I received this book via the author, David R. Bernstein. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Influence by David R. Bernstein
Narrator: Heather Masters
Series: Influence #1
Published by Torment Publishing on 2016-08-16
Length: 7hr and 13min
Reviewing Audiobook Rating:
Reading Challenges: 2020 Audiobook Challenge
If you could manipulate reality, would you?
Seventeen-year-old Kaylin has been on the run, hiding her untapped abilities for six years, but rescuing a mysterious guy risks exposing the depths of her power. The manipulative sector groups hunt her kind. Life has never been easy, but resisting is even harder. This harsh, new world will no longer allow her to remain hidden.
In a future where greed and corruption has torn American society apart; these relentless sector groups prey on powerful youths to mold the populace to expand their reach. Young people with the ability to shift the mindset of others are high-value targets. War is waging to expand and control this new world. Influencers, as they're called, hold the key to humanity's future.
Will fighting back cost Kaylin everything?
Influence by David R. Bernstein is the first book in his YA dystopian series of the same name. I have wanted to read this book for a long time. It’s one of those that is constantly recommended to me so I went in with high expectations. However they were not met. This is more of a reflection of me as the reader than the book. I’ve read too many dystopians, and unfortunately they are all starting to run together.
Influence follows Kaylin, a young teen nomad who stays away from big factions/colonies in an effort to hide her Influencer ability. Not much is revealed about these abilities. Why do some have them and others don’t? What happened to the country that we know live isolated and in factions? What is the threat and why do the characters live in fear and revolt? I’m hoping these answers are revealed as the series progresses. As it is right now, we have a bunch of teens with supernatural abilities, ranging from influencing a person’s actions to telepathy, leading a revolution against the largest faction.
I like Kaylin. She’s a typical teen, despite her influencer ability. This ability makes her a target for all the factions. She is hunted, and as a result never stays in one place to long. When her and her best friend encounter a bounty hunter of sorts on the road, her friend is trapped in the faction walls and the hunter helps Kaylin escape. He knows that this is the girl they’ve all been looking for and exactly what their rebellion needs. Farren is one of those characters that I wanted to like. He’s there for us to (he’s the love interest!), but he fell flat for me. As a result, the relationship the author portrays between Farren and Kaylin feels forced and unnatural.
Overall, Influence was an okay read for me. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I was somewhere in the middle which made writing this review hard! I plan to read more of the series. I love dystopians, and I’m hopeful that the world-building will be present in the books to come as this one focused more on the character development of Kaylin. While not what I expected, this YA dystopian still held enough interest for me to keep reading.
Now I listened to the audiobook version of this story. The narrator is fantastic. Her infections and tone kept my attention making Influence a quick listen. In fact, I’ll be looking for more audios narrated by her.