The Atlantis Gene (The Origin Mystery, book 1) clocks in at 144 chapters and is an easy read with a fascinating premise underneath it all. And for an author’s first book, it has some flaws, but overall it’s not bad.
The story within The Atlantis Gene starts out introducing the reader to an evolutionary expert and researcher, Dr. Kate Warner, who is studying autism in children with the hope of finding a cure. We’re introduced to a secret society who has put themselves in charge of protecting the human species, while they search all over the world for the the lost city of Atlantis. As humanity sits at the beck and call of a secret society bent on “saving humanity,” whether they need it or not. Their methods, though well intended, are scary to contemplate.
This society is pressed for time because of several factors that they believe in:
1) Atlantis existed and the inhabitants of Atlantis helped spurn on a mysterious evolutionary jump in humanity. (For reasons fully explained in the text)
2) That Atlanteans are threatened by humanity and plan on returning to destroy us all.
3) That this secret society of humans must act in such a way that all but prevents our legendary visitors from destroying us.
And hence our story starts out with a clandestine operation and in parallel of sorts, the story of Kate and various other characters put to the reader to follow along as fate and destiny force paths to intersect. Whether some characters like it or not.
Riddle tackles various subjects combining science fiction, historical events and evolution, pulling it all together into a fascinating tale. Riddle leaves nothing to chance as he touches upon the jump in human evolution, natural disasters from history and various other fringe events from our past. Almost though, to the point of excess.
It was an easy read for me as Riddle kept things fairly simple and linear in the telling of the story in the first and second acts. I like that, a simple and effective telling. Oh and he’s embraced the premise of not getting too comfortable with characters you might like.
Best of all, as the third act comes at us, the author throws a few surprise twists at the reader that I did not see coming and the pace picks up pretty aggressively. Though to be honest that third act got busy and convoluted. (Not in a bad way but I had to slow down here and there to sort it all out in my head)
This was the first book of a trilogy and it ends on the proverbial mild cliffhanger that leads you into the journey of the next book, but…
Though I liked the story I had a few issues with the reading where some scenes confused me and didn’t make sense. But that was just a few moments in an overall fun read.
Yes, there were 144 chapters. It was almost like having a chapter for every action a character took. OK, it wasn’t quite that bad but the chapter count seemed obnoxious when in a few spots the action could have easily been concatenated into one chapter. But that’s just me.
But what I did not like at all was that at the 66% mark of reading, my version of the book on my Kindle app was trying to force me to rate the book on Amazon. I’ve never had a Kindle book do that before, and if anyone knows me, you know how much I hate internet trickery and advertising. It took a few tricks to get around it and I almost stopped reading the book, but I circumvented the rating process and got on with it.
But then at the 96% mark, every time I tapped my screen to see where I was, I was getting pummeled by an advertisement to buy the next book in the trilogy.
Not cool in my book. (Huh? No pun intended there.)
These two intrusions in my reading experience soured my take on the trilogy and I have decided to not pursue the next two books in Riddle’s story. But many folks are immune to these practices and let it roll off their backs.
UPDATE: I spoke with the author and he said that the advertising pop ups should not have happened and he turned his inquiry over to Amazon to discover what might have happened with my version of the kindle book.
For those, I think The Atlantis Gene would be a fun and engaging read.
On Amazon (clickable image):