At the heart of a global economic recovery effort, the mysterious secretary general of the Order of Nations Enterprise presides over a vast infrastructure project, the VAC. The VAC connects the wealth and civilized world of 32 mega-alpha cities through underground trains in vacuum chamber tunnels traveling in excess of 8,000 kmh.
Seventeen-year-old Jada Brilliant adjusts to life after losing her father, anxiously awaiting the next chapter of her life in college - until a chance trip to an Outlier City with her grandfather results in a freak accident in the Everglades, leaving her in sole possession of a secret formula capable of world domination.
Left alone, fleeing from the wilderness into the world's new cosmopolitan capitol, Jada is in a race for her life to keep her grandfather's legacy from what she believes is corporate espionage, only to realize she is being pursued by the most powerful man on Earth.
When these two worlds collide, Jada's new passage to adulthood presses the envelope of courage, love, trust, and survival.
17 years old Jada often travels with her grandfather in his business trips. The action takes place around 30 years in the future and the society is quite different from ours due to the fact that there is a unique and important company called ONE, responsible for rescuing the world from an economic collapse. Jada’s grandfather is working in a secret project to manufacture a new material with very special characteristics.
The first half of the book tells about Jada’s travels with her grandfather, and also presents Jada’s life within her family. It may seem a very long introduction, but I in fact enjoyed the character depiction and description of the society and technological advances. Most of them are related to new materials, especially new kinds of fabric that are used within technology. I enjoyed this first part so much that I expected a bit more from the second, which is where the real action takes place. I expected the action to be focused more on the technology and even Jada herself, but this story was more about espionage and world conspiracies.
I had small issues with the action scenes. Somehow they felt a bit confusing and disjointed, and I had problems to picture the scene at the Hare Narum.
Towards the end of the book, the dialogs felt forced, and I notice an abuse of tags such us “he says, she says, she asks”. I felt that somehow it should have been done more fluid. It seems Guthrie can handle well dialogs and descriptions but has some issues with dialogs and action together.
I especially enjoyed the part placed in Brussels, since I lived there for three years, and I can say that Michael Guthrie knows well this city and its surroundings, as well as historic aspects of Belgium.
Just a curiosity: I didn’t count the amount of times the word “cantilever” appears in the book, but they were many. It is clear that the author is really interested in architecture.
Em Eldridge’s narration was superb, and it fell more into the category of character interpretation, rather than narration. I think the first part was so enjoyable due to her narration skills, voice range, character interpretation and accents. This is one of those cases where the narration enhances the audiobook experience. Eldridge has become one of my favorite narrators, and I would compare her voice and skills to the ones of Elizabeth Klett.
There were a couple of very low beeps during the narration, but they were barely audible.
I enjoyed the futuristic world that Michael Guthrie has presented in this book, even though the story was not what I expected. I am looking forward to other books placed in a similar environment.
Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher.
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If you could sum up Vitrium in three words, what would they be?
Action, Intricate, Engaging
What was one of the most memorable moments of Vitrium?
Not so much a moment but more the way that Em Eldridge brought each nationality to llife and gave each character their own personality.
What about Em Eldridge’s performance did you like?
See above! I never felt that the story dragged, which I think was partly down to Em Eldridge and partly the story itself
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No, but only because I can't listen to audiobooks all in one go.
Any additional comments?
Author: Michael Guthrie
Narrator: Em Eldridge
From: Review Copy
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, Young Adult
Release Date: 6th May 2015
Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt, 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads – Amazon - Audible
Jada is just 17 years old with her whole future ahead of her, even after the disappearance of her father. Jada’s grandfather is one of the lead scientists in the creation of a new substance, Vitrium, a substance that is stronger and more flexible in use than any other previously made. Knowing that Jada is interested in a career in nanotechnology, and having a close relationship with her, her grandfather tells her his secret. But someone else is after the knowledge that Jada’s grandfather has, and they will stop at nothing to get it, sending Jada on the flight of her life.
Where to start with this review! Being an audiobook, Vitrium takes me a lot longer to read than other books (because of when I listen to them, and also the fact that I can actually read faster than I listen anyway) and so I find myself somewhat more tolerant of things that would annoy me in written word. In this case it was the use of big words. Now I’m all for a bit of eloquent prose, and Guthrie definitely provides that for the most part, but every few paragraphs or so there was a word that I didn’t understand, which did make me think that if I’d read this book rather than listened, I may have given up.
However I did enjoy Vitrium, which makes me glad that I listened rather than read! The world which Guthrie created was interesting, detailed and above all; plausible. The way that the world economy was set up, and the way that technology integrated the lives of people worked for me. As did big brands such as Tesco (a supermarket for anyone that doesn’t know) changing for the new world. Guthrie clearly thought deeply about his future and honestly it kind of scared me!
This was one of those books where there was a lot of scene setting. The listener found out a lot about Jada’s life as it was and her strengths/wants, but the big thing about it was that it all turned out to be relevant! There were some scenes where I did wonder what the true point was, but then when it came to the main action of the book (probably about 60-65% of the way through) it did all become clear, which I definitely liked.
Jada as a character was 17. She clashed with her Mom and her brother, she had a close relationship to her Grandfather, she rebelled, she had a crush. There was nothing to disbelieve in her character, she acted like a 17 year old girl should, which I really liked. So often heroines seem to act above their age and this one didn’t!
Though there was a crush on Jada’s part, and the potential start of two romances (she’s 17 no one should expect her to be all out in love and settle down!) neither played a big role in the book, they were just part of life, and I liked that. It was so different from the romance being the central theme of YA!
Normally I talk about the narrator first, though I’m not too sure why I haven’t this time. Eldridge’s performance was spot on, and this can’t have been an easy audiobook to get right with all the various accents. I liked how she not only managed to capture each character differently, but she also captured each nationality differently (and there were a lot!). This was definitely a performance not a reading!
There’s a lot going on in Vitrium, and I certainly wouldn’t refer to it as an easy listen at times, but it is a good solid story, with fantastic world building and a narrator that really makes it!