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Book Review

Phreaks

 

Written by: Matthew Derby
Narrated by: Bree Klauser, Carrie Coon, Christian Slater
Genres: Drama & Plays | Technothriller
Published: 4th of August, 2020
Length: 5 Hours 10 Minutes

 

Listen to Samples:

Description
The year is 1970. Emma Gable, a blind teenager coming of age in a small industrial town in Western New York, is about as far from the seismic cultural transformations rocking campuses and city streets across America as a person can get. Emma escapes the chaos of her dysfunctional family by dialing up random numbers on the phone in her bedroom, just to see who'll answer.

But when a fateful call connects her to a mysterious band of proto-hackers calling themselves "Phone Phreaks," the revolution comes home, changing Emma's life for good. Because Bell Telephone, the world's biggest corporation, is not amused that a handful of teenagers suddenly have the power to seize control of its vast and lucrative network and bend it to their will.

Bringing down the Phreaks is the corporate goliath's number one priority, but for Bell Security Agent Bill Connolly, the crusade becomes personal as he struggles to outwit and outmaneuver an adversary that seems always one step ahead of him.

Phreaks is the story of a fracturing family struggling to redefine itself as the world changes rapidly around it. Set at the dawn of the information age, its characters struggle with the same issues that define us today: privacy and surveillance, misuse of personal data, the ownership of ideas, our century-long obsession with the telephone, and the thirst for community that's driven us, since the dawn of time, to seek out new ways to "reach out and touch someone."

Full voice cast includes: Christian Slater, Carrie Coon, Ben McKenzie, Justice Smith, Bree Klauser, Ashley Williams, Esau Pritchett, Arielle Goldman, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Alejandro Hernandez, Daniel Kim, Dave Ahdoot, Rachel Kenney, Chris Roberti, and Katie Hartman.

 

The Audiobook Review
Morgan Hobbes Morgan Hobbes

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Reviewed: 2020-08-05

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Get Your Phreak On
This gave me a touch of nostalgia and I wasn't even born when it was set! I guess I've been a fan of hacker and phreaker type stories for longer than I can remember, and this full-cast audio drama by Matthew Derby ticks so many boxes.

It's a 10 episode serial telling the story of Emma Gable, a blind, socially awkward and unaccepted teenager in small-town USA. Her main hobby is randomly dialling phone numbers and talking to whoever answers... until one day her world changes when she stumbles upon a secret number.

Her story is expertly interwoven with her family struggles - her mother dying of radiation exposure, her father absent and spending time at a commune while fighting demons of his past - as well as the story of the Bell agents trying to stop her and her newfound phreak family.

This full-cast drama of talented voice actors sucked me and didn't let up. I listened through the entire thing in one day (thanks, in part to having nothing else to stop me while self-isolating as I wait for Covid-19 test results - who said a pandemic had to be all bad??!)

I have to give two huge thumbs up to Bree Klauser, the voice of Emma in her introductory role to voice acting. Bree Klauser is a legally blind/low vision actor (you may know her from Apple TV original "See" alongside Jason Momoa) who I envision making waves in Hollywood as she undoubtedly picks up more roles. A thoroughly captivating voice that pulled this story together.

 

 

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