I really wanted to fully enjoy this book and come out with rave reviews, but a few things fell flat for me in this media tie-in novel by Christa Faust. But one of the largest flaws of the novel that I could not get past, was the characterization of the canon characters like Nina and Walter. William Bell is just as I would expect him to be, but then again I would have expected something different given this is when the trio is young and not after they’ve faced the trials and tribulations of the world. The Zodiac Paradox takes place when in 1971, Walter and William trip on some super acid that links their minds together with the Zodiac killer and ultimately brings him over through a rip in space and time.
I went in expecting nothing. I was not sure how to react to a younger Walter, after all what made me love him was how flawed he was as a character after his incarceration and after he had parts of his brain missing (as macabre as that sounds). Faust attempts at writing a youthful Walter, but at some points comes off as too childish or too reminiscent of an older Walter. There is no stability in the image of the character.
What I did really enjoy, and what kept me going despite rough patches in canon characterization, was the writing of the Zodiac killer. I was intrigued immediately by the character, and especially Faust’s depiction of him. The initial introduction of the character is the strongest. Throughout the novel I found myself leading with that expectation, so as the story progressed, when the character proved to be a little lackluster, I still tried to stick with the character despite already having some problems with him.
However, there is some severe lack of world-building and leaving some large patches of information out assuming the reader is already a fan of the television series. Although Faust does not lack in the descriptions she uses to establish the time period, from the beginning to the end, we are pretty much glaringly aware that this is the 70’s. The novel itself runs very much like a two-episode plot of a television show. Except, again, the lack of world building only forces me to pigeon hole the characters and setting into settings from the show.
However, this book deserves the stars I gave it because as a media tie-in, this book is not that bad. It’s an enjoyable read if you don’t focus in on things too much. I was very excited to read this novel, but after getting about half way I was trudging through the trenches. The inconsistencies along with multiple grammatical and spelling errors kept me from speeding through. I think that Faust’s other novels, like The Burning Man and Sins of the Father might be a better read. She seems to grasp what the characters are in the show. And I think with characters like Olivia and Peter, who are much more stable, it could be great.
Nina, Walter, and William are the most enigmatic and difficult characters to get a full grasp of and so I think for what it’s worth, Christa’s novel is worth checking out. If you are a fan, this could easily be a favorite. But sadly for me, it deflated.