Close your eyes and imagine an adventure where a brilliant scientist, two covert agents, a space ship captain, and a sentient AI crystal attempt to save the world from an impending attack from an alien spacecraft. Now open your eyes. Welcome to Crystal Deception.
Expectations were through the roof for this new release from Crystal Fab. The four-gen prototype was so advanced, it should have the thinking and reasoning capability of more than a thousand human brains.
Author Doug J. Cooper created a masterpiece work of science fiction full of original concepts and characters with an action-packed, fast pace that’ll make you break a sweat while reading it. The book sucked me right into the adventure from beginning to end. I couldn’t put the book down until I finished it. Yes, I lost sleep, but it was worth it.
Crystal Deception starts where all great sci-fi books should – in a lab. Inside this lab, Dr. Jessica ‘Juice’ Tallette stares at a prototype artificial intelligence she created, made from a crystal. This fourth-generation crystal contains the “thinking and reasoning capability of more than a thousand human brains.” The previous generation crystals, third-gen, are equal to one human. Humans use third-gen crystals to replace humans in many workforce roles, allowing humanity to work less (or at least at less trivial jobs).
They’re installed in operations that range from hospitals and sports arenas, to manufacturing plants and Fleet military spacecraft.
-Juice, speaking about third-gen crystals
Dr. Tallette, along with many third-gen crystals, built the fourth-gen. Even Tallette herself does not understand how the crystals work. You see, there’s been a spaceship orbiting Earth for the last twenty years, with alien beings called Kardish aboard. The Kardish provided the knowledge and materials to build the crystals, instructing Earth’s scientists to begin mass-producing them.
Due to the existence of an alien species with more advanced technology than those on Earth, the world’s leaders (or at least 80% of them) joined forces and created “The Union of Nations,” a single, worldwide government. The Union also began a Fleet service of starships, in case the Kardish turned out to be hostile.
With the completion of the first successful build of a fourth-gen crystal, the world anticipates a mass-production of the new crystals. That is until one major event changes everything.
Character Development at Its Finest
Good plot? Check. Cool tech? Check. But where Crystal Deception shines brightest is in character development. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that fleshed out not one but 5 different characters – and one was a crystal! At one point, while reading the book, I realized I anticipated certain characters’ decisions. There’s only one way that’s possible – when an author executes character development to perfection.
Criss, the sentient AI, had an edge to it as you’d expect in any sci-fi plot, but it also had a deep level of humanity. There’s an underlying internal conflict as it becomes more aware of its existence, adding tension to the plot. Will it turn against humanity? Or will he protect them?
Juice, Sid, Cheryl, and Jack combine to form a fantastic group of protagonists. They each have their own personalities and capabilities, and Cooper managed to create a well-balanced book. Dialog never felt more in favor of one character than another. I’d reach a point in a chapter where I’d start wondering what was happening to the other characters, and as if Cooper read my mind, the book shifted to that storyline.
The book culminates with all parts of the story (which happen concurrently) meet up in the last third of the book, tying things together most satisfyingly.
The Kardish Need More Attention
My one gripe about Crystal Deception was the lack of characterization of The Kardish. They play such a central role in the entire plot, but Cooper breezed through their backstory. I understand his reason for that, though. The Kardish wasn’t central to the story, the part that makes you think. They merely provided the scene for the fantastic action sequences throughout the middle of the book.
At its core, Crystal Deception dissects what it would be like for humanity to face a sentient being which they created. It’s a concept written about extensively in the realm of sci-fi, and rightfully so. To write a successful book that intelligently poses the dialog and inner thoughts as Cooper did in Crystal Deception shows the author’s deep understanding of the human psyche.
Luckily for us, Crystal Deception is book one in a four-book series, so this book is the beginning of what must be an exciting, intellectual action-adventure.
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