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Publisher's Summary

In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery, and everything changes. Suddenly, there's reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant. Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine - and what he will become is far more dangerous.

©2015 Jeff Chaney (P)2015 Jeff Chaney

What listeners say about The Amber Project

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I was pleasantly surprised about this book

In the year 2157 a gas exterminates almost every living being on Earth, and the few humans who survived seek refuge in the underground, building a city and a political system aimed to the species survival and the genetic engineering  of new human beings, with the right modifications, to be able to survive on the surface and give a future to mankind.

Terry is one of these children, which enter the academy at age seven to not only receive an education, but also to get checked and see which ones of them could make it in the presence of the lethal gas.

The book is divided in two parts. The first part focus on the children's evolution at the academy and ends with an incident which triggers the second part, when they have to go to the surface and see if they could survive there.

The story is very well paced. I understand that some people did not enjoy the audio logs, but for me it was a great addition to the story, giving us some background and depth. The first part, when the children are still at Terry tries new techniques, I could not help but think about Ender and how he also innovated at the battle school, giving him the victory in many cases.

I spend much time thinking about the origin of the gas and the Jolt, the event which triggered the gas. You cannot just throw a mystery like that at me and be sure that I will not care about it. Where did that gas come from? What was it? I was worried that the author was going to leave us in the darkness, but Terry and his friends will discover what triggered it but not where it came from and what exactly is. The book ends with a cliffhanger that will makes us need to read the next book and maybe know where it came from, so I hope J.N. Chaney will have it ready soon.

Alexander Edward Trefethen's voice helps to bring the story to life, with very clear diction and an energetic narration,  changing his voice tone depending on the character. The audio production was very good too and listening to this book was a delight, being able to listen to it at a higher speed without losing intelligibility.

I was pleasantly surprised about this book, taking into account that it is his first published work. If you like dystopian books, this one is for you, it will not disappoint.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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14 people found this helpful

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Inventive and exciting

An inventive post-apocalyptic world where humans are confined to living underground because the air on the Earths surface contains a toxic element called Variant. Variant either kills you or metamorphoses you into a violent bloodthirsty monster. Society has arranged it's self into 3 political elements, the Mothers (females who's job it is to procreate), the Scientists and the Military. In order for humanity to continue to survive they have to find a means to be able to live on the Earths surface once again. The three factions spend years experimenting to try to produce offspring that would be able to breath Variant and survive unscathed. They manage to produce a group of children they hope will be their future, but it is here that the three factions aims start to diverge and the story truly begins. The duel storylines in this book are expertly interwoven. One telling a thrilling story of survival, friendship, betrayal and loss, while the other shows us the political and social maneuverings occurring between the different factions. It is a well written and complex story with appealing characters and an original plot. The narrator manages to do a great job with the multiple characters in this audiobook. He makes it easy to follow the flipping back and forth in time and place, leaving you in no doubt what is info from the past and what is the up to date happenings. It is an enjoyable book that captures your imagination and leaves you wondering what will happen in the next in the series. I received this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review.

10 people found this helpful

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The Amber Project

Any additional comments?

This audiobook has my attention from beginning to end. The author did a great job depicting a small population of people living in an underground bunker after the world collapsed.

5 people found this helpful

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Good First Novel for Chaney

As a post-apocalypse/dystopia fan, I enjoyed this author's first novel. The origin of the event that drove our characters underground isn't explained until the last third of the book, but the information was revealed in an organic fashion. Thankfully, a logical end point is provided with this story, but seeds were planted that piqued my curiosity about the next installment. However, I would like to see (or hear, in the case of an audiobook) the characters mature in their speech, reasoning, and inner dialogue. There's room for improvement where reading level difficulty is concerned, but overall it was a very enjoyable "listen".

The narrator speaks clearly, and offers distinct variations in voice for the different characters.

4 people found this helpful

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That End Though

Never been much of a dystopian fan, but i loved this one. Excellent story telling and adjectives. The narrator is much better when played at 1.1x speed. The ending! No spoilers, but there better be a sequel.

4 people found this helpful

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Human mutants may save the species!

This dystopian young adult novel is set in 2157 somewhere near the Atlantic coast. Terry and his classmates are growing up in an underground city. The surface of the planet became contaminated years ago by a mysterious and deadly gas named Variant. The city is slowly falling apart; the surface must be reclaimed! As such, a clever scientist has come up with a way to create Variant-tolerant humans. Terry and his classmates are the first generation of these new humans.

Take Ender’s Game and mash it up with The Handmaid’s Tale and you get something good, disturbing, and thought-provoking. This underground society was founded by survivors of a world calamity. As such, they put in place some hard and fast rules in order to keep humanity alive. The military and the Matron have the most power. Human reproduction is closely managed. The Matron is the head of the organization that provides reproducing women (the mothers) status and perks in housing and food. All reproductive assignations must be approved by the Matron. Meanwhile, the military has made attempts over the years to reclaim the surface. The new Variant humans are their latest attempt.

The story opens with Terry Eckles on his seventh birthday. His mom, Mara, drops him off at the Academy. There he learns that he won’t be allowed to go home for 10 years, after he graduates the Academy. John, who will become his best friend, is his roommate. May is the brains of the little group. Alex has anger management issues. The story moves ahead in chunks of time, so we get to see the kids grow up in the Academy. While this was interesting, I didn’t become very attached to the kids until they become teens and they start doing interesting things.

I really got hooked on the story when we start seeing how the city reproduction is controlled. Mara Eckles became a mother at 15 and has produced several promising children for the city. All her daughters have proven to be fertile reproducers as well. The Matron, Eva Long, is a formidable woman. She has to walk a difficult line between the survival of humanity and protecting the mothers from certain aspects of the military branch of power.

Then we have colonel James Bishop. He’s been a stalwart pillar of the Academy for decades, leading the training of the city’s military. Now he’s taken a personal interest in the new Variant humans. The author could have easily made Bishop an outright villain. However, I found myself sympathizing with him sometimes. After all, humanity might well be facing extinction if they don’t do something drastic. I really enjoyed that he was a complicated character and that I couldn’t outright despise him.

Dr. Henry Newbur is the main scientist and head teacher at the Academy. I pictured him as a man who is more comfortable around test tubes and dusty books. He’s also missing an arm, making him a source of mild gossip among the students. Dr. Archer is a complete 180 from Dr. Newbur. He’s very much into the science unlocked by the latest Variant discovery. To him, Terry and his classmates are specimens.

Taken all together, the book has a solid set up and then the action starts once the teens are sent to the surface. I don’t want to spoil things too much, as the teens don’t head to the surface until the second half of the book, but I really had fun with them exploring the now defunct buildings. There’s also things up there on the surface that the underground city folk are barely aware of, things that can rip the face off a grown, armed man. It’s a great start for a dystopian series.

The Narration: Alexander Edward Trefethen did a good job with this book. His voice is pretty masculine, so I was a little worried that he wouldn’t be able to pull off the female voices, but he did, though in a few instances the ladies would sound alike. I really liked his voice for Alex, who is always disgruntled about something. His old lady (and sometimes tipsy) voice for Matron Eva Long was also really good.

3 people found this helpful

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The Amber Project

What did you love best about The Amber Project?

I really had a great time listening to this audiobook. The plot was interesting and well executed, and the writing i was just really great. The narration was also very good

3 people found this helpful

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One of my favorite dystopian stories!

I was absolutely blown away by this story. Is this really his first published book?!--Such mature writing and great character development.

Civilization is forced underground due to the earth being taken over by toxic gas, but not just any gas, a new type of gas that that is beautiful and deadly. Science butts heads with maternal instincts, and a boy must take the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Not a slow or dull moment anywhere to be found in this! It's a wild ride that will leave you anxious to read the next installment!

3 people found this helpful

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Painful to listen to if you are older than 10 y/o.

I gave this book a solid try on multiple occasions. I’m not really a fan of the reader but it was the writing that finally made me rage quit my sound system around chapter 7. I just couldn’t take it anymore. The book seems to have been written for an audience of no older than 8 - 10 y/olds. I kept forcing my self through as far as I did because I thought the story had potential. But weak character development and what seemed to be the authors attempt to relate middle school as being the “hard” part of life (in a world where the human race is becoming extinct), was the main inhibitor of me taking this book seriously.
Example:
This book’s writing style-
And then the instructor walked in and slammed the door, forcefully.

A talented writer (not me)-
Instructor Smith came into the classroom with what appeared to be a determination to rattle the entire building off its foundation. This was apparent by the way the door slammed behind him while his eyes burned into each student in the front row.

But this just my opinion. I just saw this book as an advertisement and everyone was raving about so I bought it. Everyone that said great things seemed to be adults my own age but this book seems more like a pre teen novel.

2 people found this helpful

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Author did not research.

They can analyze DNA but are unable to do artificial insemination. Scifi fans swipe on, nothing to see here!

1 person found this helpful

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  • .lesley.
  • 01-28-18

captivating

An amazing story. I really en joyed it. It is hard to believe that this is Chaneys first book. I would love to read a sequel.

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