4 out of 4 stars
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A hair-bending, end-of-the-world style adventure awaits you when you pick up Control Room by Mike Miller, Jr. Alisa Bellsong is an archaeologist working on an ancient Nazca ruin when she makes the discovery of a lifetime. Actually, it's the only discovery that matters since people began making discoveries. Hidden down in the depths of the earth, underneath the foundation of a ruined Nazca temple site lies an impossibility. A decision is made to keep it secret. Top level confidentiality protocols are invoked, and no one working with any part of the project to discover what "it" is can tell any other person on the project what they are doing.
When two top scientists go missing hours before a top level briefing, Dr. Jake Pendleton is brought in to solve the mysteries. Who kidnapped the scientists? Why were the scientists abducted? Where are they? Who is the project's mole? What is this thing, anyway? What does it do? The answers that start coming are breathtaking in significance. "It" is activated. "It" is going to be bad.
From the book's preface, I thought this was going to be primarily an alien story. As I disagreed philosophically with the author's theories, I set myself up for some disappointment. Thankfully, my disappointment was disappointed! The alien background was basically a premise on which the adventure hung. The novel itself was quite enjoyable on its own merit.
I could not put Control Room down. Being an Indiana Jones fan may have helped, since it almost felt as though I were reading the story line for the next movie in the series. It was fast-paced almost from the very start, and I never felt bogged down by necessary supporting details. Even though I did not understand all of the scientific potentialities that were presented, I never felt as though this were a hindrance to my enjoyment. I sort of felt that the author merged the sci-fi with the adventure novel. In my opinion, a good sci-fi novel has enough details to set the story and make it believable, but not so many that my head goes spinning! I felt that the author did a good job of balancing the sci-fi and adventure genres.
Throughout the story, the characters were definitely larger than life. I appreciated that they were not presented as "perfect," instead having relatable flaws. I also enjoyed the romances as they unfolded. It was nice to see characters overcome personal doubts to pursue a meaningful relationship with someone they liked to be with. The author did a great job of including a wide variety of characters ranging from a grownup high school jock to a boy genius. Of course, it didn't hurt that the main character was described as being stunning.
Overall, I found very little to complain about when it came to editing. I give kudos to the author for having someone edit the book so well. I also give kudos to the author for setting up what could have been a steamy romance, but keeping it all to the imagination rather than detailing out intimate scenes. Between the well-drawn characters, an engaging plot, the fast pace, and clean editing, I am pleased to rate this 4 out of 4 stars.
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