Review: The Amber Project (The Variant Saga #1), J. N. Chaney

Ebook version of The Amber Project by J. N. Chaney (and Charlie making an appearence in the background)


I was really looking for a post-apocalyptic story that was not about zombies or vampires (really not my kind of post-apocalyptic stuff, I’m always looking for Revolution and The 100 kind of stuff), when I came across this on InstaFreebie and then I did some research and also found it in the author’s website!

The Amber Project is the first book in a saga set in a post-apocalyptic future. Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery—and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.

Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine—and what he will become is far more dangerous.


So… now on to my  opinion.

I have a lot of  thoughts on this, specially about the first part because I had some problems with it. To begin with, we are given dates in the begining of chapters and sometimes there were fashbacks and sometimes they were the dates of the present time. I got really confused several times and had to go back and forth to know if it was a scene from the past, or if had past some days, months or years. So, as we follow Terry, sometimes I didn’t think his reactions were the ones of a kid his age, it seemed like he was older (although there’s the whole genetically engineered thing, so they’re not 100% “normal” kids and not treated as such), but I wasn’t ever certain of his age (or the other kid’s).

I really did not like a male character, a professor, that is introduced to us a few pages after the begining. He’s just awful to the kids. On one hand I kind of get why he was like that, but it doesn’t change my overall opinion, being like that is several types of wrong.

The politcs play a great deal in the first part of the book and I understand that was necessary to set up the context and all of that. It wasn’t totally boring, but didn’t get me very invested either.

There were also a little diversity represented, but I had a hard time noticing it, although I’ll admit english is not my first language and some descriptions are hard do grasp, so it could just be my fault I didn’t pick it up sooner. (I’m working on this!)

But the second part (literally after 50%) I really enjoyed! I won’t get into detail, but my problem with the dates and even the professor were almost totally gone. It was what I was looking for since I began reading it! I also really liked the setting, it was totally what I wanted for a world that had to endure such a change, and also how the plot went after they got to the surface.

I reallyyyy liked how Terry reflected on the things that were going on and made ponderate choices, as well as the relationship with his friends. For a moment I thought that it was heading to a miscommunication type of plot (and that really annoys me), but it didn’t! For me there were not made stupid decisions just so they would run to danger or to have some “””plot twist””” and I realy liked that. I was like “yes, that makes sense”. There were just two things I found predictable, but it didn’t bother me a lot, just a little bit, so I’ll leave it be and blame it on the naivety of their age and lacking experience of… Life, I guess (although they have quite a training and conditioning… Mixed feelings).

So, I really liked it, especially the second part, but I can’t ignore the first one. I think J. N. Chaney did a really good job in this sci-fi post-apocalyptic book and it gave me the vibes of Fragment by Warren Fahy (this was the book that got me into sci-fi, but that’s a story for another day).

It took me forever to write this review because I couldn’t decide about the rating. So… I’m gonna go with what was a 3,5 star reading, but I’ll now round it up and give it 4 stars! As I said before, I got the ebook from free, but I was when I noticed that the ebooks are only available on Kindle because I have a Kobo… I would really like to continue with The Variant Saga, I’m just not sure on how or when, but I really recomend it!


Have you read The Amber Project, another book in the trilogy or have you read them all? I would love to hear about it, so leave a comment below! 😄



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