Review of The Enigma Factor; Book 1

Rating: 9 out of 10.

The Enigma Factor is a compelling and mysterious Sci-Fi novel, co-authored by award-winning authors: Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey who between them have created a unique take on the world of tech. I received a copy of the audiobook for free, so I will be reviewing this work based on the audio quality and the way the book is communicated as well as the content of the story.

Upon listening to the Enigma Factor, not to be confused with the Enigma Code which has been written about in numerous ways within the computer science community, I found it to be a unique take on the topic of AI, tech and programming. I do not pretend to understand the nuances and complexities involved in computer science and programming, so this review is coming from the viewpoint of a service user; a novice at best.

From the get-go, I liked the amount of knowledge on the subject of coding, and from my limited understanding, I thought it was well-explained without being patronising to the reader. The story made a lot of sense as to how the characters made code and pieces of clever software, getting the code to work for them, and the feelings that successful code inspired. My husband is a DevOps Engineer, and he liked the idea of a novel being written about the subject that he loves and appreciated the reference to the popular convention DEF CON, again not to be confused with the American Defence Ready Condition, and this was a nice link to reality. DC is a popular hacker convention usually held in Nevada, USA.

The plot was solid and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the life of Jacob Michaels, who gets pushed and pulled into a dangerous world of tech and treachery, being headhunted for his brilliant mind by different organisations. There was the clear-cut ‘villain’ organisation, who were involved in murder and corruption, trying to get him to come onboard by force before they were usurped by the ‘good guy’ organisation who wanted what was best for Jacob.

Throughout the audiobook, I was eager to see what would happen between Jacob and the Russian ‘villain’ company, and the suspense was built up expertly, which was supported well by the narrator. I do believe that depending on which narrator an author goes for, it can make or break a novel. For example, when J.K Rowling chose Stephen Fry as her novel narrator, it was because he enunciates well, is experienced in speaking and his tone and delivery were perfect for a children and teens novel. The narrator for The Enigma Factor was Steven Jay Cohen, and he delivered the book in a smooth tone that matched the pace of the writing. Cohen was able to speak Spanish in the reading as well as being able to successfully use a Hispanic accent for some characters, it was soothing and convincing to listen to him read, it was as though these characters were real!

The book describes edgy scenes of lust and passion, of which there may be one too many graphic scenes described, but the narrator never made it come across as distasteful, however, reading it may provide a different vibe. People who are seen as ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’ are usually ostracized from society and mocked for being loners, it was refreshing to see a positive attitude for geeks, that they too can have passionate relationships.

There is a plot twist, which I shan’t ruin for you, as it was a satisfying twist that makes the plot even more intriguing and exciting to read. But I shall say this: if you are looking for something different, a read that will challenge your understanding of tech and potentially ignite a spark of interest in reading more sci-fi books, then I think that this is for you. There’s murder, passion, intrigue and best of all, characters that you either love or hate.

Recommendation

While some of the descriptions of tech and the actual coding references may be difficult for absolute beginners, don’t give up on this book as the plot is excellently written and the characters interact well with each other, it would be a shame not to add this to your TBR list! The authors have a brilliant website, where you can find the link below in the references list. You can even read a small sample on their website to get the juices flowing and see if this book is for you or not.

The Enigma Factor Summary

Theme: The novel is based on a contemporary Sci-fi theme, with solid links to the current world which makes the book a more tangible read. There is a strong theme of good versus evil, of right over wrong and morals and ethics are considered, at the level of an adult’s intellectual understanding.

Description: This book is the first of a series, I would describe it to be suitable for an adult audience ages 18+ as there are graphic sex scenes where body parts are described in detail as well as feelings and emotions that children wouldn’t be able to understand.

Narration: This book is written in the third person and covers the viewpoint of different characters throughout the storyline. The storyline focuses on Jacob Michaels, but also looks at several sub-characters to create tension and suspense for the main character.

Narrator: Steven Jay Cohen

The authors use a narrator for the audiobook and the narrator has clear enunciation of most words, as well as being able to perform accents from different parts of the world in a tasteful manner.

The Authors

Breakfield and Burkey

Breakfield is a long-time technology geek who enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. He’s also a fan of wine tasting, wine-making, riding his Harley, cooking extravaganzas, and continues developing his woodworking skills.
Burkey is a customer-experience technology-focused professional who has a writing passion. She has written white papers and technology documents but prefers the freedom of fictional writing. She is a fan of learning, travel, family, outdoor activities, good food, wine sampling, reading, and friends.
They love telling a good story framed with the possibilities of today’s technology and humour. They believe that ‘Tech·nol·o·gy (tekˈnäləjē) – is “…today’s weapon of choice…”

References

DEF CON Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEF_CON

Enigma Book Series – https://www.enigmabookseries.com/the-enigma-factor/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheEnigmaSeries/

Press Release – https://enigmabookseries.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Press-Release-for-The-Enigma-Factor_final.pdf

Steven Jay Cohen – https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenjaycohen/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/EnigmaSeries

What is DEFCON? – Article – https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/02/27/defcon-nuclear-deterrence-russia-united-states/6964591001/

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Vz4x5ctTnx3yUhZk1OJkw

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