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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Synarchy: The Duology by Crystal Storm is a genre-bending science fiction thriller and a combination of two books in the titular series with book one, The Awakening, leading the charge, and book two taking the flaming baton in The Ascension. This is a pairing with an incredible amount going on, so bear with me while I try to break it down simply. Marcello Terenzio, the patriarch of a crime family who makes the Corleones look like a bunch of aimless zooplankton, is gone. Morto. Caput. The legacy of his offspring is now in on the walloping battlefield spanning many lifetimes and dimensions, with players and counter-players and aliens. Like most families, the Terenzios fight. Unlike most families, the Terenzios kill each other through ways and means that ripple through the universe, while the ones we actually want to live are also required to hunt down and fight the alien godfather of all things horrible wrapped up in one, the Anunnaki and The Brotherhood. The triple-progeny of the Terenzios have to find and stop this mess in order to save the world.
Do you need a break? Not now. This is important.
The Awakening is the fast-paced but still somehow simmering build-up to The Ascension. There is a ton of shifts between time and characters and places and ideas, and even Loki has a cameo. The multiple points of view transition within a few heartbeats of each other and, at first, it felt like I'd met my Everest in Synarchy and my Sherpa, author Crystal Storm, is kind of mean. Then, it all started to click together and I realized Storm is not the Sherpa, but the keyholder for the entire Mahalangur Himal. It's genius. By the time I was in The Ascension, my marathon kicks were off and my gold sprinting spikes were on. I felt the scientific and problem-solving aspects in the second half of the series was stronger and because I understood the family dysfunction, dynamics, dysfunction, love, dysfunction, ride-or-die, and dysfunction that was highlighted in the first half, I could focus more on the “what are they going to do to save us” over the “what are they going to do to save themselves from each other”. The Brotherhood, Anunnaki, and the rulers of all rulers are exceptionally well-crafted adversaries and, really, they are worthy of a spin-off prequel of their own. I'm grateful the two books came to me at the same time because I'm not so sure I'd have walked away feeling good about myself without some loose Awakening strings being ties in Ascension. But we are here now and, given the opportunity, I think readers looking for a thorough bit of sci-fi fantasy will love this.