The Zodiac Paradox

The Zodiac Paradox by Christa Faust, Fringe #1

Never-before-revealed secrets of the characters, leading to the creation of the government's covert Fringe Division. 

In 1971 university students Walter Bishop and William Bell use an exotic chemical compound to link their subconscious minds. Unexpectedly, they open a rip in space through which comes a menace unlike any our world has ever seen - the Zodiac Killer. His singular goal is death, and it falls to Bishop, Bell, and Nina Sharp to stop him.


The Zodiac Paradox is the first tie-in novel set in the Fringe universe. Fringe is a well popular TV series that has been airing for five seasons with 100 episodes. I have watched several episodes myself and I am a big fan of the supernatural aspects. The tie-in novels aim to reveal much more about the the mythology of Fringe and how everything came to pass. Featuring never before aired material. In total three books will be released: The Zodiac Paradox, The Burning Man and Sins of the Father. 

The first book in the series, The Zodiac Paradox, picks up in September of 1968, and introduces us to Walter Bishop and William Bell. They are experimenting with several hallucinogenic substances trying to link their subconscious together. But what they hadn't expect was what they brought along with it, opening a gate from another dimension, giving rise to a new Zodiac Killer. However they do not fully understand until a few years later when there are newspaper articles and photographs and things fall into place. Now it falls into the hands of these scientists to undo what they have brought into the world. But not really understanding what they did and how they did it and even how to catch the Zodiac Killer, Walter and William have a lot to learn... 

The Zodiac Paradox is the first tie-in book to the popular TV series, however for me with only having watched a couple of episodes, a lot of the idea's and the general descriptions felt new and  very interesting. The books starts of with the right set of mind, introducing the events that will eventually lead up to the chase to catch The Zodiac Killer in the remainder of the book. When I first read the scenes is was like, "Ok, what?" but later on you get to learn more and more on how everything came to pass and I think that this is one aspect where the book gets it's strength from, slowly building up the storyline step by step, exposing more and more of the first steps of the frigne division. Which makes this book, I think, in addition to readers who are familiar with Fringe a valuable addition to get more background information, and for reader who are like me less familiar a great new start of an interesting series. In essence it's a great supernatural thriller/crime, if you have never heard of Fringe before.

The two main characters, William and Walter are shown just in a spot on manner regarding their background and their part in the story. They are both scientists and this greatly reflects how they act in the book. Wanting to find out how things exactly work but also, giving great thought about how to plan it, being confronted with The Zodiac Killer they come to the conclusion that it is better from them to do a mind-to-mind battle instead of challenging him physically and of course repeat the experiment! This both gives some laughable moments but also some very serious and tense moments. Nina Sharp comes in the story a bit later on, her job feels that she is more or less keeping Walter and William in check, not to let their enthusiasm run to wild of a course. In terms of each of the three main characters, Christa Faust has done an excellent job in voicing them, they feel young, vibrant and are keen on undertaking. 

The bad guy of the story, The Zodiac Killer get his own point-of-view in the story, though a bit more early compared to the later parts of the book. This does add another layer to the story. The Zodiac Killer is clearly a psychopath and his action really reflect this, but he is also struggling with himself what he now is and the pleasing the voices in his head. When I read a the introduction of "Dear Editor" I knew that his character would haunt me, and he did. He is creepy and doesn't show remorse, especially when you see him lurking in the shadows planning his next move, there are also a few close encounters between him and Walter and William where I actually thought it would be a done deal. I really like when bad guys get their own visions in a book, really adds much more flavour to the story. 

The mythology of Fringe is shown in a nice way in The Zodiac Paradox, laying the focus on the early discovery and the subsequent testing of the drug Cortexaphan. Because the original TV series starts of with several things already well established, these new insights in the book about everything for me proved to be really fruitful, and I am interested to learn more and more about it the history in the books to follow. The Zodiac Paradox can be read as a stand alone book since the story is well contained and has a solid ending, lets see what else will be revealed soon!

The Zodiac Paradox makes up great start of this tie-in series (just a note: not having watched all the episodes I cannot say it has all new info), but I can say that I enjoyed it a lot and when read without any or less knowledge of the TV series proves to be just as great. Christa Faust wrote up a great beginning of the book, building up the story step by step with all that was possible and the consequences of the actions. Making this introduction and describing the events in a engaging manner which made me feel right here in the story. The whole supernatural aspect of the book resonates quite nicely through the pages and the eagerness of William and Walter to explore the possibilities of the drug and that even they don't fully understand the potential yet, leaves enough open space for the story to continue with. The second book in the Fringe series, The Burning Man was released July 16th by Titan Books.

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