Sunday, 23 August 2015

Vitrium by Michael L Guthrie

Title: Vitrium
Author: Michael Guthrie
Narrator: Em Eldridge
From: Review Copy
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, Young Adult
Release Date: 6th May 2015
Links: GoodreadsAmazon - 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!