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Sovereign

Written by: Jeff Hirsch
Narrated by: Jesse Einstein
Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 7.46
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Publisher's Summary

Equal parts Hatchet and The Martian, Sovereign is a fast-paced and visceral story of family and survival.

Micah Cole has been in deep space for three years while his parents chase their obsession with finding intelligence to the far corners of the universe, but Micah dreams of the friends he left behind and counts the days until they return home.

When a devastating meteor shower nearly destroys their ship, Micah is separated from his family and stranded on Sovereign, a vast planet of raging rivers, towering forests, and deadly creatures. If Micah ever wants to see his family or his home again, he’ll have to learn to how to survive on a hostile alien world, all alone. Armed with only his wits and determination, Micah will battle the elements, his own deepest fears, and a frightening presence that might just hold the key to his parents’ obsession and be his ticket back home.

Jeff Hirsch is the USA Today best-selling author of four young adult novels including The Eleventh Plague, Black Water Falls, and the most recent, Unnatural Disasters. This is his middle grade debut. 

©2019 Jeff Hirsch (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 2019-02-01

Exploring strange new worlds

Micah travels with his parent's, planet to planet, exploring strange new worlds. Their exploration is paid for by a mining company looking for places to mine for resources. while arriving at a new planet, Sovereign, with its two moons, nicknamed Itchy and Scratchy, a meteor show causes Micah to be separated form his parents and be stranded on the planet. His parents will be back, once repairs are done, he just has to survive until they get there.

The story follows Micah on the planet - seeing strange flora, fauna and landscape - intersperse with background on his life from Earth - friends and family and how he came to be in space. It shows him reflecting on his life on earth and how he has been disappointed with space and wants to return to his old life.

While there is some tension built into the story by its premise - a strange world, with no clear way of knowing if Micah will survive or how he will get off - there isn't really much tension in the way it is told. There is no feeling of an overwhelming threat, no deadline (have to get somewhere by x time, or have to find food because only have x days of food left) that carries the tension. I never felt overly concerned about his survival, even when he is hungry, injured or stuck. Things happen, and they are interesting enough, but they didn't ever make me worry about Micah in any way. And without that tension the story somewhat plods along.

It does eventually start to build, but it took a lot longer than it should have. There is an interesting mystery along the way too. And the climax is actually really interesting and good. It just didn't feel engaging along the way.

I actually think almost all of the lack of tension comes from Einstein's narration. He doesn't vary during tense moments. He doesn't carry that tension or worry in his narration. The story is good, the climax is good, but he's just not engaged. He doesn't carry tension or excitement or mystery.

Jesse Einstein's narration is okay. He does simple voice changes for characters (when Micah is remembering conversations with them) but it's not creating characters with his voice. It is enough to differentiate speakers and what is going on, but little else.

It is a straight forward reading - almost no sound effects or music or anything over the top of the narration.

[If you enjoy this review please check out my other reviews. I review a lot of small press and indie books - support the small guys and you may find something new you will love]

167 of 177 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • TrustedReviewer
  • 2019-02-21

NOT like the Martian

The blurbs for this book compare it to the Martian, but that's misleading. This is mostly a teen coming of age story set in a Martian like setting without the "real-science" stuff that made the Martian a great read. So expect a lot of teen pining (and whining) that's not relatable if you are outside that age group.

The Universe the book is set in is interesting where ordinary people can explore the galaxy as contractors for a mining company, but it's not explored in any detail.

The voice acting is passable though the teen tone again makes it a little annoying. However that might just be me.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Michael D.
  • 2019-02-14

Good Story - hours over detail

This has a good story embedded in it, but the author took chapters to describe a rock or a tree and did it over and over again.
There were also 20 or 30 "flashbacks" that really distracted from the main storyline. Could not finish the book.

44 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 2019-02-18

bland. boring. forgetful

I didn't finish this book because of the weak storytelling and storyteller. I'd find myself zoning out. the book could not keep me hooked.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lora joy
  • 2019-02-04

Good book for older teens and adults!

This book is the story of a young teenager who is the son of space explorers, whose parents goal is to find life on other planets. It is a well written story that will keep you captivated throughout the whole book. I do recommend this for older teens, as the story line switches periodically to past events without warning. You really have to stay alert to know what period of time they are in at that moment. I did recommend it for teens, but it is good for older adults to keep them on there toes! I just turned 60, and loved it!

46 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • ks100
  • 2019-02-17

Poor narration and a poor plot/characterization

A 7th grader standard on an unknown planet whose last view of his parents ship was in a state of emergency could have been a good plot. (See R Heinlein juveniles.). Unfortunately this author and the narrator both missed the mark. I kept hoping it would improve but finally quit half way through and did not finish

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • chris
  • 2019-02-19

the narrator killed this story for me.

I really struggled to finish this as the story jumped around so much making it hard to follow. the ending saved it though.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-02-21

A tough read

Too many flashbacks, it felt like there were two books at once and the way they were inserted broke the pace constantly.
The writing is very nice and detailed but adds nothing to the story most of the time making me wish the writer would just get on with the story.
The writing is Really on the nose and I felt like I was being spoon fed every idea by the writer because he was worried I would miss the point or the feeling of the scene.
There are some good parts but most of the book is not immersive and I found myself thinking about reading or doing something else.
I would not recommend this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jeffrey B Van Meter
  • Chicago
  • 2019-02-02

Enjoyed this overall

I tried to listen to this book channeling my inner middle Schooler and I think overall it’s good for that age group. The story keeps moving along and kept me interested in what would happen next. I don’t like to criticize, but I will say the narrator mispronouncing dwarf really got to me. The w is not silent. He kept saying dorf. All in all, I would say it is worth a listen.

33 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Drake Reeder
  • 2019-02-07

I had high hopes...

When I saw hatchet listed as one of the inspirations for this book, I was overjoyed to listen to it. Loving both survival and sci-fi, I figured it would be a match made in heaven. I was wrong. The story was cheesy and predictable, I guessed the ending after hearing the first chapter. You could tell the narrator was trying too hard because it lead to a distracting performance which took away from the story. Thank goodness it was free.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful