Review: “Genome,” A.G. Riddle

Pros: Delivers on the mysteries created in book one
Cons: Occasionally things don’t quite add up
Rating: 4 out of 5

A.G. Riddle’s Genome (The Extinction Files Book 2) picks up just a few weeks after Pandemic [review] ends. The pandemic itself is no longer much of a threat since the cure has been distributed. But the nanites distributed with the cure are still active, and the Citium is swiftly working to rebuild the software that will allow them to control the nanites. Drs. Lin and Peyton Shaw are working day and night in the Arctic, and Lin is still refusing to tell anyone the truth of what’s going on and what her ultimate agenda is. Desmond Hughes is still being held captive by bad guy Yuri and Desmond’s misguided brother Conner. They’re trying to get Desmond’s memories to return so they can find out where he hid Rendition, the final part of their plan to “save” the world. The Citium causes the internet to collapse while the rest of the world is still trying to recover from the pandemic.

This volume gets fairly intellectual and self-absorbed. Much of the space is taken up exploring Desmond’s memories, which involves his learning at Yuri’s behest how and why humans evolved as they did. This is pretty interesting material, but if you’re looking for an action novel, large parts of this book may disappoint you.

We do finally find out what Rendition is and does, what the Looking Glass is, what Lin’s agenda is, what Yuri’s agenda is, and what convinced Desmond to do what he did. Surprisingly–because frankly I thought nothing could live up to the hype–it is a fascinating set of revelations that measured up to everything leading up to them. I was a little disappointed by the very end, because there’s a brief, abstruse bit that confused the hell out of me and kind of took away from things, but overall the book was well worth reading.

I still think there are some coincidences from the first book that were never explained. One or two I could buy as a “wow the world is weird” sort of thing, but there were one or two too many. Most of these coincidences are ways in which Peyton, Desmond, and their families are tied together.

The characters are one of my favorite parts of this two-book series. Even the bad guys, like Conner, have nuance and good motivations. Lin remains something of an enigma right up until the very end. If you enjoyed book one, I believe you’ll find Genome to be a worthwhile follow-on.

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