The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia
|The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: The better of two full-length thrillers for teens looking back at the X Files heroes in their teenaged years. Despite almost nudging into Hardy Boys territory at times, this is still a worthwhile read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: January 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
Give a person a book and you might change their day. Give the right person the right book and you might change their life. That is the philosophy of The Major, the father of the nearest thing Fox Mulder has to a best schoolmate. He may well appear to be a wacky – some could even go as far as saying Spooky – conspiracy nut, with some novel manner in home security, but he certainly swears that the truth to his wife's death, and so much more, is either out there, or in the pages of a Michael Moorcock fantasy novel. It's a situation not a million miles away from that which Fox finds himself in, for he is eternally frustrated at the lack of effort he sees in the search for his own baby sister. But before he can settle back with his new read, and before The Major can really prove himself formative, Fox gets rapt in new, local cases of child kidnap, that even though he and his father moved state recently, have a galling familiarity…
Out of all the X-Files books, from the original (poor) to the second-wave (much better) tie-in novels, to the slender YA efforts and the current graphic novels inventing their own fantasy tenth and eleventh series, there certainly was scope to look into the past of the main characters and provide back-story. And Fox certainly has a back-story worth concentrating on – there's not just the stalwart character we know and love, but what made him such, especially the loss of Samantha Mulder to some kind of abduction. But this being The X-Files, we cannot just concentrate on those riches. No, we have to see the main story arc leach through the pages of a stand-alone drama.
And that took some time coming. Fox does his own thing, but is hampered by the company of said best friend, then the story is hampered by the arrival of the sassy, smart, more measured and sobering yet beautiful female companion (ring any bells, anyone?). She's needed, but not the whole section informing her of what's happening. But that is a minor lapse – we soon get back in full flight, and it's actually quite a decent genre thriller. (There are also enough cameos from key characters to make this definitely of the canon.) That said, some of the writing jarred with me. I can accept the many Americanisms here (for one, I didn't know Americans were so lazy that had lost the last three letters of the parting in their hair), but a little seemed on the sloppy side – in the middle of text relating to three male characters, new paragraphs would begin with a most indefinite he, leaving you to guess who was referred to.
But on the whole this is a very good book. The only people it might disappoint are the adult fan of the series since it started, who feel averse to reading a title for the young teen, and might quibble at the '70s cultural references that can seem shoehorned in just to prove the writer's groundwork (could that library be any more clearly researched?). The crux of my appreciation though is that it doesn't have the feel of a standard, slightly dark (for tweens) thriller shoehorned on to an established franchise, but neither is this a well-known creative title just pandering to a new, young audience. What it is, is a firmly enjoyable genre drama. No, it's not the book to change anyone's life, but neither is it merely going to distract for a couple of hours then be forgotten.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Teen thrillers is a worthwhile genre to explore these days, with the likes of Charisma by Jeanne Ryan.
You can read more book reviews or buy The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia at Amazon.com.
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