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I’ve been watching The X-Files since I was about eleven, and my love for it hasn’t waned–despite some less-than-stellar episodes in the revival–so it’s only natural that my experiences have finally expanded into more than just the TV series.
The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos is the story of teenaged Fox Mulder finding himself pulled into the mystery of missing and murdered children in the Washington, D.C., area in the late 1970s. He can’t stop thinking about it and inserting himself into the investigation, a by-product of his own younger sister’s disappearance a few years earlier. With the help of two friends and the rare supportive adult, Mulder dives into the mystery and starts himself on the path that would find him the FBI basement in years to come.
I actually read the other book in this duology, Devil’s Advocaate, last year, and to be honest, I wasn’t in love with it. It wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t find all of the character decisions to be agreeable to me, and it wasn’t a book that left me feeling much of anything after reading it. Overall, though, I enjoyed it enough to pick up this one on one of my recent library stops, and after finishing it, I was glad I did.
At first I struggled to get into the book, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. It was standard young adult fare as far as the opening went–good introduction and setup for the coming story, a quirky best friend, a love interest–but it also didn’t grip me or stand out all that much to my memory, much like the other in this series. I’m glad I kept going, though, because about half to two-thirds of the way through the book, the action began to pick up, and I was hooked. I found myself finishing the last hundred pages or so in one sitting, devouring the way that Garcia brought in real people as characters (notably, Special Agents John E. Douglas and Robert Ressler of the FBI) and geeking out over the discussion of criminal profiling.
I also appreciated the way Garcia acknowledged series details without them being overbearing or feeling wedged into the story. We get a look at Mulder’s relationship with his parents as viewers of the TV series have known them, but they also feel genuine to the story itself. Additionally, we’re offered a look inside his head as he navigates the trauma of his sister’s disappearance and how it affects his relationships with those around him.
The only real complaint I have is that the end didn’t feel complete because the larger mystery of the novel wasn’t entirely resolved. We only had one half of the equation. Still, the novel did do a fun job of mixing what series fans already know about Fox Mulder’s origin story with this new chapter reveal of his adolescent years.
I don’t necessarily think this is a must-read for fans of The X-Files, but if you happen to be one and also enjoy the young adult genre, it’s worth giving it a shot.