Like I have anticipated after reading a sample chapter from the previous book The Alignment Ingress, Felicia Hajra-Lee’s writing style is more agreeable to me. It does not feel like trying to fit Ingress into an established storyline like Thomas Greanias’s book does. It feels like I am reading a book on Ingress told from the inside. In the previous book, Ingress was described like a digital game mashed into a classic treasure hunt plot. Hajra-Lee’s approach is different. She has shared insights on what exotic matter does (in fact, Exotic Matter was the original title of this book) and how XM affects the bodies of some. There is this subtle notion of the two opposing ideals a similar way that we have the two factions in game. One that opposes to being ‘shaped’ by the XM transmission and one that embraces that for our next evolution. I would say The Niantic Project Ingress is bias towards the Resistance faction – at least that is how I perceived it to be. But I suppose a story told from one perspective can be an engaging read.
Those who have followed Ingress on Google+ may be aware of the ‘real life’ events that happened around (government funded?) Niantic Lab. The facility has been locked down after an explosion due to an experiment that involved exotic matter and power cube. Since then, key characters have fled the premise with valuable information. Kill orders have been issued. Even ADA the virtual reality entity seems to have come up with her own agenda. Without a base, some of these key characters have decided or being forced to approach the Chinese and the Russian in order to continue the project using private funding. And then, a third organization seems to have formed by the ‘patriots’.
There is plenty of action, plenty of intriguing insights in the world of Ingress. The narration of this novella tends to flip between different characters rather frequently making it at times a slightly disorientating read. And it does not have that climatic ending that makes you go wow. Yet another introduction on what is to come? Judging from where this book is heading as well as the Ingress events that took place in Google+, the next chapter of this Niantic archives series could well be heading to anomaly whereby a new type of matter is found – dark matter or chaotic matter. I am excited to find out more.