The Pain Colony

Written by Shanon Hunt ⎮ Narrated by Erin deWard & Noah Michael Levine

Author: Shanon Hunt
Narrator: Erin deWard & Noah Michael Levine
Length: 14 hours 7 minutes
Publisher: Narrow Ledge Publishing
Released: Oct. 21, 2019
Genre: Horror

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Elena's Review

4 Stars

This audiobook was provided by its author, Shanon Hunt, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Shanon!

The Pain Colony is an amazing mixture of genres: Not only a technothriller but also a dystopian novel. There are three main plots that intertwine forming a complex story: A girl living in a colony where pain is a mean to reach purification and find redemption; a DEA Agent investigating several murders in which the victims have died due to a new and unknown drug; and Alisson, who works for a pharmaceutical company, and whose boss and secret lover skips town leaving her as the main suspect in an embezzlement scheme.

The Pain Colony was an audiobook that I could not put down! It was clear from the start that these three stories had something in common, but what was it? Having three parallel narratives could have broken the rhythm of the book, but it was well planned and done carefully, and it just helped to get the listener more and more hooked to the story as details of the whole picture were slowly revealed.

There is an amazing plot twist towards the end that I dared to guess earlier in the story but it was so unexpected and edgy that I was not sure it could be pulled off… but it was, and masterfully! It left me astonished! I am sure it will surprise most readers.

The only aspect on which I would have liked a bit more development was the characters. I think the one I related to the most was Layla, even though her way of living was something I did not agree with. Perhaps I was able to forgive some of her mistakes because she did not remember her past, she was inherently incomplete. Allison, on the other hand, should have felt closer to me, but I had many troubles relating to her. She was a young and smart woman, but neither her head nor her heart seemed to be in the right place. Many of the things in this story went terribly wrong because she was either distracted or was pining for the wrong person, already knowing that he had betrayed her. There is a part of the story where her destiny suddenly changes, and it felt a bit forced, like during the first contact with the DEA. I guess Allison had some personal traits that contributed to this chain of events, but it is difficult for me to relate to somebody so careless. Half of the time I wanted to scream to Allison: “Wake up, girl, this is a cruel world and the big fish are gonna eat you!”

At first, I had the impression that there were only women at the Pain Colony. I think it was because only female names were mentioned during the first part of the book. Somehow I missed male characters actively suffering and being victims, not just women. I know that there were male characters with a bad end but it was always quick and we did not have enough time to relate to them. It could have been because Hunt is a woman and she finds easier to describe women’s feelings, but I could not help but think about the woman in distress as a popular figure.

Erin deWard and Noah Michael Levine deliver a dual narration, as they have us accustomed to. I have to say that it perfectly matched the writing style and parallel stories, and both characters brought the characters to life with amazing interpretations. One minor setback that I would like to mention, and it is not the first time, is that deWard and Levine had slightly different speeds, and I found it a little distracting. I have experienced the same in other audiobooks narrated in the same fashion by both narrators. I know that each narrator has a personal style, but this speed difference was a bit noticeable and I had expected it to be better this time around.

The Pain Colony was a rollercoaster of emotions and events, and I am looking forward to a sequel!

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