The audiobook omnibus of The Dwellers series was a great way to experience the dystopian series by David Estes. Narrated by Julia Whelan and Will Damron and over 29 hours of content, you get a powerhouse performance for one audible credit. I enjoyed the story and the world that Estes creates, but at times found the bad guy in the story a little cartoonish and over the top. The story and plotting of the novels have a very political tone, it’s a plot to overthrow a dictator and free groups of oppressed people. Yet, the main evil guy, the dictator’s motivations were very childish. If a complexity to his behavior would have been added to the plot this story would be amazing.
Estes’ Dweller series was worth checking out, especially if you like dystopian fiction with a Young Adult maturity. The Omnibus is the first three books of the Dweller series. There are four books to this series though. Estes confuses this reader with adding the fourth book – with a recommendation that you read Dwellers and his other series, Country Series – to get this final culmination of both.
The final Dweller book ends in a quasi-cliffhanger, so be prepared to not get complete satisfaction when this Omnibus ends.
The Dwellers Omnibus is made up of The Moon Dwellers, The Star Dwellers, and The Sun Dwellers. The series is about surviving humans living underground after the world was devastated by an apocalyptic event. The humans living underground make up a government called the Tri-Realms. On the top of the Tri-Realms are the rich and entitled group living in the Sun realms, in the middle realm is the Moon Realm and at the very bottom is the Star realm. The Sun Dwellers take and take from the realms below them – and give very little in return.
In the Moon Realm lives a girl, jailed because of her parent’s traitorous ways. Adele, even though behind bars, never gives up. She knows she has to break out and save her little sister and parents. With the help of new friends Tawni and Cole, she breaks out and fights her way through what seems like insurmountable odds to rescue her family. What aids her in this unbelievable mission is the ability to fight, like no other person ever, because of being trained to be ridiculously kick-ass by her father. In fact, throughout the whole story, Adele can take down a ton of people in crazy fight scenes, get the crap beat out of her and get up still swinging. I mean these characters take a beating…is it believable? Well, it was fun to read.
Added to the twisty plot is the son of the president, heir to the thrown and political celeb, Tristan. Tristan is unhappy with the way his world is shaped, he doesn’t believe his father’s ways are good and doesn’t want to rule a world where the lower classes are taken advantage of. Prodded by an inexplicable connection between him and Adele – with just a glance. It puts love at first site to shame, because their glance literally causes them pain – but somehow draws them together. SPOILER — you find out later in the books that maybe this isn’t so random, but I didn’t understand this, because why would it cause pain if the point was to draw them together? If someone causes me pain by just looking at them, I would run.
Finally, throw a war into the mix, between all three realms and you have a YA dystopian novel. Again, I did enjoy these books, but I feel because it was an audiobook, I kept going. If I were to read this, I might not have made it past book one. The plot was a little juvenile and the dialogue was rudimentary at times. Characters used modern language and made pop culture references at times, when not understanding other things. They were supposed to be cut off from their past…but had an understanding of the past that would make a history teacher preen. Most high school students would not be able to go into details about what happened in pop culture 500 years prior. But, again if you suspend that type of direction, it entertains. Which is what was intended.
I liked the characters. I didn’t quite get into the romance, but I thought they were cute. I liked the secondary characters and Estes doesn’t hold back when it came to emotional turmoil. It is very reminiscent of The Hunger Games.
Overall, I’m giving this a middle of the road review. You can take it or leave it. If you are a picky reader, I wouldn’t do it. If you can push aside that A + B does not always have to equal C, read it.
Narration by Julia Whelan and Will Damron was great. I like team narrations, Julia is my favorite and Will’s narration wasn’t quite up to what Julia can do, but it was still highly enjoyable. I recommend going audio with this one.