Audiobook Review: Station Breaker by Andrew Mayne
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
Series: Book 1 of Station Breaker/Space Ops
Publisher: Tantor Audio (June 14, 2017)
Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
Narrator: Kyle McCarley
Recently, my family went on a road trip and my husband and I needed a good audiobook to listen to for the 8-hour drive. This was no small challenge. First, it would have to suit both our tastes, and my husband can be really picky. Second, anyone who’s ever driven long distances knows how monotonous it can be. Doesn’t matter how much coffee you load up on, those long stretches of highway offering little to no variety when it comes to scenery can really sap your energy, especially when you’re driving at night or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. When searching for the perfect road trip book, I knew I needed to look for something exciting, something guaranteed to suck you in and make the time pass much quicker.
And so, I give you Station Breaker by Andrew Mayne. I’m already a big fan of the author from his Naturalist series, and not long ago, I discovered that before those books, he had also written a near-future sci-fi duology described as a space disaster meets manhunt thriller. Having seen what Mayne is capable of, I had a really good feeling about this one.
As the story opens, we are introduced to astronaut David Dixon who is feeling excited but also a little nervous about his first mission. His employer, a private American aerospace and transport company, had called him in last minute to replace another astronaut who had to bow out because of an injury. His whole life, David has always dreamed about going to space. After waiting in the wings for so long, he’d started to think this day would never come. So understandably, he is a little hesitant to say anything to jeopardize his chances when he notices the mission commander slip a gun into their spacesuit.
Being the rookie though, David decides to trust his superiors. Unfortunately, that decision ultimately winds up with shots fired on a Russian space station, and multiple deaths. David is forced to make an emergency landing from orbit by himself, plunging into the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. The whole world now thinks he is a terrorist, but David has something that would prove his innocence and expose the real culprits behind an international conspiracy. But first, he’ll have to make it back to the United States. The problem is, with enemies hidden in the upper echelons of the government, David doesn’t know who he can trust. He can only rely on his own wits and knowledge to get himself home, all the while dodging the shadowy forces who will do anything to get their hands on the evidence he has in his possession.
By now, I’ve come to expect certain things from Andrew Mayne, like his addictive writing style, his hilariously snarky sense of humor, and his ability to pull me in with fascinating science. And of course, who can forget his over-the-top plot twists? This book was completely insane. We’re talking levels of insanity where characters jump out of space capsules during reentry, partake in car chase shoot-outs in a football stadium while driving an ambulance, or commit grand theft airplane by attempting to make off with a passenger jetliner. And here I thought The Naturalist was farfetched at times, but that book has nothing on Station Breaker.
Thing is though, I didn’t mind at all. This book was funny and packed to the gills with action, and the story’s over-the-top nature gave it a summer blockbuster feel, which is intended as a high compliment. When you’re stuck on the interstate with nothing to look at but miles of fallow farmland or industrial parks as far as the eye can see, these breathtaking adrenaline-pumping scenes get you revved up far better than a regular old shot of caffeine. Time and distance flew right on by as we listened to this audiobook, and there were quite a few laughs along the way too. David Dixon is a likeable character, and the fact that he is not your typical action hero makes it even easier to root for him. His narrative voice is full of humor and good flow, and his unconventional path to becoming an astronaut also means he often has a different perspective on problems and creative ways of solving them.
Bottom line, Station Breaker was a great choice for our purposes. I was completely engrossed in the story. Sure, the plot can get a little far-fetched and extreme at times, but if there’s one thing you can’t accuse this book of, it’s being boring. My one major criticism is that it ends on a very blatant and very annoying “to be continued”, so my suggestion would be to have the next book ready. All in all, I highly recommend this one for anyone looking for a high-octane and non-stop action thrill ride. I’ve already picked up and devoured the sequel.