Thank you so much to author Patrick Canning for providing me with a copy of Cryptonalia in exchange for this honest review.
Cryptonalia is the direct sequel to Cryptofauna, both books are humorous action adventure fantasy novels that follow a semi-depressed janitor named Jim as he navigates a world-wide game dictated by ancient gods.
At this point in the series Jim has collected his group of friends that help him try to change the world for the better. It’s never fully clear how this game is supposed to accomplish that but they’re trying their hardest. Since they defeated their rival in the first book they are able to accomplish their goals without any direct opposition.
The beginning of this book begins with a handy little recap of the first. I love when sequels do this. It’s often been a year or more since I read a first book in a series and I’m sorry but I forget what happened! I also have a full summary of Cryptofauna if you forgot the finer points as well.
It was a little difficult for me to get back into the swing of this absurdist journey. Mostly because there are a lot of characters with weird names to keep track of. After a few chapters of struggling to remember who’s who and how they all go together Jim splits off from the group on his own journey. This is when things start to really pick up.
Only having to focus on one main character smoothes out the pacing and allows the reader to sink into the wackiness. Jim is vaguely aware of the upcoming Cryptonalia, a sort of Cryptofauna olympics that only takes place every century, but he is focused on restoring his jinn to his proper form instead of training.
By the time Jim reunites with his group you’ll be ready for the addition of these characters and be able to go along for the ride. And what a ride it is! As with the first book this addition is fast paced and doesn’t allow for a lot of breathing room in between missions.
Entering Cryptonalia involves participating in bizarre challenges against other Operators. The creativity that author Canning put into these challenges is awe inspiring.
The first challenge is fairly simple on the surface, a Mad Max style road race involving all sorts of vehicles from hearse to cement mixer. It’s entertainment pure and simple. But the second challenge is far more complicated. It’s more fun to read how it plays out than to read me gloss over it so trust me on this one. But that challenge is the reason I read that whole night instead of breaking at a chapter.
The entire second half of the book is very exciting and leads up to a third installment that has not yet been completed at the time of writing this review, rest assured I’ll keep you posted.
This series has proven to stay true to its tone, humor, and excessive word play. I love word play, excessive is a positive in this context. I’m also a sucker for stories about the power of friendship and chosen family.
Please help Cryptonalia be successful by reading and reviewing it as well. I need to know what happens next! And maybe the real Cryptonalia is the friends we make along the way? That, and revolution against the powers that be.
5/5 ladybugs 🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞
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For another great action adventure check out Skullcrack City