poedhl was done very well. The audio was very clean and easy to stay with, minus the few story portions where I got lost! I absolutely love when a narrator takes time to really tell the story. This includes adding pauses. I can get lost when the pauses are not done correctly but Nick Poedhl did a fantastic job reading this and the voices were pretty easy to tell apart.

In short: A few downsides but all in all it was a good read. I loved listening to this one even with the few times I had to look back.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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

Too Muddled

I enjoyed Atopia #1. I remember it was hard to get into and then finished strong. This one was also hard to get into but it didn't finish quite as strong. It's also completely confusing. Each person has a proxxi. The writing just isn't clear enough to be able to consistently tell when people are in the real world, when they're in an augmented reality, when their proxxi is in a real world, or augmented world, or a virtual space. Who's where? Who's talking to whom and in what space? How many proxxies can a person have? How can proxxies in virtual spaces be manually manipulating reality? The "science" of the sci-fi is inconsistent. It's so muddled. And yet still, somehow, the story is pretty good. If Mather had focused more on the story and less on the skimming around realities, augmented realities, and virtual spaces it would have been a stronger book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Mind Blown!

Absolutely amazing storyline performed brilliantly by the narrator. This is an entirely captivating exploration of the Universe, the Metaverse, Psi, and our part in it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Incredible narration!

The story was pretty good a little harder to follow than Atopia. The near a tion however was incredible. The narrator is very talented and I will look for more books narrated by him just because of how much more life he gives the story. It's hard to believe That this book was narrated by one man, if you listen to it there's times you will swear it's got to be a different person doing this part or that part but it's really just him!

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing!

What disappointed you about The Dystopia Chronicles?

The storyline was weak and hard to track

Would you ever listen to anything by Matthew Mather again?

I think not

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed book one, Atopia, but this one left me aggravated through and I didn't finish it. The storyline seemed tedious and pointless. It was also unenjoyable and uninteresting. It left me wondering where all the character were that drew me in in book 1.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

This one is not my style either...

I struggled to get into this story as well. I've been known to leave the theater for poor performances. I guess Mather is just not my style...I may try reading his books vs. audio. The story lines sound intriguiging...I just can't get past the narrators

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

good story, sometimes hard to follow

I really loved the first book in the series and I liked this one also but it was really all over the place. I did switch between reading and listening so there could be an element of user error there, but this is a very common way for me to take in a book and I've never gotten so confused before.
I decided part way through to just go with it and be okay with being confused and it didn't annoy me as much. it was kind of like the author kept skipping ahead and expecting us to fill in the blanks, a certain amount of which I'm okay with, but this was too much and was really most blatant in the final chapters of the book when it was the least acceptable.

The narration was SO GOOD. I liked the 3rd person pov better for the book and the performance with this second installment in the series.

All in all, I'm still very interested in the story and I like the characters enough to follow through and read\listen to the final installment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Love this book!

This series is wonderful so far. Fantastic story and perfect voice performance! <3 <3 On to book 3 ...