Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: The Chimera Vector by Nathan M Farrugia

Book: The Chimera Vector

Author: Nathan M Farrugia

No. of Pages: 362

Genre: Fiction - Action Thriller  

Publisher: Pan Australia

So this time it is slightly different. This one did not come from BlogAdda nor did it come from the publisher or directly from the Author. My dear friend was reading it and realized that I would also enjoy reading it so she suggested that I read it too so we can both discuss the book while we read it. She is the one whom I refer to for most of my book recommendations.

The Chimera Vector has an explosive start and after a few pages, you are reminded of Robert Ludlum's Bourne Identity with the protagonist showing signs of a combination of memory loss and mixed-perceptions. It establishes a strong and very interesting premise on which you expect the author to weave an exceptional and engaging story as the protagonist begins her journey of discovering herself, her past and her role in the future. As the story moves forward, even the Matthew Reilly touch sets in as the story becomes a high octane action thriller.

The basic premise and the plot of the story have a lot of promise. Unfortunately, the potential is not completely realized. The book ends up becoming a narration of mind-numbing action which goes in too much details of actual physical hand-and-leg movement of the individuals. I like action-thrillers and so did not really mind it but it did become too much. At some points, it felt like THAT was the only thing in the story.

The concept of the Psychopath gene was interesting but the plot really got mixed up in the end. I was confused about who was on whose side and what the different 'sides' were actually. Wish there was a little less complexity for my mind to manage.

You have an scientist who spends 5 months de-programming individuals. This is the person responsible for the whole programming process and knows the subject in and out. Then comes an individual who gets 'deprogrammed' and the scientist teaches her (did he?) the art of deprogramming … and voila … she begins to deprogram other individuals in a matter of weeks!! How on earth she was able to do this is beyond me. The over-simplification of the programming and deprogramming process ... reduces the whole thing to mere hypnotism standard … in effect reducing its seriousness and threat factor.

Although containing interesting thoughts and ideas, the story and the writing have some loop-holes which leave you with a sense of irritation and hopelessness. You wonder why the author wasted such a fantastic opportunity to churn out a memorable block-buster.

He could have seriously given RL or MR, run for their money and to some extent he actually manages that. But the action became more prominent than the characters. Sophia could have easily been in the league of characters like Jason Bourne and Scarecrow and Jack West Jr. Wish Nathan had spent some more time on the character's development. What I found missing was the inner turmoil of a person who has undergone brain manipulations and who is lost about what he has done and who he is. The character development was a casualty of the excessive action sequences in the story.

It is definitely a good novel to read as far as hard-core high-octane action is considered … plenty of it around.

The genetic manipulations give different characters super-human qualities … what I find strange is why are these not made use of in the story more often. It was like watching the X-Men movie where the mutants use their abilities only when they are threatened to death or near-death experience!!! I would have loved to read more of those abilities being put to use and the protagonist's way of circumventing them to meet the objectives. That would have made for interesting reading …    

The other strange thing was the high-security heavily guarded military or research bases are so easy to find and breach in this novel … almost seems like a joke. A little more work on that area would have made for an interesting reading too. Well, it was Nathan's first novel so I guess it is OK and could be overlooked.

Sorry Nathan … you hit my head, but missed my heart !! Better luck next time !!!

Personally, I never give up on an author in one read (novel). I have seen good reviews of the 2nd novel by Nathan and for what it is worth ... I will someday read the 2nd one too.
Being an action-thriller genre fan, its not easy to ignore Nathan's work which is decently good in that area.

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