The Xeno Manifesto: Redemption
by Brysen Mann
Published by Time Matters Publishing
Review by Toby A. Welch
$17.99 ISBN 9781775363927
Picking up the third book in a trilogy is always tricky for me. I am invested in the story by the time the first book ends, and fully committed by the time the second book wraps up. My expectations are usually high as I want book three to be just as juicy as its predecessors. I shouldn’t have wasted one moment worrying about that in this case as The Xeno Manifesto: Redemption is just as thrilling as The Xeno Manifesto and The Xeno Manifesto:Reclamation.
Mann picks up book three with the return of past characters that he developed so thoroughly in the first two books. The Tsiatko and the Handlers are back. The Committee is gung-ho to achieve their goal. Frank, Zach, Willow, and the Orb continue their adventures. Everyone seems to be on their own quest to save the world using their own methods.
This book gave me warm fuzzies – a good thing! – when Frank’s extended family was brought into the storyline in a deeper way. They appear in an abstract context but it is a heartwarming reprieve in a book that is heavy with its doomsday tone.
For some reason, creepy occurrences in cemeteries always make for entertaining reading for me, especially when the author knows how to pull it off. Mann does it successfully, using the scene to further the plot in an unexpected but satisfying way.
Even though this is a science-fiction book – a genre that I typically associate with notions not based in our reality – I appreciated that Mann threw in a number of real world concepts. Doing so grounded the book for me. For example, he referenced 9/11, Google Earth, Delmonte juice, Ohio, drones, Mt. Rainier, and Perrier, among other things.
Mann is a master at imagery. He grabs his readers and pulls them into his world, enabling them to easily draw pictures in their minds of what is going on in the pages. For example: “He screams as its immense hand comes crashing through the auto glass, grabbing him by the throat and crushing it with a single squeeze, nearly decapitating it from his body.” And another, when describing a helicopter crash: “For ten seconds, they only feel the extreme cold with their descent, the feeling of utter helplessness and the wonder of what is actually happening to them before… they feel no more.”
The ending wrapped up the trilogy in a tidy package. Mann left no major questions unanswered or plot lines hanging. But he didn’t take the easy way out with a cheesy dream sequence or coincidences that were a little too coincidental. He fleshed the story out using all the tools in his literary arsenal to culminate in a strong conclusion. Well done, Mann!
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