Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: "The Cryptos Conundrum" by Chase Brandon

The Cryptos Conundrum review
Author: Chase Brandon
3 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Cross-Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy Conspiracy Thriller Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free paperback proof (uncorrected ARC) from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: A fifteen-foot-tall steel sculpture stands in the courtyard of the Central Intelligence Agency, emblazoned with a message that no one can decipher. The three-inch-high letters on the sculpture form a coded message that is central to the survival of mankind – a message hidden in plain sight, displayed in a public space, with the full text available to anyone who has an internet connection.
Actual CIA sculpture
One man knows exactly what the statue's message says--because he created it.

Dr. Jonathan S. Chalmers heads a CIA unit tasked with containing the greatest secret our government has ever kept – and planning for its consequences. He alone knows the full story of the threats that face America. Threats that would terrify us if we knew them. Threats that have shaped our country's past, present, and future. Threats that have become his life's work, requiring all his talents, all his energy, and even the lives of members of his family.

If Chalmers can't save us, nobody can.

My Thoughts: I’ve had a bit of bad luck lately with books, and despite my earlier enthusiasm for this book, I went into it with more than a little trepidation, worried I’d find another book with characters that I either couldn’t connect with (and therefore put me to sleep), or perhaps were Too Stupid To Live.

Well, there were no real problems with the characters, other than the fact that the story was so overarching it sort of overwhelmed the characters. Seriously, this is an enormous story, spanning over 100 years, dealing with interdimensional begins, aliens,
extended lifespans, savants, etc. But I simply could not get into the story. Pages and pages of technical details, explanations of top-secret plans and propaganda … on and on and on it drug.

There were also some technical errors – for instance, 1916 was World War 1, and there was not yet any such thing as a Nazi. It’s possible that this is changed in the final copy, I should point out, because I do have an uncorrected proof here. The Germans were commonly called “Huns” or “Boche” at the time. However, the author is constantly having them called “Kraut” or “Fritz” (which is primarily a Russian thing, so why are all the Brits – who should have called them “Gerry” – using this term?), which were more from the 2nd World War. Also, to be really, really picky, Great White Sharks are coastal animals; one would probably not be found out in the middle of the Atlantic. Additionally, Autism was not named until 1910, at which point Chalmers would have been 20 years old; there is no way he could have had a conversation with his father while a young child about the differences between autism and savantism, nor could he have had a fear of being autistic. He could have feared having those sorts of symptoms, but he couldn’t have called it autism, because it wasn’t yet called that. I mean, all this within the first 100 pages! But it would not hurt authors to do a little research before using elements in a book, just to make sure they have their facts straight.

Sadly, this was yet another book I simply could not finish. A simple Google/Wiki search could have confirmed some of the "facts" used in the story, and it was just driving me crazy. However, if a reader likes very detailed, technical books, extremely intricate plots, and can overcome the tendency to find fault with all the inaccuracies, they might like it. I’m giving it a 3-star rating because, even though I couldn’t finish it, I think there will probably be plenty of people who will like this high-concept, science-fiction/fantasy conspiracy thriller. It just was not for me.


  1. The Cryptos Conundrum
    Almost three years after you wrote your review, I happened upon it. As you, I quickly tired of the novel and stopped reading. I had intended to continue at some future time that hasn't arrived. Now, I doubt that it will. Wish I could find a complete synopsis.
    Thanks for easing my conscience.

    1. Some books just aren't going to work for folks. Glad to have helped you feel better about your feelings on this one! :-)


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