Sunday, September 15, 2013

Audio Review: Gated


GatedAuthor: Amy Christine Parker
Narrator: Alicyn Packard
Release date: August 6th 2013
Publisher: Listening Library
Lenght: 10 hrs and 19 min, Unabridged
Buy: Audible

In the Community, life seems perfect. Lyla Hamilton believes she is one of the chosen. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited her family to join the Community and escape the evil in the world. They've thrived under his strict, charismatic leadership. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:
Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.
Pioneer has visions of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must prepare to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the Silo, the underground shelter where the Community will wait out the apocalypse.
Lyla loves her family and friends, but a chance encounter with an unchosen boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community--everything. She needs time to figure out the truth. But with Pioneer's deadline for the end of days fast approaching, time is the one thing she doesn't have.

Even though, at first glance, Gated looks very much like dystopian lit, it’s actually an too-likely-for-comfort contemporary read. It happens in present day United States, and the regular society functions normally. It’s only the small group Lila lives in, a cult if you will, that lives under a very different set of rules.

Mandradage Meadows (I think that’s how it’s spelled, I’m not sure because of the audio) is a gated community, lead by the charismatic Pioneer. There lives a group of people that knows the truth about the upcoming Armageddon and wants to prepare for it. They have a silos underground and they spend their time learning how to fight, to prevent others from entering their safe haven.

Pioneer leads the community with an iron fist. He’s the one who dreamed of the end, and he’s the one in contact with the Brethren, aliens who have chosen only the people in Mandradage Meadows to survive. Everyone lives by his rules and they gladly obey because they know the alternative is dying with the rest of the world, but when someone doesn’t, for whatever reson, they face a punishment so fierce, they’re never tempted to disobey again.

Parker took her sweet time creating the Pioneer, and it shows. He is perhaps one of the most fascinating characters I’ve come across in a very long time, and I’m not saying that lightly. The intricacies of one such personality, the hundred faces of lies and deceit, are so very hard to get right, and yet Parker’s Pioneer constantly gave me the chills. To me and Lila both, he seemed a bit delusional, but kind enough at the beginning, but as the story progressed, his true colors showed more and more, until we were both terrified of what he might do next.

For her part, Alicyn Packard narrates the story skillfully and beautifully, so much so that I’d definitely recommend you pick this one up on audio. It’s a pretty long one, over 10 hours, but she takes you through it effortlessly, and before you even realize you’re utterly creeped out.

Less patient readers might find Gated pretty slow. There is no action to speak of, and the focus always remains on the psychological profiles of these characters: Pioneer and those who blindly follow him. The last part does pick up considerably, and the reader is faced with several surprises that are pretty hard to predict, but I’ve talked to several readers who gave up on Lila’s story much before that.

If you do decide to pick it up, keep in mind that it’s a quiet story, more a psychological thriller than anything else, and try to adjust your expectations accordingly. If you’re looking for high octane action, you most certainly won’t find it here, but I enjoyed the slow build-up and the development of these characters.


23 comments:

  1. Huh, never pin pointed this one for a contemporary read, I was thinking more mystery-horror or dystopia like you mentioned. I'm still unsure that I'll ever end up picking this one up due to the slow start but that cover is seriously creepy O.O

    Great review, hon! <33

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  2. Huh, I haven't heard of this one, but I'm intrigued by the psychological thriller aspect of it. I'm still not entirely sure if I'll pick it up since I tend to stay away from books that can give me nightmares, but this one sounds too original and different to pass up. Lovely review, Maja - I'll have to hunt this one down on audio.

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  3. The Pioneer sounds fantastic - definitely the sort of character that I'd love to read about. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting from this book, but it's good to know beforehand that it's not an action-packed dystopian. I'm only really patient when I know that I have to be. ;) Lovely review, Maja!

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  4. If the characterization is brilliant, I'm all for a quiet story Maja! And Pioneer sounds absolutely terrifying and fascinating and I want to meet him asap. I adore characters that give me chills and constantly make me wonder what I'll learn about them next, I definitely want to give this one a try. Glad to know about the slowness upfront though, I should be good to go now that I'm prepared for it. Gorgeous review my friend, I've missed reading them these past two weeks!

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  5. I am glad I read this because I thought the same thing you did, I thought this was a dystopian and had no idea it was more of a thriller. Thanks for the honest review!

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  6. I've read the book and thought it was pretty good. Not the best, most riveting novel I've ever read (I found an adult story called "Amity & Sorrow" by Peggy Riley much more emotionally affecting and thrilling), but definitely interesting. I did not mind the slow pace, but maybe I didn't feel it that much while reading the book myself. I'm very curious about the audio, though. Thanks for a great review! :)

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  7. This book is definitely deceiving then. The theme reminds me of that movie, The Village by M. Night Sha....malan (?!). The dooms day prediction is definitely of interest to me.

    Great review, Maja.

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  8. I have been enjoying psychological thrillers a lot more lately. This one sounds really fascinating. You're right, the cover looks dystopian, but I do remember hearing what it was about. A slow pace might be hard for me, but I think this is one I'll have to give a try.

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  9. Thanks for the heads-up that this one isn't exactly a dystopian, that's exactly what I thought it would be. If I do pick this up, it will definitely be in audio because that aspect sounds awesome. Pioneer sounds like a very interesting character.

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  10. I read this one so long ago, but I remember not liking it as much as you did. Particularly because of the romance (which you didn't mention), but I do agree that Pioneer was a really complex character, and interesting to read about. The plot-pacing in the end was super good. I'm glad you enjoyed this one more than I did, Maja! Lovely review :)

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  11. For some reason the cover put me off when I first saw it and I didn't even care to find out what it was about. Shame on me. It sounds interesting, but I may have to read it when I'm feeling more patient.

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  12. I hadn't heard of this one! I actually really like psychological thrillers, so I think this one would be fascinating to read.

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  13. I enjoyed this pretty well too, but yes a tad slow

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  14. Oh what? I totally had this one pegged as a dystopian thriller! Well. Actually, your description of the plot as it actually is intrigues me much more - much more original. Dystopians are boring me so much right now anyways. I think had I gone into this expecting an action thriller, I would have been severely disappointed with the slow pacing, but finding out it's more of a psychological thriller is good to know. Now I will be prepared - thanks for this review, Maja!

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  15. Hmm! I never would have guessed this would be a contemporary at heart. I was definitely expecting a dystopian-type. Sounds interesting enough though, will have to keep my eye out for it one of these days. :) Lovely review!

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  16. Oh, I didn't knew it was a contemporary, that actually makes me want to give this book a try. The cult storyline does make me hesitate a little but I'm loving the mystery surrounding Pioneer. And you mentioned psychological thriller, so naturally I can't pass it up. Great review, Maja!

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  17. And here I could swear that this is dystopian. It's really unusual cover for contemporary story. Anyhow I must admit that I like the idea of this and from time to time I like when books aren't full of action. Great review Maja :)

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  18. Oh I had no idea that this one was actually a contemporary! I read one about cults last year, The Right and the Real by Joelle Anthony, and really liked it. I think I need to read this one ASAP. Love how detailed Pioneer sounds.

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  19. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this, Maja. I thought it was a dystopian too, but I ended up liking that it surprised me. I was fascinated by Pioneer as well. He was so complex. He was definitely interesting.
    I did wish for more development in the other characters though.
    Great review, Maja! Oh and since you liked this one, I suggest Escape from Eden, another cult book that I enjoyed.

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  20. I just started this one! Thanks for the heads up on a slow moving plot and the tip about the psychological thriller aspect of the book. I actually picked it up for the latter aspect.

    p.s. I can't wait to read what you think of "Into the Still Blue". My heart aches for Roar. :(

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  21. Oh sometimes I do enjoy a psychological read... especially a psychological thriller. It's good to know a head of time otherwise it could be disappointing when you were expecting something else. Oh I think I will add this one to the ever growing wishlist.

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  22. Interesting, I would have thought this one was a dystopian from the synopsis. Pioneer sounds like a fascinating character and I'd be curious to see what kind of people follow him.

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  23. I have this for review, and enjoy psychological thrillers. Hopefully now that I know what to expect I will enjoy it.

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