Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free ebook ARC of Planned Obsolescence: A Manuscript of Life by Lorin Brandon.
Don’t let the title or cover fool you; this is a work of fiction. I enjoyed reading this one. I felt the author did a great job with the characters and with providing an interesting narrative; I love the idea of conspiracies, ancient manuscripts, artifacts, etc. so this story was right up my alley. I highly recommend this book for people who also find those elements compelling.
Planned Obsolescence Loudhailer Books, it's 361 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.
This is an interesting and well written fictional deep dive about the role religion plays in humanity's development and existence, consensual reality, perception, self determination, all wrapped up in an ancient mystery. There will be inevitable comparisons to Dan Brown's Langdon books (Da Vinci code, et. al.). I also got a distinct faint Lovecraftian vibe from some of the setup (creepy forbidden manuscript, secret societies, indifferent/absent/malevolent alien overlords, etc).
Three and a half stars. An interesting and thought provoking book. Well written.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
I wasn’t initially sure what to make of this book when I chose to read it. I’m glad I read it! Planned Obsolescence is really a story of a bereaved father struggling with his religious beliefs (he’s Catholic)/belief in God after the death of his son. Ironically, as an archaeologist, he finds himself with and taking advantage of an opportunity that allows him to debate his stance with the Vatican. This debate was powerful and really does get one to think about who they are and from where they originate. It also gets one to ask, is there a God? Thought provoking and a good read! I really had a difficult time putting the book down!
Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
An excellent read with a brilliant opening. Full of satire. Recommended.
This book promised to be as moving and monumental as Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code, but the opening scene was even more compelling.
I was hooked on this book from the very beginning. A professor was being chased by his students before jumping in front of a train after examining a strange artefact.
But that was a fast-forward to a scene that happens mid story. The book tells of Catholic Dr Consuelo and his happy, loving family. But sadly His son becomes irrevocably ill with a deadly disease and is taken before his time, with his mother, unable to take it, parting shortly after.
Dr Consuelo turned to his pastor for counselling, but in the end, he can simply no longer believe in a benevolent, all-powerful God.
Then the real story begins when a miner discovers a glowing, purple, levitating artefact buried deep underground.
A buzz soon follows as people learn about it, but attention to it is quashed as much as possible.
Dr Consuelo, however, is a leading para-archeologist (I didn’t even know that was a thing), and he can think of nothing else.
Although Consuelo fails to get his hands on it at this point, he does take part in a video call where the artefact is examined by another colleague.
The artefact is no ordinary manuscript. It automatically converts to the language of whoever is reading it.
As the manuscript is read, it turns out the author of the manuscript is proclaiming himself to be an overlord of planet earth, placed here to implement change and control society.
But before anymore can be learned, the electricity goes out and the video call seizes, cueing the actions of the original opening scene.
Consuelo now wants more than anything to get to the bottom of all this, and before you know it, he’s visited by two members of the Vatican, and is invited to the Vatican to examine the artefact, which has now come into their possession.
This is the point where the nature of the writing changes and is concentrated on fierce, blunt, rigorous debate. And it’s worth reading the book for this element alone, especially if you are or have ever been religious.
Consuelo agrees to examine the artefact at the Vatican, and hopes to have the artefact delivered to his university for further analysis.
When Consuelo does examine the artefact, a strange phenomenon occurs (don’t worry, no spoilers).
Consuelo is convinced that the artefact is genuine, and during his audience with the Pope, he seeks to back up what the manuscript says.
As time progresses, more and more people in this select audience appear to become convinced by what Consuelo (and his assistant) have to say on the matter.
I won’t give away the ending, but I will offer up my opinion. I really enjoyed reading this book, and being open to the sorts of events that the manuscript suggested.
However, I am not a religious person, and believe that a story like this would be even more powerful to a reader who was.
I did find some flaws in the book. I wondered why the artefact wasn’t immediately dismissed as a hoax by the Vatican, and I don’t understand their motives in inviting someone to examine, unless they thought said individual would declare it a hoax.
The story also failed to get into what the true motives of the “overlord” were, which I felt ought to have been a key part of the story.
The story also left out any discussion of why the manuscript existed in the first place, since it claimed that the contents of the manuscript were deemed to be so secret.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in religion and ethics, so long as any religious people reading are not easily offended.
I enjoyed this book overall. It does read as if it is written in 2020 by a conspiracy theorist, but since I personally enjoy reading and learning about different theories, I thought it was great.
This was a brilliant story. I loved the opening, and as someone who has been a bit disillusioned by organized religion, I really appreciated the satire in this book. I appreciated the way religion was approached, and I liked Dr Consuelo from the start. The book has quite a bit of depth, and will make you re-examine how you think about religion and God, even if you aren't a believer. Highly recommend, especially for those who are a bit jaded with life.
I felt very excited by this storyline - the discovery of an ancient manuscript two miles down a goldmine, which (though ancient) is clearly from an advanced society. This could mean there’s a whole new way of looking at our existence, and more importantly, it calls into question the very foundation of The Church, of Christianity itself.
Our main protagonist Para-Archeologist Dr Manuel Consuelo is invited by The Vatican to examine this manuscript, a manuscript that has already caused the death of the previous person to examine it - traumatised by the effects of the manuscript, he took his own life. Although Consuelo has some anxiety about dealing with it, his desire to discover its contents are overwhelming, after all, this may be the discovery of a lifetime!
This is pretty scary stuff, given it describes the reality of life as we live it, and begs the question, are most of us here on earth enslaved - are we the subjects of invisible overlords? Dr Consuelo’s conclusions lead to some fierce debate about religion and beliefs between himself and The Vatican, and what the revelations in the manuscript mean, and what it’s meant to depict, depending on one’s own point of view or particular beliefs.
Is what’s revealed here a stretch of the imagination, or could there be a smattering of the truth? There’s one thing for sure, this will raise lots of questions and make you look at your place in the world!
Would have preferred a little less debate but admit it was necessary in the context of the book, nevertheless I still enjoyed it.