It's no secret that The X-Files is one of my favourite shows of all-time. If you know me in real-life, my world pretty much revolves around it and you can catch me flailing over it daily. That's not an exaggeration. Also, I'm a massive fan of Kami Garcia's work--I would definitely go so far to say that she is one of my favourite YA authors.
While I had a little hesitance in picking up the origins of The X-Files, I also have very little self control and knew that the day would come where I'd probably binge read it faster than you could say Cigarette Smoking Man or The Lone Gunmen.
Number one would be the accuracy in which Garcia portrays Fox Mulder. He is undeniably Mulder, in teenage form. Agent of Chaos zeros in quickly on the origins of Mulder and how he came to be the man we all know from the classic television series. What I loved most about a teenage Fox Mulder is that he wasn't watered down--ultimately, this was a coming of age story tied in with a mystery and how he came to Believe. Garcia has always done so well in developing her characters and making it so that they actually sound their age; in Agent of Chaos she had so much to live up to and tie together and she did so frankly and with grace.
Further, she had a firm grasp on the traits that made Mulder... well, Mulder. His determination to find out what happened to his sister, who went missing before the events of the novel. Fans of the T.V. series will appreciate the fact that Garcia does not sugarcoat the effects that this has on him--and his instincts--from here on out. She handles it in a way that is coherent and not at all tone death.
It's emotionally charged and flat out heartbreaking when you see him struggling with the events that have shaped his life--it's only natural that he became so entwined with the central mystery of Agent of Chaos. I liked, too, that it allowed him to sharpen his own claws--shall we say--and get a feel of what he can do when it comes to profiling serial killers. The ways that all of this ties into his television counterpart is perfectly executed because we really get to witness him growing as a character--slowly coming into his own--while preparing the scene for his own future and the adult we know he'll grow to be.
In many novelizations of beloved television series or other fictional formats, you may get the sense that the author is virtually unaware of the roots of the character. Kami Garcia never gives off this impression and handles the plots smartly, clearly aware of where the source material ends and her own begins. Does she take some liberties? Sure, but it's never enough to distract you from the events and anything that may foreshadow you to Fox Mulder's adulthood.
OTHER THINGS I WANT TO NOTE:
- Fox Mulder acts like an actual teenager but still is level headed and at the end of the day, he is still the lovable nerd who wants to believe. Garcia translates his usual traits and meshes them into a teenager well--he knows who he is at his core, but he still has QUESTIONS and a lot in his mind. This makes him compelling and not at all insufferable. But, really, could Mulder ever be insufferable? No.
- Really makes sure to pack in familiar faces and references. Including X, Cigarette Smoking Man, Oxford, Samantha, etc, etc. I liked that the general mythology from the show was there but not overdrawn. We had little teases that fans will appreciate and smile about. Or cringe, if it so happens to come to Cigarette Smoking Man. Which, obviously.
- GREAT SIDE CHARACTERS AND DYNAMICS! I can't stress this enough. I loved Phoebe, Gimble and The Major. I loved how Mulder seemed to really trust and respect The Major, despite his--let's call them--conspiracy theorist quirks. Because of his strained relationship with his own father, who virtually disappears ALL THE TIME, I thought it was nice to see a balance and have that adult figure who wasn't always being a jerk. I never had any warm feelings towards his dad to begin with--this adaptation stayed true to that. As a Scully/Mulder shipper extraordinaire (I'm obsessed) I was a little hissy about any romance but I loved Phoebe as a character and thought that their scenes were great. They have a cute friendship/romance and I thought it was a nice contrast to the dramatics. It doesn't overshadow the central plots. And Gimble was just fun! I enjoyed the trio of them going out there and trying to solve the case of the missing children and felt like each of them served a great purpose to their dynamic by being different archetypes yet still similar.
This is probably the best prequel/novelization I've seen made for one of my most beloved pieces of fiction and I really have to applaud Kami Garcia for portraying it in the way she did. She made it all her own without taking away the knowledge that we had--I loved, loved, loved it.
I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy of this to keep with my The X-Files DVDS and Funko Pops.