Friday, 19 August 2016

Review of Type X by MA Phipps

Flash forward 2 years on from the closing events of Ultraxenopia, that's right, 2 years have passed for Wynter and she is, from the outset, clearly a very different girl from the one we left at the end of book 1.  Disconnected, resigned to her fate as the State's weapon of choice.  Revered and feared she is an unstoppable killing machine against anyone who chooses to take the State on.  Lost in her duty, she has little of her old self left other than a niggling doubt about the reason she chose to return to the DSD.  One thing is for certain, she is a marionette to the will of Dr Richter, the string being the control collar around her neck.

Despite being the strong and confident Wynter on the battlefield, when she returns to the DSD at  mission conclusion, she is still the frightened girl from book 1; Dr Richters, cruel torture has seen to that.  However, the old Wynter is not a girl to be kept down and slowly memories are awakened, until the day that she didn't know she was waiting for arrives....

Type X is a book which is difficult to write a synopsis for without revealing spoilers.  It is a story rich with information so I will tread carefully!  I will say that if you haven't read Ultraxenopia for a while, you will benefit from a re-read as there were times I was wracking my brain trying to remember.  In some ways though it was a little fitting as my memories of the book were returning slowly along with Wynters.  I had to go back and re-read parts on a couple of occasions to make sure I had things clear in my head, mirroring the confusion felt by Wynter in having to take all this in herself.

Type X, is very much focused on Wynter, and whilst we have characters from Book 1 appearing, they are very much in the background of what is going on.  We meet new characters, Nolan, the newly appointed head of PHOENIX and also Quinn, an ex-enforcer.  Wynter finds herself wary of these new characters and their plans and feelings towards, and for her.  As she comes to remember her reasons for returning to the DSD, to seek the promised cure and to protect those she love; the realisation of the cruel twist of fate played out is heartbreaking for her.  The once protected must become the protector, whilst also proving that she is not the monster people believe her to be.

Whilst a background character for the most part, Dr Richter is still a looming presence and we see a very different side to him at the climactic conclusion; he becomes the epitome of mad scientist as we discover the true reasons behind his actions and the depravity of the lengths he will go to to secure his endgame.

There is a fantastic chapter which gives us a brief insight into the rise of the state, and anyone that knows me as a reviewer will know I am a real sucker for a prologue, so having this element really satisfied that need!  There are some real surprises that come from this and I loved the 1984 feel to it, especially with the way that history had been re-written to make out that things had always been the way they are.

There are a raft of emotions that come from Type X, laughter at times from Wynter's cutting comments as she moves away from the girl who had to blend in, to the girl that gets to finally embrace her missed teenage snark.  Horror at the actions she is capable of.  Sadness at the realisation that no matter what, she always ends up endangering the ones she loves and whether her visions are more of a hindrance than a help.

Type X is a flawlessly written follow up that I would have a read in a single sitting if I could have.  It's a story bursting with information, emotion and characters that you really feel strongly about.  The plot has so much going on, twists at every chapter will have you thinking and rethinking about the way things will play out and even then you will never see it coming!  A strong follow up which has left me desperate for book 3!

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