It’s been awhile, but I’m back with some new Podiobook reviews for my fellow Bureaucrats. Today, I review one of the most popular on Podiobooks.com, the 7th Son trilogy by J.C. Hutchins.

If you’re unfamiliar with Podiobooks, I wrote up a short summary back when I reviewed Quarter Share

Note: I’m reviewing all three novels in the series as they are all one continuous story.

7th Son Trilogy

Collecting: 7th Son: Descent (Book 1), 7th Son: Deceit (Book 2), and 7th Son: Destruction (Book 3).

Premise

(From Podiobooks.com) Three weeks ago, the U.S. president was murdered by a four-year-old boy.

Today, seven men stare at each other in a locked conference room. Kidnapped and brought to this underground facility, the strangers are sitting in silence, thunderstruck. Despite minor physical differences, they all appear to be the same man, with the same name … and the same childhood memories.

Unwitting participants in a secret human cloning experiment, these seven “John Michael Smiths” have been gathered by their creators for one reason — to capture the mastermind behind the president’s assassination.

Their target? The man they were cloned from; the original John Michael Smith, code-named John Alpha.

Soon our heroes — John, Jack, Michael, Kilroy2.0 and the others — realize the president’s murder was merely a prologue to Alpha’s plans. As the mystery deepens and the implications of Alpha’s scheme are slowly revealed, the clones decide to stand against John Alpha. The outcome will unearth a conspiracy larger than they could have ever imagined.

High Points

  • That whole nature vs. nurture argument is brought out in all sorts of juicy detail.
  • Kilroy 2.0. That guy is just an awesome addition to a story.
  • Fantastically detailed action sequences.

Low Points

  • Code: Phantom Clearance (and other ultra-secret cadres within the US government) are such painful cliches. Add to that General Hill’s “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you” dialog on top of it, just grates on me.

The Scores

Originality is what these books have going for them in spades. The premise of not one, but several clones all working together to find and stop the original is absolutely fascinating. The only thing I’m going to ding Hutchins for is the military top secret cliches. 5/6

There is some great characterization for the clones, but not as much for the rest of the cast. 4/6

The story has a ton of twists and turns, with people getting killed off at moments you don’t expect and then when you think someone’s going to get it, they make it out alive by the skin of their teeth. 5/6

The imagery is great. There are some very drawn out action sequences that grab onto you and don’t let go. 5/6

Emotionally, I was drawn to a few of the characters, but some of the supporting cast seemed a little one dimensional. 4/6

Hutchins does a great job producing these podcasts. He has a great range of vocal styles and, let’s face it, Kilroy is just too damn cool. 5/6

Overall, it’s a great trilogy of books to get into as the weather warms up and (hopefully) you all have some free time to listen. 5/6

Total: The 7th Son Trilogy gets 33 out of 42

Note: J.C. Hutchins is still working on getting print versions of Book 2 and 3 out. No word on if the publisher is going to go forward with them. I have heard from the author that there is interest from Hollywood about making the books into movies, but again, that’s a wait and see thing.