Nov 1, 2018

[Books] The X-Files: Stolen Lives Audible Review

Continuing the story from The X-Files: Cold Cases, The X-Files: Stolen Lives has also received the full Audible full-cast audiobook treatment thus giving us a new venue for following the adventures of FBI agents Mulder and Scully.

These books continue to impress me since it takes a lot of work to put together a typical audiobook, what more a full cast reading that plays out more like a radio play. But it really does a lot for the overall experience and it certainly ups the quality level as well.

And once you go through of these typical narrator-driven audio books tend to pale in comparison. Especially for a book based on a popular TV franchise like this, you'll naturally want to hear all those familiar voices in order to really drive things home.

Synopsis: The X-Files: Stolen Lives is a novel set in the X-Files universe as written by Joe Harris. The story is largely based on Harris' graphic novel of the same name.

In the last book we already experienced the unusual return of familiar faces such as the infamous Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), it was clear that there was even more going on beyond our knowledge. And reactivating the X-Files is but the first step in a much longer journey to try and figure out what is going on. Unfortunately, more old friends stop cropping up here and there and thus it's clear that there is a larger movement behind these apparent clones of the dead.

And that becomes the driving question - who could possibly be bringing these different individuals back. Initially the common thread between them seems to be the old group known as the Syndicate, but there still may be more to things than that. And their initial investigations has them looking into a variety of cases including the bombing of an abortion clinic and an old conspiracy theory about the government experimenting with mind-altering drugs.

What I Liked: As always, the voice-acting behind this audiobook was top notch and very much like watching actual episodes of thes how. It says a lot about how compelling the individual performances were since they totally carry the full weight of the show without relying on visuals or special effects. And man it really takes me back.

The story in itself is one that cuts deep as the returned Syndicate members tend to rely on knowledge of the original episodes. Knowing where the various characters came from just enhances the experience and their involvement was written in a manner that made sure to recap who they were without making it seem like knowledge of the older episodes is critical to appreciating the story as a whole.

What Could Have Been Better: The core conflict of the story and the reveal of the mastermind didn't feel all that great or impactful in the greater scheme of things. It was an interesting way to bring up an older character and make them matter more maybe but the way it was handled and the many scenes we had with this character didn't add all that much to things.

And the drug angle with its inevitable drug trip was amusing at first but eventually just got messy and confusing. And I wanted it to matter more in the long run but it didn't even feel that way either. It was just a narrative distraction that didn't quite pan out as much as I had hoped.

TL;DR: The X-Files: Stolen Lives is still a great follow-up in this Audible original adaptation series and I do hope for more. The story may not always be awesome but the performances more than make up for it and make it all worth it. Thus the book gets a strong 4 mysterious deaths out of a possible 5.

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