Complex Story With More Action Than Medical. I came into this book after having won an ARC of it in the Readers Coffeehouse (Facebook group) Great Big Book Giveaway Day 2022 and having not read Book 1 (Adverse Effects). Honestly, with the amount of story that happened before this book began (that gets repeatedly referenced when necessary here – in case anyone wants to avoid spoilers from that book), it seemed like this book was *much* deeper into the series than just Book 2. I honestly thought this was somewhere in the Book 3 – 5 range as I was reading it.
And while the overall story here is absolutely more action based than medical – though there is certainly a major medical mystery happening – and *is* very complex (more complex than say a typical Crichton, less complex than say a Robert Ludlum Bourne series book), it is also quite interesting and compelling. Shulkin here manages to take some scifi-ish concepts (ala, arguably most famously, Total Recall) and combine them with some more modern dissociative identity stories (ala Kerry Lonsdale’s Everything trilogy) to create an innovative mythos and rare (in my vast reading) hero and villain who each share the same condition and use it in completely different ways.
As complex as this is – and perhaps those coming from Book 1 won’t find it as complex – this is also one of the more interesting overall mythoi I’ve found in recent years, and I will absolutely be back for the next book, whenever that may come. Very much recommended.
This review of Toxic Effects by Joel Shulkin was originally written on August 25, 2022.