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1414 by Peter Clines
Published: 2012
Narrated by: Ray Porter
Length: 12:38 (372 pages)

I hadn’t really heard anything about this novel before reading it. It kept popping up on my Audible Recommendations, and I was in the mood for some fun science fiction. The reviews were positive and I liked the cover (yes, I judge books by their covers), so I took a chance.

I’m glad I did! This was a lot of fun. It’s a difficult plot to describe without giving anything away, but essentially it’s about a man moving into a new apartment, one with unbelievable rent and included utilities, and he begins to notice a lot of strange things – mutant bugs, perpetually unrented units, abnormal layouts. He learns, after befriending a few neighbours, that his is not the only apartment to have bizarre problems. He then leads some of the building’s residents on an investigation.

This is a great mix of mystery, science fiction, humour, and horror that really kept me interested until the very end. He paces the story perfectly, answering questions without drawing them out too long and having that natural lead to new questions. The way they investigated seemed very natural to me. The characters were just as eager to find answers as I was, which I think is important in this kind of novel. It can be exasperating to have the characters skirt around the portion of the plot you’re interesting in.

There’s a good mix of characters in this, although a few were forgettable. They also seemed a little too convenient for the plot. Everyone’s specialized skill was put to use throughout the story. No matter the problem, someone in the group would luckily be able to cover it, and it all seemed a bit transparent. The novel definitely had some lazy cliché storytelling, to the point where the main characters, multiple times, remarked that what they were doing would be cliché if they were in a bad science fiction movie. You can maybe make that joke once, but if it’s happening multiple times in the novel you need to reconsider a few things.

I’m still not sure I like his writing. It got pretty cheesy a few times, and a lot of the plot elements begin to crumble if you think about them too much, but I found it really entertaining all the way through. I’ll most likely try another of his novels in the future.

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