Allrighty, we’re back for round 2 of the Atlantis Trilogy, with A.G. Riddle. Oftentimes, you’ll see sequels fizzle out, but not in this case! We get to continue the adventures with our characters from book 1, this time seeing the effects of the plague that was unleashed in Book 1 and seeing the Immari and the major world nations duke it out in a world where well…99% of people are going to die because of the plague.
I once again enjoyed the fast pace of the action like in The Atlantis Gene, and this time we even got a mystery to solve! Trying to figure out who was the double agent in the midst of our protagonists was very enjoyable for me, and, in true Atlantis fashion, the reveal surprised me.
We got to see David Vale being a badass, which he only got to show flashes of in The Atlantis Gene, and we got to see Kate do things on her own without the help of Captain America nearby.
The ending felt a little rushed, but oh well. That happens when you write a story that goes at full speed 100% of the time.
It was nice that the book delved further into sci-fi though, focusing heavily on the science when talking about how the Plague worked and how the protagonists had to go about tyring to deal with it. The talk of 80% of our DNA not having any sort of recognizable purpose and the fact that we each have faint personal radiation signatures I thought was pretty cool. Yay for science!
Allright, that’s about all I can say without getting into spoilers, so off we go!
So while The Atlantis Gene had a cool story within a story, The Altlantis Plague has a mystery embedded within it. For ⅓ to ½ of the book, the protagonists and we are stuck knowing that someone in the group has betrayed us, but not knowing who. For my part, I was 90% sure it was Janus the entire time, and actually trusted Shaw. Doh.
My thinking was that if Shaw wanted Kate, he had her way back at the Immari facility in Spain; he didn’t have to go around killing Immari folks to help get her out. I suppose I didn’t take into account the fact that Sloane wanted some information from Kate first, and would need to allow her to get it first. So, I mostly ruld out Shaw.
But here was Janus, who somehow magically can swim way better than anyone else when they’re getting rescued from the drowning ship; who is a super smart geneticist who seems to actually be better at trying to find a cure for the plague than Kate herself. I was 100% sure he was the traitor.
So when the reveal came that well…the traitor was Shaw, but Janus isn’t necessarily a good guy either, I was very surprised. Chalk up another turn I didn’t see coming on A.G. Riddle’s wild ride. Haha.
David Vale and Cueta
Another cool thing in The Atlantis Plague is that we got to see David Vale in action, being a badass again. We kind of saw it in The Atlantis Gene, but we really get to see his cunning in this book. For instance, when he gets captured at Cueta, his ability to try and bluff his way out of his situation I thought was extremely entertaining. We geven ot see his thought process along the way.
His orchestration of the takeover of Cueta I thought was cool, and the way that it was revealed to the reader I thought was a nice touch. Instead of being inside David Vale’s head while he plans the assault, you get the view from the Commander’s point of view, and only see things as they unfold.
One thing I didn’t actually understand though was the tribesmen – were they the people that went backwards genetically, or people that went forwards, but didn’t organize the way the Immari did? The fact that they are able to reason with Vale and orchestrate an attack suggests the latter, but in the begining, they are described as the former.
So we talked in the last review about how I wasn’t 100% convinced that the Immari were wrong. That belief didn’t really change here, as I personally think that if I was a plague survivor that was still high functioning, I would also be of the opinion that the plague was a good thing and that the strong would survive. I’d probably join the Immari, and as they seem like a stable force in the world, and don’t force me to live in Orchid concentration camps.
I mean, as the reader, I know that they’re not really on the up and up and that if I didn’t choose to join them voluntarily, I would end up dying on a plague barge, but I don’t think it would ever be in a position to know that really. I’d buy the line that the Immari are here to change the world hook line and sinker.
One very puzzling thing though is that the supposedly genetically superior survivors, people who should be smarter and stronger than people were before, are so very easy to kill. The guards around Kate are easily dispatched. David Vale and his old friend are able to easily trick or kill several Immari soldiers. They just seemed like anyone else to me. And yet they’re described as these amazing superhumans.
The Gene Therapy
Okay, I thought it was way cool how the plague wasn’t a virus or bacteria in a traditional illness sense – it was re-activating dormant DNA, and so normal medicinal procedures wouldn’t help. In fact, things like medical quarantine couldn’t even contain the plague since it wasn’t transmitted through normal illness means.
The tie in to the actual scientific fact that nobody knows what 80% of our DNA supposedly does I thought was extra poignant. Much like I enjoyed the linkages to the real world in The Atlantis Gene, I very much enjoyed this linkage back to the real world in The Atlantis Plague.
I’m going to gloss over how feasible it would be to change the DNA in a person (the proposed therapies that the protagonists used to address the plague), because well…if I didn’t, I wouldn’t enjoy the rest of the story, and I wanted to haha.
Another thing I enjoyed in this book was how Dorian Sloan changed from almost being a cartoon villain to being a nuaced villain that I could relate to.
His struggle as he realizes that a lot of the menacing parts of his personality are derived from that of General Ares is very interesting. He tries to save his pilot; he tries to have feelings for his psuedo-gf; he tries to save his brother. But in the end, he ends up abandoning his struggle to do each and every one of those things, to embrace the softer side of him, arguably to embrace himself (instead of becoming more like Ares).
I’ve mentioned before that I’m still not convinced that the Immari are cartoon bad guys in all this. They’re just trying to do what they think is best to save the species, genetically vault us forward in intellect and physicalness so that way we can stand toe to toe with this indescribably powerful enemy that took out the Atlanteans. I wonder if A.G. Riddle is setting up Dorian Sloane to be a hero in book 3. It certainly looks like it.
The Atlantis Plague delivered along the same lines as The Alantis Gene: fast paced action, unpredictable story turns, relatable protagonists, tie ins to the real world, and one core gimmick that the book revolved around: in this case the mystery of who was the traitor
Just like the first book, I found myself delving back into the story as often as I could, even on vacation when I should have conceivably been doing something else. A.G. Riddle’s writing style has me hooked for sure.
Sure, he may not be George R R Martin, but I don’t like that much elaboration in a story anyway. Sometimes I just want cool (unpredictable) things to happen, in ways that make sense in retrospect.
The Atlantis World, here we come!