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Buy for $19.95
All the normal sounds usually reaching the lower decks of the USS Goodall during routine subspace flight have just been cut off. As if someone at the controls suddenly wants the crew isolated. No loudly arguing male voices, no deliberately mishandled supplies tumbling down the corridor, no nothing. Has the impossible happened? Is this the Goodall mutiny everyone expected? Or is it something even worse? Marooned, with failing systems and inexperienced officers, the dangerously dysfunctional crew must fight to survive. Could surviving be a fate worse than death? The Goodall Mutiny. First in the Goodall series of science fiction mysteries.
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- Benny Fife
One of the More Visceral scifi reads I've had...
This week I listened to Alexandra Haag's narration of The Goodall Mutiny by Gretchen Rix. This is my first experience with both the author and the narrator. Told from the 3rd person limited perspective of Lt. Joan Chikage, the story immediately launches in on an incredibly self contained tale of her & the 10 crew members she commands dealing with an unknown crisis on their own. The story takes some turns - some expected and others not so much. From Chapter one, Rix's writing is among the most visceral I've read recently. As I listened on my commute & elsewhere, I wondered what people thought as I know my face cringed from her repeated descriptions of vomit, body odor, mangled corpse, etc. Initially, I was fairly grossed out, but after listening through most of the book & reflecting on it - I think Rix managed to get the 3rd person limited perspective as close to 1st person as possible without crossing that line. The reactions I had were what I'm sure Chicage had & it got me in her head & feeling things the way she would.
The plot - fairly simple - I was honestly waiting for some sharp out of nowhere change. There's a cat that is a focal point in the disaster. Thoughts of Red Dwarf crossed my mind occasionally. There are a few plot lines that are just left dangling at the end, but not in such a way that this is any kind of cliffhanger. Rix did virtually no "world building" in this book. The characters, their history, and the ship (such of it that we see) are all pretty well self contained, other than letting us know that some of them have served together longer, or come up the ranks together. Chicage Van der Ryn & Nestor, & are the only one's with much of a character arc, and by the end of it I definitely liked Lt. Joan Chicage. Nestor's character arc takes a sharp turn that is never really explained much or resolved in this book.
Alexandra Haag does a great job as the narrator for this book. She doesn't diversify her voices for different characters much, but I think that goes with the writing style well here. Her pacing was perfect & the sound production was good. The only character that I could Identify aside from Chicage from her narration though was Van der Ryn. That being said, this book is not dialogue driven.
Overall - I enjoyed the book. Would I read something else by Rix? Yes. Would I listen to another narration by Haag? Yes. But at the same time, I don't feel compelled to continue the series, nor would I say I'll steer clear of it. Engaging story, but not one that I feel sucked into.
I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
1 person found this helpful
A Smellerific Tale!
I think this story may have been written by a dog. I mean that in the best way possible. The story is full of smells, hearing sounds that may or may not be there, an ornery (even devilish) cat, and quick life-saving reactions. The scents were so descriptive and I kept hoping nasal fatigue would kick in for Joan as someone’s pomade kept distracting her, Running Wolf vomited, everyone’s body odor, and the musk of ticked off cat kept adding to the horrible situation. The Goodall has suffered a major catastrophe and now part of that ship holds a dozen or so crew plus one angry, uncooperative cat. Joan Chikage is deeply concerned that a mutiny occurred in the upper decks that led to this catastrophe but she has to set that aside while she deals with the remaining crew in her little bit of damaged ship. She’s the ranking officer, so it’s her responsibility to keep her crew alive.
Alas, Running Wolf has already perished, and not in a quick, clean way either. The crew is understandably spooked by the condition of Running Wolf’s body. As Joan and the others try to figure out what has happened and how to stay alive, more bodies add to the pile and things get weirder and weirder. The handsome, quick-witted Van der Ryn may be her ally, or not. Hadar seems reliable… but things could change. Tiberius the captain’s cat wishes they’d all leave him alone. Yet he may be their safety net, as Captain Carmady is very attached to that cat and Carmady still has a functional portion of The Goodall. Everywhere she turns, Joan isn’t sure if she’s made the right call. Cloud Eater, Leichter, Praetor, etc. Joan needs to bind the crew together if they are to make it out alive yet one of them is a murderer.
I would have liked another woman or two in the story, just to bring some gender balance. The only other female gets fridged and doesn’t add much to the story before that point. I really enjoyed the addition of the cat (because I’ve had ornery, naughty cats and I can just picture such a one on a damaged spaceship) and the beetles. Oh yay – even a dog would be disgusted by the beetles at a certain point in the story.
Throughout the tale, I couldn’t help wondering if Joan Chikage was an unreliable narrator. Things look all squirrely to her, but she was acting paranoid from the start of the story. A few times, her crew has to restrain her, knock some sense into her, get her to take in some oxygen. The story ends on such a note that this might be the case, but I won’t know for sure until I check out the sequel. The ending is a bit abrupt and while one major hurdle is said and done, now Joan faces even more challenges and has plenty of questions. 4/5 stars
The Narration: Alexandra Haag was a very good Joan Chikage. She had distinct voices for all the characters and her male voices were believable. Haag did a great job with Chikage’s emotions and self-doubts. There were no technical issues with this recording. 5/5 stars