Title: Daimones (Daimones Trilogy #1)
Author: Massimo Marino
Narrator: Jeff Hays
Genres: Dystopia | Mystery | Post-Apocalyptic | Science Fiction | Speculative Fiction
Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
Source: Audible | Giveaway
When we first meet Dan, he is about to be fired. That, however, is going to be the least of his problems. As he and his wife Mary try to figure out how to tell their 12-year-old daughter Annah what happened, bigger problems arise. They wake up one day to find they seem to be the only survivors in their area and possibly the whole world. What happened? What, or rather who, caused this? In this first book of the trilogy, we accompany Dan and his family trying to figure that out.
Let me start by saying I really enjoyed Jeff Hays’ narration. Finally, someone who can read a book and keep me interested in the story without unnecessary flourishes to the voice. The only times I found the inflexion odd was when Hays would read a foreign name, like a Swiss street name, for instance.
His voices were impeccable, to the point where I often wondered if he was actually doing the female ones or whether it was all computer generated. They were all very clearly different from one another, even the ones in the third part, where there were many more characters. I could always tell who was talking which, to me, was a breath of fresh air.
There were a few glitches production-wise though, like words cut out or repeated.
Regarding the story, the premise was very interesting. The book is narrated by Dan, our main character, and in the end we find out just why.
There are no zombies here, or other overdone takes on post-apocalyptic literature. This is a regular man, who has a regular family, faced with the entire annihilation of the human race. He is from the USA but the action takes place in Switzerland and France, which was also very refreshing.
While at times I felt the protagonist handled the situation with too much ease, the fact that he kept thinking stuff like he is being driven by all the blockbusters depicting post-apocalyptic scenarios helped.
I did think a couple of things were a bit too rushed, like immediately after returning home from watching the car crash in the highway he assumed his neighbours would be dead. As far as I can tell, there wasn’t a solid basis for that, yet.
Using the internet, and more specifically facebook, as a message as a bottle as the character says, to try and reach out to people, especially the way it was done, was nothing short but a strike of genius.
For the most part, this is not a fast-paced book. It is a story which could feature any of us common folks, so it mostly deals with how you would handle such a situation. The main character and his family are proactive folks who do the best to ensure the survival of their family for a while, while trying to figure out if there are any other people out there. They basically become pack rats, and one other thing that distinguishes this book amongst its peers was that the technology did not immediately fail. They had internet access for months I think, and electricity never failed. Not sure how believable that is, although a lot in our world is automated, so it’s not completely implausible, I think.
I felt completely enthralled during some specific scenes, like the one with the dogs dominance conflict, or when nature is described as taking over the landscape. I especially treasured the normalcy of it all, as if it could happen to anyone.
Some descriptions were too thorough though, slowing down the pace, like when it came to guns – both at the armoury and then the training at home -, which did not even make much sense since we are told the main character does not know much about them.
And some passages were a bit repetitive.
I also have a problem with perfect characters. Dan and Mary’s relationship seemed flawless, which is especially odd since they are high school sweethearts and have been married for 22 years.
Mary is practically portrayed as the perfect woman and wife, and I did not much care for that. Other than that, there were a few things I wished would have been addressed differently:
I was not too happy at the turn events took at the end of Part 2. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel where there is one male and two females; anyone can see where this math leads. However, the way this was done did not impress me and actually confused me. Instead of everyone, or at least some of them, agreeing on it because they were mankind’s hope, it happened because of hormone-driven Laura, who we earlier found that absolutely loves sex, and would rather leave and be all alone than to break up the happy family by seducing Dan. Seriously? Way to put Mary in a crappy situation! I just thought there could have been a more decent and/or noble justification for it. Instead, I found Mary practically being forced to pimping out her husband very anti-climatic.
Also, I thought Dan succumbed to Laura’s seduction much too easily, especially after having exerted such self-control because he loves Mary so much. Even if Laura told him she knew, I would have liked him to directly ask her first. Well, men will be men, I suppose. But then I was even more confused because Laura threw a fit when she was with Dan yelling she was not a slut and had developed feelings for him. All that came out of the blue, I have no idea how either of them developed feelings for each other as it all seemed to boil down to lust, and I still don’t get why they preserved the polygamous dynamic after meeting new people.
When Laura got pregnant, I wondered why they were not looking for pregnancy books and how to deliver a child. After all, none of them were doctors.
And Annah. What did she think of her father basically getting a girlfriend? When she argues with Dan she tells him that he has mother and Laura and she has no one nor will ever have. And that was it. She was 12, wasn’t she supposed to be rebellious towards this new person taking her mother’s place? Confusing. So, in a nutshell, I felt that the change in the family dynamics, which was such an important part of the book, could have been better and more thoroughly approached.
In the third part, things took an abrupt change. A lot happened in a short amount of time and many characters were introduced at once. The information of what had happened was basically dumped. I did not find that very appealing but was ok with it for the most part. The biggest thing I wanted to have seen was a bit more connection to the events of previous years and more foreshadowing to the events later developed, other than the brief experience Dan had as a child.
For some reason, when I read the synopsis I thought the survivors had previously been marked. But their family did not receive such mark and yet they were spared. Which made me even more confused about how exactly the aliens managed to kill billions of people and yet keep those safe. It would have made more sense to me, even if just to simplify the genocide process, if everyone who survived was set aside by something the aliens did to them and everyone who did not have that ‘safeguard’ would succumb.
I wondered why Dan did not ask the Moirai why he was selected, what was so special about him amongst billions of lives. I wanted to hear more doubts about what was happening to them as a race, whether they really had any free will left. And I wanted to know more about the technology, particularly how they managed to move from Switzerland to Italy. Hopefully all that will be addressed in the second book.
Overall, I had a great time listening to Daimones. The author managed to take a theme which has been extremely explored and make it new because everyone can relate to bits and pieces of the world and characters. They may not be the most exciting ones but, hey, neither are most of the people I know, myself included.
Both the story and the narration were a great experience, and I thoroughly recommend it.
Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Audiobookreviewer.
Listened to from Jun 19 to Jun 23, 2015