Title: The Starving Years
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Narrator: Gomez Pugh
Publisher: JCP Books
Run Time: 10 hours and 46 minutes
Category: Dystopian, Alt Reality, M/M/M
At a Glance: This story is complemented and deepened by the voice talents on display. Buy this audiobook for the story and the narration.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: The chemistry between these three men is undeniable, but is it enough to save Manhattan?
Imagine a world without hunger.
In 1960, a superfood was invented that made starvation a thing of the past. Manna, the cheaply manufactured staple food, is now as ubiquitous as salt in the world’s cupboards, pantries and larders.
Nelson Oliver knows plenty about manna. He’s a food scientist–according to his diploma, that is.
Lately, he’s been running the register at the local video rental dive to scrape together the cash for his outrageously priced migraine medication.
In a job fair gone bad, Nelson hooks up with copywriter Javier and his computer-geek pal Tim, who whisks them away from the worst of the fiasco in his repurposed moving truck. At least, Nelson thinks those two are acquainted, but they’re acting so evasive about it, he’s not sure how they know each other, exactly. Javier is impervious to Nelson’s flirting, and Tim’s name could appear in the dictionary under the entry for “awkward.” And with a riot raging through Manhattan and yet another headache coming on, it doesn’t seem like Nelson will get an answer anytime soon.
One thing’s for sure, the tension between the three of them is thick enough to cut with a knife…even one of those dull plastic dealies that come in the package with Mannariffic EZ-Mealz.
Review: On a parallel Earth in the distant past, a perfect food source is developed. It effectively ends world hunger—but, it has its limits. It doesn’t taste quite right, it has creeped into every corner of modern life, and there is a resistance to eating artificial food. At the same time, populations are tightly regulated and having children without a father to support them is almost a capital offense. The major corporation producing the food substitute called Manna has been acting suspiciously.
Into this mix, we meet a group of people who have their own reasons for fighting the system that rules them and the food that they have come to depend on and hate. Nelson, Javier, and Tim meet at a job fair for the food corporation when a riot breaks out. The three, who have never met before in person, literally run into one another at the job fair-cum-riot. In the escape, they pick up a plucky girl and a random guy to round out a quintet of refugees to figure out what is going on and why the police, the corporation, and just about everyone else are trying to blame them for the riot.
In the hours and days following the initial riot, the intrepid band does their level best to figure out what really is going on. A computer whiz, a reporter, and a man with a questionable past and identity join forces to get to the bottom of things. In the course of the investigation, a secret family is revealed, an unplanned pregnancy gets exposed, the mind behind a conspiracy blog is unmasked, and pasts and presents of all involved collide with explosive results. Not the least of which is a couple of seriously hot threesomes and pairings that are the hallmark of Jordan Castillo Price’s books. Heat without being gross is sometimes hard to pull off in M/M books, but here they happen organically and without regret.
The story is intriguing, well thought out, and wholly believable. While spec fiction may not be for everyone, missing out on this book would be a mistake. These wonderful qualities are made even better by the narration of Gomez Pugh. Gomez is a true voice talent. His characters are consistent and accents are crisp and not clichéd. I also want to take the time to praise his ability to give clear separations between the ages of characters and female voices without relying on crutches but instead, using real talent to show you who is speaking and keeping that clear and easy to follow the whole way through the book. Every time I see Gomez Pugh listed as the narrator, I know it’s going to be a good ride apart from the storyline itself. The voice talent here is among the very best. When paired with a distinctive and well written story like we have here, I find myself telling people they really need to buy the audio even if they have read the book.
This story is complemented and deepened by the voice talents on display. Buy this audiobook for the story and the narration. You will be glad that you did.
You can buy The Starving Years here: