Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Dead Zone Audio

Dead Zone Audio

Robinson Wells
For ages 13 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Ray Porter
HarperCollins Audio, 2014   ISBN: 978-1483028576

Several months ago terrorists began to attack military and civilian targets in the United States. The government figured out that the culprits were Lambdas, teenagers who, due to a viral infection, now had superhuman abilities. Federal and state officials then rounded up every teen under the age of twenty and put them into detention camps. All the teens were tested to find out which of them were infected with the virus and which of them had abilities that could make them a threat to national security.

   Aubrey and Jack are two of these teens, and they decided that they would rather serve their country than be locked up for who knows how long. Not long ago Aubrey, with her ability to disappear, and Jack, who is super sensitive to smells, sights, taste, and touch, helped to quash a terrorist attack. Now they are training with the military to defeat a much bigger enemy. The Russians have invaded Alaska and they are now in Washington State where they are forcing all the residents to leave.

   The Russians have been able to achieve this remarkable feat because they have a weapon that is able to shut down any device that runs on electricity. Ships at sea, planes in the air, vehicles on the ground all grind to a halt (or fall out of the sky) when the device is engaged, and the Americans are scrambling to find out what the weapon is and how to stop it.

   The powers that be have decided that Jack, Aubrey and some other teens with abilities are the ones who are going to find out what they can about the weapon. Aubrey will be able to spy on the Russians; Tabitha will be able to communicate with her telepathically; Jack will be able to hear what Aubrey is saying from far away; Rich will be able to learn what he can from the Russian vehicles; Krezi will provide firepower that will not be affected by the electronic interference; and Josi will be able to remember, word for word, anything that Rich tells her.

   The group is sent to Snowqualmie Pass in the Cascade Mountains where they pose as teenage refugees who are lost. Aubrey is supposed to distract some Russians long enough that Rich can get close enough to one of their vehicles so that he can touch it. Doing this will allow him to determine, with his Lambda ability, if the vehicle is producing the electronic interference. Jack and Tabitha will make it possible for Aubrey and their Green Beret handler to communicate, and Krezi will be their weapon. Everything goes well for a while until their Green Beret handler tells Aubrey to shoot one of the Russians to distract them. Aubrey cannot bear to do such an underhand thing. She is supposed to be a soldier, not an assassin. The operation goes sideways, and in the end twelve Russians are killed by the team, nine by Aubrey.

   During the operation, the electronic interference sweeps through the area and the team members see that the Russian vehicles shut down. They are not immune to the Russian weapon and they are not producing the effect either. Something else is going on. Jack begins to wonder if the weapon they are seeking is a Lambda, a Russian Lambda who is being carried through the air by another Lambda. Not many Lambdas have the ability to fly, but they do exist and it would appear that Russians have one of these rare individuals working for them.

   The American military leaders then decide that Jack, Aubrey and the rest of the team will be the ones to bring the flying Lambda and her passenger down. The whole plan seems crazy. How are a few teens supposed to get to these two Russians, who will surely be carefully guarded?

   This audiobook continues the story that became in Blackout, and we discover that the terrorist attacks that began this whole mess were not as random as we thought. It is interesting to see how Aubrey, Jack and the others struggle to make sense of the new world order, one where teenagers are used as soldiers. Some of the Lambdas feel that they should do their duty, while others, Tabitha in particular, think that they should abandon the cause and go home. Why should they serve a government that rounded up America’s teens and incarcerated them in detention camps? Where should their loyalties lie?