Review of The Enigma Cube

I was up late one night randomly sifting through the Kindle Store on the lookout for my next read. After nearly 30 minutes of electronic rabbit holes I had given up finding something to read. I had seen adverts for The Enigma Cube on my Kindle’s off screen. I normally do not select ebooks based on the ads that Amazon sent me but this time I did it on a whim. What transpired as a fun and fast paced sci-fi action thriller.

Initially set in the near future, the reader is introduced to the main protagonists. They’re enjoyable enough if somewhat idealistic in both thoughts and prose. We deal with an enhanced soldier and a baseline human female and the two do have chemistry which makes for enjoyable reading. It also helps that there are a variety of witty responses and sarcastic comebacks thrown in with some sci-fi references that will make any true nerd in the 21st century happy. What struck me as interesting was the way that the author dealt with the two timelines within the novel. The initial timeline takes place in the USA in the mid 2020s. During this time, the American government has discovered the “Enigma Cube”. It’s actually not called this in the novel but it’s better than just saying “cube”. We discover that this cube has the power to control space and eventually, time. The Chinese, of course, know about this cube as well through some techno wizardry and of course want it.

Approximately midway through the novel the main characters are transported back to the world in the midst of WW2. Through scenes taking place in both Berlin and Canada we come to learn of how the “Enigma Cube” was discovered and how it almost fell into the hands of Nazi Germany. And this is where the timelines play a fun tug of war with the reader. While time travel is involved, there is a plot twist that was enjoyable enough to tie the two timelines together in a way that would have made for a satisfying closure without needing to explore the WW2 timeline in greater detail. But, we get that anyway which is great. There’s even a moral conundrum which makes one really think about whether or not changing the past would make the future better.

The book ends with some nice emotional prose about family and finding meaning and connection in life which helps to humanize the characters. All in all this was a fun book and one that I would recommend.

The Long Winter Trilogy Review

The Long Winter trilogy penned by A.G. Riddle is an intriguing and engrossing story that touches on all the biggies in Science Fiction. There is action and adventure as well as romance while set against the backdrop of the impending demise of the human species. So, apropos for a COVID world. The pacing in each novel is good. There are good action scenes which wrap up at just the right moment to keep the adrenaline flowing. There are great scenes of mystery and wonder which tickle the imagination but bring it back down to reality before you forget what you were reading. There is also just enough tension and introspection between the main characters Emma and James to make them likable.

The essential gist is that the sun is slowly dimming which is causing havoc on Earth. The main characters, and a supporting cast, have to figure out why. Going any further than that would spoil the rest of the story from about the middle of the first book onward. There are some good twists in the story which line up for a pretty good ending. The book is lite on subplots so the main story is easy to follow. I would have liked to have some additional POVs beyond just Emma and James though both characters were separated enough to generate good variety in the plot.

My only two criticisms are specific to James’s thought process and a chunk of the last book. I found James’s ability to answer all the questions in the first book to be a little too convenient. However, this is addressed in the other two books to some extent. This makes James more human and relatable. This is also poses an interesting question in the series about certain decisions made by characters unseen. As for the “chunk of the last book”, let’s just say that most of the questions were answered. And they were answered well. But I think the story could have gotten there in half the amount of words.

That being said, the ending left me feeling good. It also really drives home the importance of not losing out human connections with one another. I recommend this book if you like Sci-Fi action/adventure novels that have a good blend of action and cerebral questions that make your head explode.

4.5/5 stars.

And now, a haiku. This might contain spoilers so read at your own risk!

Sun slowly fading
Earth becoming iceball
Just one of many