adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $13.99

Buy for $13.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Hugo Award-winning authors Brandon Sanderson and Mary Robinette Kowal team up in this exclusive audio-first production of The Original, a sci-fi thriller set in a world where one woman fights to know her true identity and survive the forces that threaten her very existence. 

In the near future, humans choose life - for a price. Injectable nanite technology is the lifeblood that flows through every individual wishing to experience the world through the lens of their own theme. While death from mortal wounds is still possible, life is made easier in a socially liberated society where automation and income equality allow passion pursuits to flourish over traditional work. Renewal stations are provided to every law-abiding citizen for weekly check-ins, which issue life-sustaining repairs in exchange for personal privacy. But what becomes of those who check out, of those who dare to resist immortality and risk being edited under the gaze of an identity-extracting government surveillance system? 

When Holly Winseed wakes up in a hospital room, her memory compromised and a new identity imposed on her, a team of government agents wastes no time stating their objective. With intent to infiltrate and defeat the terrorist group ICON, the agents tell Holly that she is now a Provisional Replica and has one week to hunt down and kill her Original for the murder of her husband, Jonathan. If she succeeds, she’ll assume her Original’s place in society. If she fails, her life will end. Holly’s progress is monitored by an assigned contact that feeds her information as she confronts the blank, robotic world around her, discovering that others view life through the theme of their own choosing. 

With her newly implanted combat and deduction skills, Holly fends off both attacks by terrorists and doubts about her own trustworthiness as clues lead her to her Original - and to the truth about Jonathan. In the end, one body remains and one walks away. Although questions persist, one thing is certain: Life will never be the same. 

©2020 Dragonsteel Entertainment and Mary Robinette Kowal (P)2020 Mainframe, LLC

What listeners say about The Original

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    829
  • 4 Stars
    406
  • 3 Stars
    123
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,012
  • 4 Stars
    194
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    725
  • 4 Stars
    358
  • 3 Stars
    117
  • 2 Stars
    31
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, but something ruined it for me...

The narrator is fantastic. I really enjoyed her subtle variations on voice, and she didn't do any really extreme or distracting changes. Also, there was background music to create feeling in the scenes, and that was really cool.
The story itself was engaging, but the ending felt very sloppy. I actually am not sure whose voice I am hearing at the end of the story, or what the real conclusion was. If I found out that was on purpose, to create some kind of tension and let me introspect on who I want it to be or something dumb like that, I would drop a star ;)
Finally.... I don't know what to call this...the netflix effect? When I am enjoying media, and in a moment the story decides to take a break from plot and believability to bring in something that is totally irrelevant to the story. Like Saturday morning cartoons of old, creators of content use alluring media to draw me into nagging my parents for sugar cereal or toys because the cartoon is just so cool. Well, in this case, I am not a child anymore, and what you are selling has no appeal.
**minor spoiler alert**



Here, the Protagonist takes a break from being hunted and shot at, and has a ...moment of silence, to feel guilty for assuming Her enemy's gender. Whaat? The Protag can do all sorts of violence without feeling bad about it (Crushed trachea...eh, they will get over it...), but assume someone's gender!? Ghastly! What a sin! it grates. Also, using a plural pronoun to refer to one person is confusing and highly distracting from the story. My overall rating displays how irritating this is, and I would not re-hear or recommend this book.

26 people found this helpful

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

Awesome but PG-13

This audiobook had awesome tones to it, tons of atmosphere with music and other sounds. I was deeply saddened to hear so much strong foul language in this audio, with Sanderson's name slapped on it. I often recommend Sanderson books to younger audiences. Other than that it had tons of Snapshot vibes also done by Brandon Sanderson. Keeps you on your toes.

25 people found this helpful

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

Good premise, solid execution, still unsatisfying.

(MAJOR SPOILER IN THIS REVIEW)



















The Original starts out with a great punch, and keeps a nice, tight narrative through the first two acts, and largely into the third. You can catch the feel of both authors here and there, but they gel nicely and it doesn't distract from the story. The narrator is good, easy to listen to, and speaks clearly.

What ruined it for me was this;

(HERE'S THE SPOILER TURN BACK!)






...it has an ambiguous ending, which I found VERY unsatisfying. I get the angle they were going for, I do. A whole 'really makes you think,' vibe. But I felt super cheated as a reader, especially after the third act garnered a surprising amount of emotional investment from me.

Sooooo.... yeah. Very disappointing.

Or maybe I'm missing something obvious, that makes it Actually Good. I sort of hope so. I hope other people like it. I wish I had, too.

17 people found this helpful

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

Poorly Written, Overt Agenda

Unfortunately this novella doesn't work for me structurally, and the authors personal political views are distracting.

THE GOOD

The narrator was very good.

THE BAD

The Story: The story seems to want to be a high concept SciFi, a thriller, and a mystery rolled in into one. Unfortunately, in my opinion it fails at all three.

The SciFi elements are rather unoriginal and seem to have been lifted wholesale from several episodes of Black Mirror. I could forgive them if they’d used these borrowed ideas in new and original ways, but sadly, the SciFi concepts were never explored deeply or in ways not already covered by the Black Mirror episodes I mentioned.

The thriller aspect never really gets off the ground either. The main character has 4 days to live, yet I never felt a real building of tension. Without real tension you cannot have a thriller.

Mystery? Sadly, the plot fizzles at the end and the big reveal leaves the reader with more questions and no answers. Since it’s necessary to actually solve a mystery for it to be a mystery, I feel the story failed in this way as well.

So what was this story actually about?

Authors Agenda: Where to begin?

This novella appears to be distilled from current American politics, and it seems to show the authors personal biases. As far as I can tell the story was meant to show the "communist hellscape" that some imagine we'd experience under "Big Government".

There are dueling recurrent privacy paranoia themes that don't seem to understand they are in opposition to each other: the authors appear to rail against the privacy laws that hinder police investigations i.e. the need for warrants and the requirement to respect data privacy, at the same time they are espousing the existential danger of the government having too much access and control over our personal information. Cognitive dissonance?

There is also a nod to "fake news" with technology used to "skin" over reality, allowing people to only see what they want to see. This seems to be a reference to how many only listen to news sources that confirm their personal biases. And it’s alluded that the news is controlled (of course) by the Big Government.

There is also a "universal living income" mentioned, more communism paranoia, and society has turned into a world of loafers who consider peeling oranges a real career path because of those these handouts. Another reference to how horrible it would be with Big Government.

At one point they make a quick reference to global warming, implying that we've lost land mass due to the rise of the ocean. This single talking point from the opposing political viewpoint seems to be a half-hearted attempt to avoid having this story criticized as having a conservative agenda.

THE UGLY

I’m surprised that Brandon Sanderson was willing to put his name on this novella. To be perfectly honest, this is poorly written on many levels, and the blatant political agenda is off-putting.

I would not recommend this story to anyone, even diehard Sanderson fans.

13 people found this helpful

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

Disappointed



I was quite disappointed for two reasons. First was the language. I realize that for some this is not a big issue, but I listen to books with my wife and grandchildren, and I have trusted that with Sanderson's name I could be safe doing this. However be warned there is a constant amount of strong to very strong profanity and vulgarity, way to much for us. I will now have to check out and be cautious, of future books by Sanderson as we can longer trust his name to be associated with appropriate material.
Secondly is how dark the story is, no hope, no redemption, no moral compass, etc. just a dark, dystopian future.
On a positive note Julia Whelan as always does an excellent narration.
I rarely review books but in this case it is way below what we have come to expect.

8 people found this helpful

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

A trippy ride

This book is different from other works by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve only read one book by Mary Robinette Kowal, but this was different from that as well. This book was a wonderful synthesis of their writing styles that made me think deeply about the themes presented.

This is a great story, but is definitely not light listening. Be prepared to feel deeply and have much to think about when you’re done.

6 people found this helpful

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

Off-putting and boring

The female narrator's attempt at male voices is painful. The main character feels ashamed for "misgendering" someone who was trying to kill her.

5 people found this helpful

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

Ohhhh Man!

Ohhhh Man! Do you know what happens when two of my favorite authors collaborate? You get, an Effing-Great Book! You get a mystery, the likes of which I've never read before... eerie and haunting, with so much pathos that it'll cut you to your soul!
Julia Whelan's gifted narration was simply wonderful, perfectly setting the stage for us as she wound through the landscape of Holly's life, in the telling of  this story!
Needless to say, even though it's short (only 3.5 hrs), it's one of my most favorite books written this year! So if you like good mysteries that can effortlessly step across genre boundaries, you'll want to tuck this little beauty into your library! 

4 people found this helpful

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

meh...but the music!

I enjoy sanderson always and I did enjoy the writing, the setting and the narrator here but this story really needed a flush of an ending and it just wasn't there. a slow middle and and ending that needed a twist not twisting left a sour taste in my mouth to an otherwise good read. a good read ableit with characters who, if not bland, were often annoying though i cannot place why this was to me. That aside this was the best use of music and themed audio alongside the narration that I've heard so far. good but flawed.

2 people found this helpful

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

Kinda goofy, but reasonable writing

One of those stories that leans on lots of crazy coincidences and the same bad guys showing up in the most unlikely places. It also portrays a two dimensional future where there's just one technology change that molds all of life. It has some interesting conundrums and cute interchanges, but even the big moral dilemma is only given 3 minutes of the story. Kind of like this was a good start.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Martin Grisman
  • Martin Grisman
  • 09-14-20

Excellent Audiobook production

I'll let you decide whether to pursue the audiobook itself or not - it's solid and a good length to finish in a quiet afternoon, so I do recommend it.
This review is more how it performed *as* an audiobook - and I have to say, I loved the production.
As well as the narrator, in many places there were quiet, ambient sounds - the beating of a heart during a tense scene, the music in the background of a club. Oh, and I loved the voice change effects for recordings.
These sounds and little touches really pulled me into the scene and helped bring the production to life!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stefanie Dierdorp
  • Stefanie Dierdorp
  • 05-17-21

Perfect apart from the ending

Really loved everything about this book aside from the ending. The supporting audio is brilliant (like a beat in the background when they're in a club). And the story raises a lot of philosophical issues without dwelling on them for too long. The ending felt a bit sudden though, and I understand why it had to end this way, but I don't like it ;)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jimbo
  • Jimbo
  • 05-02-21

Brilliant short story!

Familiar and unique elements made this an easy and comforting listen. It provided a brilliant combination of thriller tension and sci-fi fascination to keep you hooked, and enough moral quandries to keep your brain engaged when you take a break.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-02-21

Loved it!

For such a short story it was so well executed. I loved the world. It really made me think and have discussions about ethics. The narration was nice although at times the extra sounds/music were annoying.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rebecca
  • Rebecca
  • 05-01-21

Enjoyable - Would recommend

Once again, Sanderson strikes with his quality world building.
The original is set in a dystopian world where advanced technology has allowed people to live in custom virtual reality worlds and create clones (in a nutshell).
The story is decent and well paced. It doesn't outstay it's welcome which is always a fine line to tread. It handles some heavy themes and interesting ethical dilemmas.
The world is incredibly interesting; I almost feel like it's wasted on just a novella (even though I thoroughly enjoyed it). I would love to see a full novel in this world with some new characters. I'm sure Sanderson can squeeze that in to his 5-books a year schedule ;)

In the meantime I'll defo be checking out other works by Kowal. This is my first time reading her and it's been a positive experience!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dave Hale
  • Dave Hale
  • 03-19-21

Thought provoking if slow to start

I enjoyed this story a fair bit. It felt a bit derivative and slow to start. Considering it's relatively short run time its a bit of a shame. The back half though, when the scale of what "themeing" is actually doing is a fantastic reveal. Very interesting and thought provoking. True Sci-fi at its best there.

I'm not sure the end is as satisfying tho, but I think that's why it drops a star for me.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for fizzylocks
  • fizzylocks
  • 11-23-20

Quite good

I like sci-fi short stories, as they allow for the exploration of an idea, whilst also keeping a well-paced narrative. This one is no exception and is long enough for a satisfying story. The idea was a good one and it was well told, but, like another reviewer, I did find the music track distracting. I didn't think it added anything and it made it harder for me to follow the story. So I didn't enjoy it as much as I might have. But still worth a listen, I think.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Wiktoria Agnieszka Kaczorowska
  • Wiktoria Agnieszka Kaczorowska
  • 11-03-20

Great short audiobook

It grabs you right away and since it's only 3 hrs long you can finish it in one go. The music can be a bit annoying, but the narration and story are awesome and make up for it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Charlotte
  • Charlotte
  • 09-29-20

5 stars!

This was excellent! I loved every minute of it. I hope there's more audiobooks in this world.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for SloshyDolphin
  • SloshyDolphin
  • 09-19-20

why the god awful music?

ok story nothing particularly original but totally ruined by awful music added to help the reader lose focus on the story

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tyler Jimmieson
  • Tyler Jimmieson
  • 09-26-20

Cool story, but great production

if you're a Philip K Dick fan you'll find this story scratches the itch. There is considerably more action than PKD writes with but it has the same probing questions throughout, 'what is real? If something is a good enough forgery does it matter?'

And of course, you'll have to come up with the answers.

1 person found this helpful