Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Death Troopers

Death Troopers
by Joe Schreiber
narrated by Sean Kenin

When the Imperial prison barge Purge - temporary home to 500 of the galaxy's most ruthless killers, rebels, scoundrels, and thieves - breaks down in a distant, uninhabited part of space, its only hope appears to lie with a star destroyer found drifting, derelict, and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party from the Purge is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back - bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours nearly all aboard the Purge die in ways too hideous to imagine.

And death is only the beginning....

The Purge's half-dozen survivors - two teenage brothers, a sadistic captain of the guards, a couple of rogue smugglers, and the chief medical officer, the lone woman on board - will do whatever it takes to stay alive. But nothing can prepare them for what lies waiting aboard the Star Destroyer amid its vast creaking emptiness that isn't really empty at all. For the dead are rising: soulless, unstoppable, and unspeakably hungry.

I am a fan of Star Wars books in general, so when I had an Audible credit going spare, I took a listen to a few examples of Star Wars audiobooks. The combination of Sean Kenin’s voice and a title like Death Troopers made this one irresistible.

It occurred to me halfway through this book that I should have read the summary before purchasing it. It wasn’t a case of a bad book - - this book was too good.

This book, first and foremost, a zombie story. I was not prepared for that level of horror and by the time I realized it, I was already too drawn in to slow down or stop listening. I also made the unfortunate mistake of playing it while driving home from work in the dark down streets with few streetlights. I freaked myself out.

But that speaks to how compelling, well written, and well recorded this audiobook is. This is a story about people thrown into an impossible situation in an isolated environment. This is survival, conspiracy, mystery, horror, and action is rolled up into the Star Wars universe. That’s what you’re getting with this book and it sucked me in.

And this book has the bonus of some fantastic audio production. The book starts with the Star Wars opening theme, which then slowly warps into the sound of a damaged sound reel being cut in a projector. Every chapter title is read with layered echos and, occasionally, the sound of a man screaming. Behind the fantastic narration is a great blend of Star Wars music and sound effects. Even though the subject of the novel is outside of my usual preference, it felt like Star Wars without sacrificing horror or plot for the sake of familiarity. It’s a brilliant example of that Distorting A World You Already Know element that I love.

If you are a fan of Star Wars and of zombies, I’d suggest finding a demo or a preview of this audiobook and taking a listen. This book is outside of the expected realm of the Star Wars extended universe, but it fits into the universe well.

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