I thought I was in luck. This book had appeared on one of my obscure to-read lists, scrawled on the back of some homework assignment I was surprised I hadn’t thrown away, or maybe the back of a receipt, or a crumpled post-it note. I had forgotten about it until I saw it again on Amazon Prime Reading, where I could read it. For free.
In the end it wasn’t important because I was disappointed.
The Atlantis Gene, written by A.G. Riddle, begins as a vessel in Antartica unearths some strange structure in the iceberg. You have Dr. Kate Warner, a researcher in Indonesia trying to cure autism and some kind of special agent David Vale doing something. And then there’s something about a conspiracy that involves pretty much the entire Earth.
I will be frank about my own bias. I’m not usually huge on the whole “saving the world” ideas, especially “saving humanity” ideas. I’ve always found myself to be more interested in plots that focused on smaller battles, like crimes in the city of Los Angeles, or maybe trying to find out who you really are. On the subject of bias, I also want to mention the disclaimer that I am really not quite a published author and I’m really just a college student who doesn’t really know what she’s doing so maybe I have no place to criticize anything.
I will give The Atlantis Gene the benefit of doubt on its plot. Perhaps other people will find it much more enjoyable than I did. In the same way I can accept that some people may really enjoy parts of The Martian that I did not, I can accept that perhaps some people will like the plot of The Atlantis Gene.
What I couldn’t really stand was how everything was revealed through dialogue. It seemed just about every single plot point, emotion, small unneeded detail was boxed in with quotation marks. Not only was it unrealistic, these giant exposition dialogues that seemed to take up pages on end, I also found it unnecessary. Two scientists don’t have to explain the purpose of their experiment and discoveries only to have the other guy tell him, “You don’t need to tell me that, I worked on it too, now get to the point.” Sure, this is important information the reader needs, but it doesn’t need to be in quotation marks. It also doesn’t have to be so point blank directed at your face.
By having everything pointed out to the reader, including glaringly obvious points, makes the writing a lot less compelling. Perhaps the apparently upcoming movie will make it better. But, in writing, I was really impatient to just get through to the end.
There was also so much background information. I understood the practicality of it–you needed to establish certain points to have the plot make sense, but it really took away from the action of the present plot and I felt weighed down having to push my way through all of this background.
I just wasn’t interested. The plot felt slow and the characters felt very much two-dimensional, like action movie leads. Kate and David went through the right motions, discovering new evidence, saving each other’s lives, and eventually what I think was supposed to be a romance. Could I tell you what made Kate and David stand out?
No. Not really.
Mostly, I just didn’t like this book.
Conclusion: With expository dialogue almost the entire way through, the flat Kate and David fails to move the reader, despite their struggle to apparently save humanity, very much a large-scale event, but one that was still rather difficult to care about as it seemed to be pushed away from the center of attention due to all the background knowledge, also revealed through dialogue between two people who did not need to say it to each other. 2/10.