Run time 6 hrs and 55 mins
In Brian Parker’s Origins of the Outbreak, we are introduced to the moment the outbreak begins and how it spreads in a series of slice of life vignettes that tell a sprawling story, from one infection to thousands.
I’ll admit, I was a bit leery of the format, as I found the use of vignettes that were interjected into another story recently reviewed to be primarily disruptive and not a positive for the story. This time though, it mostly worked and the story had a unique and engaging feel that I enjoyed following along.
The story starts out in a small town which allows for most of the characters to be closely connected as the infection spreads. This keeps the narrative engaging and kept me tuned in, because even if the characters in a vignette died, they’d be back as zombies in another one soon enough.
We start with patient zero, a scientist at a university in a small town doing an experiment. We learn a little bit about him and what he is doing and then, bam, the outbreak begins!
What did I like about this story?
I liked how we got to watch the virus spread from first this person and then to that person and how those peoples stories interconnected, both pre and post-infection.
I liked the person to person spread so much, I was actually disappointed when the infection grew so large that we lost touch with some of the earlier characters, however, that’s just the way a pandemic goes. It gets out of control.
What didn’t I like about this story?
I could have used more of an overall background storyline for the characters that survive. The story keeps you interested throughout, but there could have been greater connection to the story overall with more main character development early in the story.
The narration was done by Veronica Fox who has a great voice for the job. The inflection with which she read kept each vignette both cohesive and unique.
Conclusion: (Aka: Would I listen to more by this author?)
The book ends with something of a twist that definitely leaves it open for more of this particular story and I’d be curious to see if Brian does continue the series where it goes from here. In general, it was well written with few issues and I could easily find myself enjoying some of his other works of fiction.
I give this 8 out of 10 stars.
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