Name: 7th Son–Descent(The Beta Version)
AuthorRead by: J.C. Hutchins
Episodes: 24 regular and 2 bonus episodes
Format: Podcast Novel
Running Time: Approximately 12 Hours
AuthorNovel Website: http://jchutchins.net/
Podcast Feed: http://www.podiobooks.com/title/53/feed
Print Status: Published by “St. Martin’s Griffin”
Theme Song: “Descent” by Celldweller
One sentence synopsis: 7 clones are recruited to try and catch the man they were cloned from.
You might notice the “Beta Version” in the name of this Podcast novel. That is because this version is not the original version that J.C. Hutchins released. When he was picked up for print publishing he was asked to make some content changes and decided to record a new version to more closely match the print edition. As such portions of this review may not apply to all versions of this novel.
The novel opens with one of the most interesting premises I have heard in a while. A four year old child kills the President of the United States and screams obscenities as they drag him away. From this strong premise however the story does falter for the first few chapters. There are 7 main characters that need to be introduced so we go through a montage of these characters being captured and brought to the 7th Son facility. Just as we start to care about each character we are moved on to the next. Their introductions were necessary, but did feel like it dragged on a bit to me. Also this is early in his recording so he had not yet developed the energy that is found in later chapters. Portions of these first chapters do come off a bit flat. The author has admitted himself that he is not happy with his performance in the beginning. Of course that is typical for anyone creative and I will likely look back on my own reviews after the first 10 or so are out and feel the same way.
If you listen past the first couple chapters you are quickly rewarded for your persistence with very well developed characters that each have their own voice(literally and metaphorically). J.C. does an excellent job of having each voice sound distinct and there is never an issue telling his characters apart. As he became more comfortable with recording; his excitement for his story started to show through in the finished product. The flat readings go away and the voices get much more distinct.
For my overall opinion 7th Son is one of the best Podcast Novels I have listened to. It is very engaging and by the end of the first novel you do care about the characters. The emotional turmoil of discovering that you are a clone is not glossed over, but it also does not feel like you are being beaten over the head with it either. The contrast between characters that have the same childhood helps to drive this story forward. It allows the characters to jell together while creating a curiosity in the listener about how they had become so different.