Friday, May 18, 2012

The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell (Audiobook Review)

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven

”TheThe Reapers Are The Angels
by Alden Bell
narrated by Tai Sammons

Copyright: 2010 Blackstone Audio
Duration: 7 hours, 25 minutes unabridged
Genres: post apocalypse, monster fiction
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
Click the image to visit the publisher’s website.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: For 25 years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can’t remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her off on her personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulted remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

©2010 Alden Bell (P)2010 Blackstone Audio


Bell’s main character, Temple, is instantly likeable. A teenager from the South, she is tough and figured out quickly how to take care of herself in a world that has gone insane, but she also has a soft spot for hard luck cases. These are qualities that any hero or heroine needs, but I think what I like most about Temple is her way with words. She has a forthright frankness (or is it a frank forthrightness?) that is both charming and disarming. About the Meat-skins, she has this to say, “They don’t bother much, ‘long as you can keep out from between their teeth.” Later on in the story, when you can sense her beginning to mature and wonder what it’s all about, she remarks, “Staying alive ain’t the hard part, it’s staying right.” Her speech is simple, but she always hits the nail right on the head.

It is a bleak and dismal world that Temple lives in; a world where all the technological advances you can dream of are a thing of the past and the future holds little promise. Having been born after the world fell apart, it’s all she has ever known. And since it’s all Temple knows, it’s all we, the readers, know as well. Alden Bell never divulges any special knowledge to us but keeps us on the same level as his characters. He never explains how the world got this way and I think that’s a good thing. Rather than distract us with ancient history, he lets us experience the present along with Temple and the others.

The Reapers Are The Angels is about an awakening of sorts. At the beginning of the story, Temple dispatches the zombies almost casually, but as the story progresses she begins to ask some big questions. Aren’t the slugs still God’s creatures? Does He still care about them? Is it okay to kill them? Her thoughts turn more and more to these questions right up until the end of the story, an ending which I can honestly say caught me totally by surprise. I’m not sure that Temple really found the answers she was looking for, so maybe you can give this one a read and let me know what you think.

Tai Sammons provided a great voice for Temple. She read the part with a mild southern drawl, which was, of course, appropriate to the story, but more importantly she captured Temple’s cheekiness and dry wit perfectly. As for the other characters, Sammons provides unique and appropriate characterizations for each. All in all, I’d say Tai Sammons was an excellent choice for The Reapers Are The Angels.

Post apocalyptic fiction has become one of my favorite genres to read from in recent years and The Reapers Are The Angels is the best I’ve read in quite a while, almost rivaling Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Pick up a copy and give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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Special thanks to Blackstone Audio for this review copy.
Audiobook review by Steven Brandt.
This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook.
Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.


dog eared copy said...

This is my favorite books in the zombie sub-genre! Also, quite conceivably in in the it-fic genre as well. I love the language that Alden Bell uses: It has a dreamlike lyricism. I wanted to write down just about every phrase to remember. The imagery is so evocative. It's been over a year since I listened to this book and I can still "see" images" in my mind: The Pepsi being served at the house; the car winding its way through the landscape, the zombies riding the carousel... I can see the people too very clearly. TRATA is more like an imprinted memory than a recollection of a story.

Stormcrow said...

I couldn't agree more! I loved it when Temple sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." "You're lucky I was gifted with the voice of an angel." Tai Sammons captured it perfectly.