Perilous Waif

Customer Reviews

1,284 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By bluestategirl on 26-10-2017

THIS was fun!

Alice Long is a 13 year old orphan living on a planet that is strictly against human augmentation. And since Alice has been showing signs of being special, the women running the orphanage want to crack open her skull to find out if she's really human or not.

If not, they'll remove whatever hardware they find, whether or not doing so will kill her.

Alice may be young, but she's not dumb, and with the help of her unique skill set, she decides it's time to make a run for it. Besides, they don't eat meat, and Alice is a predator.

She travels on foot to the nearest spaceport and tries to get hired on a ship bound for space, but she's too young and untrained for most jobs. Fortunately, she makes a friend and gets a job as a cabin girl on a mercenary ship. Bye bye vegetarian diet, hello space!

The whole book moves at a steadily increasing rate of intensity but never loses it's sense of wonder and humor. As Alice develops more and more enhancements, she becomes a more integrated part of the crew, often handlng crisis single handedly. There are times when it becomes obvious that something is about to happen where they'll come in handy, but in such a jolly, joyful way that it made the book more fun. (Brown gave this character all of my deepest secret fantasy abilities that I would want for my female Rambo avatar! Woot!)

Alice grows up quickly, too, when properly nourished, and by the end of the book she's around 16. Looks like she'll continue to grow up with each book in the series. She discovers boys, and kissing, but her unique origins make any relationships problematic.

The long action scene at the end was mind boggling it was so packed! The word that came to mind was kaleidoscopic because so much was happening all at once. It was written with all the subtly -- and information -- of a weapons magazine for mercenaries from the future -- a magazine that lists all the cool stuff you'd ever need or want for a fire fight in space! And it left me wondering how much of those descriptions are actually feasible -- provided you don't live in a human body, that is! Brown appears to have a pretty deep grasp of weaponry and science, but what do I know. I just enjoyed his writing immensely.

The side characters are real, fully fleshed out and just as interesting as Alice. Brown has created a world I'd love to live in, and I'm completely amazed at his talent and originality. Not since Stephen W. Bennett's Koban series has a author so completely won my admiration.

About 3/4th's of the way through the book, I went looking for Brown's website, Facebook page, Amazon page -- just to make sure that, (1) the author was working on a second book, (he is) and 2) to find out if this was book was really written by a guy! He's so good at writing strong women (that aren't bitchy), that I really couldn't tell.

Go Alice, go!

Narrator: Mare Trevathan does a great job, (though at times she struggles a bit with the male characters (at least one sounded much too old), and an inconsistent French accent. But she's definitely got the goods, and will only get better, so I hope she continues with the series. I will be watching for other books read by her beyond this series. She IS the perfect Alice.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: E. William Brown is an author to watch. He's freaking amazing, and this is a great book. If you like sci fi about genetic enhancements, human hardware mods, andro-morphs, and 12 level sentient AIs -- do not miss this one! (Mild sexual situations are discussed, but nothing is explicit, so probably fine for older teens.

Note: Lots of 'people' die, but this is not a gory book and the violence is generally directed at robots. No bad language that I recall.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 04-04-2017


This audiobook was quite a ride, thinking about it this story reminded me a lot of the movie Treasure Planet (not the plot though or aliens – more of the feel). Treasure Planet that is for mature audiences (there are no explicit sex scenes) which include an interesting take on AI and Genetic engineering, also has a neat implementation on interstellar travel, and the protagonist is just a bit overpowered (I think some would say Mary Sue-like qualities). (No aliens in the book as far as I could tell). This book is fun – action packed, and most of all an interesting perspective on humanities future.

Overall (4.5/5)

The performance was good, but I think the narrator got a bit excitable in places. I noticed this at the beginning, but there were a few instances in which the narrator speeds up when something exciting is happening – the speed is up all right, but it felt like some of the words were not being enunciated correctly or wholly. I usually listen to books at 2x speed but had to lower the speed to 1.7x to cope with the bursts of excitability. The voice of the narrator fits rather well with the story, and production was good. Note – I am not saying that emotion is bad – I am saying that enunciating each word at the same pace and speed of the last is important – having half the sentence end at double the speed of the first half is not good.

Performance (3.5/5)

The story is told from one perspective, Alex. This is quite an adventure story, from escaping a mind control regime, visiting strange new places, criminal organisation(s), treasure ships, chase scenes, blowing stuff up – sometimes with small nukes, and a few learning montages. People in this society are in some ways designed; there is a fascinating exploration of AI development and also Nanotechnology + some genetic engineering. The story explores these technologies – but I would not classify this as hard science fiction. Alex is different – but does that mean she is not human or is it just a next step? While this book has a lot of cool concepts going on and is very imaginative, the author gives a well-paced story, that is the story came first the cool ideas second.

Story (4.5/5)

Having read both the Kindle version and listened to the audiobook – I feel like both are mostly on par with each other.

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19 of 21 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By roadmedic on 19-04-2017


It is so rare to find a SF writer with an understanding of economics and political systems. I was floored when the author explains the scarcity that still exist in his advanced world that is the basis of its economy. Totally loved that!!! This adds a lot of realism to the story that I don't find in other books. The world built in this book is amazing and I look forward to more.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 05-04-2017

loved it

starts off as a girl wanting to get away from an oppressive society and ends with battlesuit combat. touches on mind hacking, biological engineering, ai, lower scale aircraft rights etc . very nice twist to the genre

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By matthew on 13-04-2017

an enjoyable peek at coming of age tomorrow

good work on drifting into a future without falling down all the traps of post humanity.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Frank on 06-04-2017

Love the book a new type of Space story

Both the story and and the narrator combine for an enjoyable listening experience.

I look forward to the next in the series.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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