Sunday, September 22, 2013

ARC Review & Giveaway - Identity X by Michelle Muckley

Title: Identity X
Author: Michelle Muckley
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Pages: 298, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.55 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Content Rating: Adult (No sex, but lots of violence)

Summary from Goodreads: Ben Stone has one aim; discover the cure for genetic disease. He watched his father die and promised himself that it would never happen again, especially to his own son. After his appointment as lead researcher in Bionics Laboratories he begins his desperate research. It takes four years, but he succeeds. He discovers NEMREC, a serum able to reconstruct DNA and cure the diseases that have driven him. It should be the beginning of a new future, but by changing the face of the world, he has unwittingly destroyed his own.

After arriving at his laboratory to find that it has disappeared, he is sucked into a world of conspiracy and betrayal. The Agency wants NEMREC and will do anything to get it, believing it to be the most powerful scientific discovery in decades. But it wasn't just NEMREC that they wanted. The Agency wanted Ben dead, but somehow he survived. His best friend, his wife, and Ami, the beautiful scientist who he has fallen for at work all offer to help him, but each has a different version of the truth. They all have their own agenda, only one of them wants what he wants, and in a world where you are already dead, how is it that you are supposed to survive?

Identity X isn't the type of book that I typically read, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.  The book is something along the lines of a spy thriller - complete with tons of action, intrigue and drama!

The synopsis does a pretty good job of describing the story without giving anything away, so I won't do a rehash here.  Instead, I'll move directly on to the positives and negatives.

The negatives:
  • Sometimes unbelievable.  There were a few points in the story where I found myself thinking, "What?  How would that have worked?"  I don't want to give specific examples because I don't want to spoil anything, but there were a few explanations of how Ben had gotten into his situation that I found slightly unrealistic.  The one example that I think I can safely give without giving too much away is that the people who were after Ben had been put certain things into place before Ben was really even working on his research - I just didn't believe that they would be so sure that he would turn out to be so brilliant and that he would come up with this amazing research before he even really had an inkling of what it would be.  Still, with this type of book, you kind of have to expect to enact a little suspension of disbelief.
Of note:
  • British language-isms.  (Yep, I just totally made that term up).  This isn't really a negative per se - more just something that occasionally affected my reading of the book.  There were some points in the book where I was distracted by British spellings or British words that were slightly unfamiliar to me.  A few times, I thought that there were possibly grammatical errors (not that there were a ton, but I do think there were a few) and then thought, "Well, maybe that's just the way they say it (or spell it) in England!"  Like I said, this is NOT really a negative - after all the author is British and the book is set in England - it was just something that occasionally took me out of the book and something that American readers might want to be prepared for going into it.  (I haven't read THAT many British books, but for some reason this issue struck me more in this book than in the few others I've read).
  • The "spy" plot.  I put "spy" in quotes because technically none of the characters in this book are spies, but there are many who are something roughly akin to spies.  At any rate, I enjoy spy movies and this book felt like one giant, non-stop action movie.  (In fact, I'd want to see Identity X, the movie).
  • The twists and turns.  This book was filled with lots of twists and turns and you were never quite sure who Ben should trust.  You knew that he had to have been set up by someone (more than one person, really), but you weren't sure who.  In the beginning of the book, I was a little worried that the story was going to be predictable, but there were some definite twists that surprised me and shifted the trajectory of the story.  Sure, there were a few predictable elements to the story (elements that are often present in these types of spy stories), but the book was overall exciting and engaging with enough surprises to keep you engrossed in the story.
  • The characters.  I felt like Muckley did a great job of writing relatable characters who I ended up really rooting for.  Ben is a great lead because, while he has some definite flaws, he feels like a real person - he isn't a caricature of a wimpy, nerdy scientist or a superman who defeats every enemy with ease.  I was invested in his situation, so I waited in nail-biting tension to see what would happen to him next!
Identity X is an exciting thriller that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.   I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good action movie!  4/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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