Friday 17 February 2017

THE X-FILES ORIGINS: Devil's Advocate by Jonathan Maberry


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm a huge fan of The X-Files, so after reading--and really enjoying--Mulder's book, I couldn't wait to read Scully's.

It's 1979 and Dana Scully is fifteen. Her family has just moved to the small town of Craiger, Maryland. And since they arrived, she's been having some really strange dreams. Stranger than usual. Scully is smart and analytical, but she's also painfully shy and her only friend is her older sister, Melissa.

Something strange is going on in this small town. A bunch of teenage kids are dying in car accidents, but when Dana starts having visions about the dead kids and whispers of murder start circulating around school, she starts to realise there's something much darker going on. And with the help of a cute classmate, she starts her own amateur investigation. She's determined to get to the bottom of what's going on, even if it means putting her trust in the one person who might offer a one-way ticket to danger...

Okay. This book wasn't what I expected for several reasons: the subject matter (occult murders focusing on angels and demons), and that Dana is apparently psychically sensitive.

While I liked this book, it was nowhere near as good as Agent of Chaos. Absolutely nowhere near it. This story just seemed to be lacking in several ways. Mostly because it felt somewhat forced into the X-Files mythos. In the end, all the strengths--the small-town conspiracy, the new-age shop, the psychic phenomena--end up also becoming the biggest weaknesses. I just didn't buy that what happens in this book turns Scully from possible believer to determined skeptic.

I also couldn't get attached to any of the main or secondary characters, especially Dana Scully herself. Her voice didn't feel right. It was repetitive, the mystery was predictable and the conclusion a bit blah. TBH, the only character that did intrigue me was her grandmother. She was creepy, in a good way.

Also, IMO, there were too many POVs. So many that I felt the story would've been better if it didn't include some of them. Especially the villain's POV. And did there really need to be that many mentions of how pretty Dana was? We get it. I know it. Don't need to be constantly reminded. O_o

Whereas taking a peek into Mulder's teenage years actually added depth to the overall X-Files story arc, Scully's kinda muddled everything. After seeing her go through something like this, it makes her future skepticism seem weird. Contradictory, even.

Devil's Advocate turned out to be just okay for me. It started out strong, but once I reached the last bit of the book and the pieces of the mystery started to come together, it fell flat. It was predictable and disappointing.

I just don't think it fits the overall world.

A huge thanks to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy! 

The X-Files Origins: Devil's Advocate, January 2017, ISBN 9780349002989, Atom

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