Agent of Chaos: The X-Files Origins, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Agent of Chaos: The X-Files Origins, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Series pictures Mulder as teen, captures essence of TV show.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Agent of Chaos: The X-Files Origins presents a fairly realistic picture of forensic science and police procedure in 1979. The book also serves as an introduction to the work of renowned science fiction/fantasy writer Michael Moorcock.

Positive Messages

Friends should trust each other with their secrets. The world is stranger than it seems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Fox Mulder is smart, brave, and persistent. He still carries around guilt for not having prevented his younger sister's mysterious disappearance, which often causes problems between him and his father.

Violence

The plot of Agent of Chaos revolves around the kidnapping and murders of young children. Mulder sees one of the bodies but does not witness an actual killing. A supporting character is murdered by government agents.

Sex

Mulder has intense romantic feelings for his friend Phoebe but does not know what to do about them. They share a few passionate embraces and spend a night in bed, fully clothed.

Language

"Hell" is used perhaps a dozen times, "damn" less frequently.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One adult character is identified by his cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Agent of Chaos: The X-Files Origins, Book 1, by YA author Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), is based on the popular X-Files TV show and depicts one of its lead characters, Fox Mulder, as a teen in 1979. The plot revolves around a villain who kidnaps and murders young children, but the level of actual violence is low. A supporting character dies by having his neck snapped. Swearing is limited to a dozen or so uses of "hell" and one or two of "damn." Sexual content is minimal, limited to a few passionate kisses and a night spent in bed with clothes on.

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What's the story?

Set in 1979, AGENT OF CHAOS follows a 17-year-old Fox Mulder as he investigates a series of child abductions and murders in his new home, Washington, D.C. Still traumatized by the bizarre disappearance of his younger sister five years ago, Mulder is determined to rescue the latest victim before she is killed. Assisted by Gimble, his best friend at his new school, and by Phoebe, his longtime crush from his old home, Mulder matches wits with a serial murderer and looks for connections to his missing sister.

Is it any good?

Popular TV characters don't always make a smooth transition from the small screen to the page, but this early adventure of a budding FBI agent stays true to the series while succeeding on its own. Haunted and guilt-ridden about his sister's disappearance, Mulder is an intense main character, but the new supporting characters -- Gimble and Phoebe -- add some much-needed humor and romance. Author Kami Garcia keeps the level of suspense high and knows how to choreograph a creepy encounter. Like the TV series, the book ends with plenty of dangling plot threads, but that sense of ongoing mystery is part of its appeal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Agent of Chaos and conspiracy theories. Why are people willing to believe in them?

  • How is violence used in Agent of Chaos? How do the characters justify its use?

  • Do governments hide information from their citizens? If so, how do they justify it?

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