Impact Winter, produced and directed by Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim), is a new post-apocalyptic vampire story available only as an audiobook from Audible.
It is only on Audible because it’s not a novel in audiobook form but an audio drama. There is no narration, aside from a few journal entries, and most of the story is told via dialogue and some sound effects. It’s like a movie for your ears!
There are no spoilers in this review.
What’s it about?
From executive producers of The Walking Dead and Travis Beacham, the writer of Pacific Rim, comes a heart-stopping Audible Original featuring a brilliant British cast. It’s the near future and seven years since a comet hit the earth and blotted out the sun. The world is a dark, frozen landscape. And then, beastly creatures emerge and take over. Can they really be vampires?
In the British countryside, a band of survivors forms a resistance in the fallout shelter of a medieval castle. Darcy is a battle-tested vampire hunter who is at the front line leading the charge to save humanity. Meanwhile, her younger sister Hope wants life to return normal so she can go above ground and know what it’s like to live again. And she just might be willing to risk it all.
Did this work format for me? Yes, though I did miss the (nerd alert!) narrative craft aspects of a novel. With this audio drama format, I had trouble sometimes picturing what things looked like or what was happening in a specific sense. I could tell someone was hurt by their voice or the sound effects, but I couldn’t “see” it the same way. Yet, it was very fun! I definitely enjoyed listening to it, and the sound effects were fun because (if you wear headphones) they really do immerse you in the story (in terms of being attacked by vampires). It’s a different medium, and I think it’s an attempt to resurrect (vampire pun!) an old form of consuming a story.
When it comes to the story itself, I really liked it. It’s a vampire tale more than a post-apocalyptic one, and while this one still retained a lot of the same tropes and concepts we all know and understand about vampires, it brought in a few new aspects (or at least blended some from various books/shows). The overall story moved quickly, but there were moments I wished had been in typical book form (such as a relationship between two characters) to draw out the tension.
It’s a story about two sisters, one coming-of-age and the other learning to let go, which I think many people (even if they don’t have siblings) can relate to.
The other characters were likable and interesting, though I did wish for some more backstory on a few of them (the vampires especially).
Speaking of characters, the voice acting in this audio drama though was fantastic. It’s superb. Impact Winter carries some bigger names than most audiobooks, including two Game of Thrones actors (Liam Cunningham and Bella Ramsey).
Unfortunately, the setting is kind of meh for those of us seasoned in the genre. It’s a basic post-apocalyptic concept, but we aren’t given a lot of backstory into how people survived. How did they have that many stores in that castle for seven years? How many people were turned into vampires? How many survivors are there after the comet? A book would have given us a few paragraphs or thrown in details here and there. A movie would have shown it easily. This gave us … nothing. In truth, it’s less of a post-apocalyptic story than a vampire story set in a winter apocalypse.
Still, it’s fun, the story is quick-paced, the characters make reasonable choices (for the most part), and vampire fans will probably love it. I recommend it to those who adore vampires, especially the movie 30 Days of Night.