The Anomaly (The Anomaly Files 1) by Michael Rutger

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Stars: 4 out of 5.

This was an entertaining story with very likeable characters. Wasn’t particularly scary, but I had a good time following our unfortunate crew, even if they didn’t have a good time at all.

This starts like one of those lost tape movies (kind of like Blair Witch Project) about a group of amateur mystery hunters filming a YouTube documentary about the Kincaid Cavern in the Grand Canyon. The location of this cavern is unknown, and even its existence has never been properly acknowledged. Plus, our crew has a bad track record when it comes to actually finding things. As in, they never do. But lo and behold, they find the cave this time, though by the end of this adventure, they will all be wishing that they never did.

As I mentioned before, this wasn’t particularly scary for me, though some situations the characters found themselves in were particularly uncomfortable. Stuck in a cave with no light? Having to negotiate a narrow passage back to the others by feel alone and in pitch darkness? Yeah, even not being claustrophobic, that had an extra eek factor for me.

But the main strength of this book is in the relationship between the characters. You can feel that they are complex individuals with their own agendas and desires. You can also tell that they worked together for a long time and really know each other well. The banter, and good-natured insults they throw each other’s way, but then they are always ready to help and support each other when needed. I grew to know and love them for that, so I was invested in their well-being. I was worried about them, and I really wanted all of them to survive this ordeal and see the light of the sun again. 

The titbits of information and conspiracy theories that Nolan shares with the viewers of his future documentary are also very interesting. I love The Unexplained series on Netflix, so this was right up my alley. 

I must admit that the conspiracy plot in this book was a bit over the top. And the villains were a lot less rounded than the main characters. They were very one-note, in fact. I still don’t understand what their motivation was behind switching on the terraforming machine ahead of schedule. Did they think they would be spared by creatures that are programmed to wipe out all of humanity? On what grounds? What made them the chosen ones to be spared annihilation? Maybe we will find out in future books, since it is mentioned that the society that financed this expedition has their hands in a lot more projects one of which directly involves Nolan’s ex-wife, so I’m sure he won’t let this slide.

In any case, this was an enjoyable read, and I am definitely excited to pick up the next book in the series.

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