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The X-Files: Origins #2

Devil's Advocate

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How did Fox Mulder become a believer? How did Dana Scully become a skeptic? The X-Files Origins has the answers in this young adult origin story.

The X-Files Origins: Devil's Advocate will explore the teen years of Dana Scully, the beloved character depicted in the cult-favorite TV show The X-Files. Her story is set in the spring of 1979, when serial murder, the occult, and government conspiracy were highlighted in the news.

The book will follow Scully as she experiences life-changing events that set her on the path to becoming an FBI agent.

Don’t miss The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos, by Kami Garcia, about 17-year-old Fox Mulder.

An Imprint Book

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 3, 2017

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About the author

Jonathan Maberry

468 books7,022 followers
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-seller and Audible #1 bestseller, five-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, anthology editor, comic book writer, executive producer, magazine feature writer, playwright, and writing teacher/lecturer. He is the editor of WEIRD TALES Magazine and president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. He is the recipient of the Inkpot Award, three Scribe Awards, and was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than thirty countries. He writes in several genres including thriller, horror, science fiction, epic fantasy, and mystery; and he writes for adults, middle grade, and young adult.

Jonathan is the creator, editor and co-author of V-WARS, a shared-world vampire anthology from IDW Publishing that was adapted into a NETFLIX series starring Ian Somerhalder (LOST, VAMPIRE DIARIES).

His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuted in 2018 and was followed by LOST ROADS in fall 2020. ROT & RUIN is in development for film by ALCON ENTERTAINMENT and was adapted as a WEBTOON (a serialized comic formatted for cell phones), becoming their #1 horror comic.

His novels include the enormously popular Joe Ledger series from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel) and eleven other volumes, most recently RELENTLESS. His middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY (Simon & Schuster) was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015. His standalone novels include MARS ONE, GLIMPSE, INK, GHOSTWALKERS (based on the DEADLANDS role-playing game), X-FILES ORIGINS: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, and THE WOLFMAN --winner of the Scribe Award for Best Movie Adaptation

His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books (GHOST ROAD BLUES, 2006, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel and named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium; DEAD MAN’S SONG, 2007; and BAD MOON RISING, 2008; as well as DEAD OF NIGHT, and its sequels, FALL OF NIGHT, DARK OF NIGHT, and STILL OF NIGHT.

His epic fantasy series, KAGEN THE DAMNED debuts in May 2022. And he just signed to co-author (with Weston Ochse) a new series of military science fiction novels that launches the SLEEPERS series. Jonathan will also be launching a new series of science fiction horror novels for the newly established Weird Tales Presents imprint of Blackstone Publishing.

He is also the editor of three THE X-FILES anthologies; the dark fantasy anthology series, OUT OF TUNE; SCARY OUT THERE, an anthology of horror for teens; and the anthologies ALIENS: BUG HUNT, NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD (with George Romero), JOE LEDGER UNSTOPPABLE (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt); two volumes of mysteries: ALTERNATE SHERLOCKS and THE GAME’S AFOOT (with Michael Ventrella); and ALIENS V PREDATOR: ULTIMATE PREY (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt). He is also the editor of DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, the official tribute to SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. His next anthology will be ALIENS VS PREDATOR: ULTIMATE PREY (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt), debuting in spring 2022.

Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary series, ZOMBIES: A Living History and TRUE MONSTERS. And he was participated in the commentary track for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED.

His many nonfiction works include VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006); THE CRYPTOPED

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 260 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,463 reviews9,618 followers
February 16, 2017
Young Scully. She's a loner, mostly hanging out with her sister, Melissa, taking martial arts, doing yoga, oh and going to school. She does have a little love interest for a bit =) ❤

There is some crazy stuff going on where Dana and her family moved. Kids are getting killed in a numerous amount car accidents. Dana is seeing ghosts, the devil or angels or something.

and THEN . . .

some things are found out and this is what Scully becomes in her adult life ↓

Granted, I can understand why after all of this stuff goes down, Scully would be a skeptic. BUT <-- there's always a but . . . just because this one super cray incident happened when she was younger doesn't mean that it's always some kind of a hoax or not real, what have you. It was pretty messed up, but I digress.

I still love Scully and I loved the way Jonathan Maberry depicted young Scully in the book =)

Now, when are the authors going to write more stories of young Mulder and young Scully because some of us want more! ❤

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,653 reviews1,688 followers
February 20, 2017
I mean, I hate to be that person, but Hashtag Not My Scully (#NotMyScully).

I wasn't precisely looking forward to this book, despite being the owner of a beyond huge X-Files obsession that permeated my adolescence, but it seemed like a fun idea, if executed properly. I wasn't as worried for the Mulder one in this pair of books, because his story as a teenager practically writes itself. Also, Kami Garcia seemed like a good choice. She knows the genre, and is successful in it. But this Maberry guy? Never heard of him. Also, he doesn't write YA. Also, and I'm not saying dudes can't write realistic teenage girls, because they can; I've seen it happen. But what I really wanted from this book (an emotional, deep-dive character study of Scully as a teenager) seemed unlikely given the choice of author. So I was worried about this book, but I had no idea how much I would dislike it. All my worries were very much justified, and then some.

Main complaint out of the way first: this book was dull as hell, and for an X-Files story especially, felt incredibly generic. Every character in this book was a 2-D cardboard cutout, including Scully, who Maberry seems to have smushed into place to fit in with the other 2-D cardboard cutout characters. His writing has no voice to it, and that's a crime in my book because he cardboarded my beloved Scully.

My second most important complaint follows squarely on the heels of the first: this character going by the name of Scully is not Scully. I did not believe for one second that this girl would grow up into the secure, confident, intelligent, focused, scientific and skeptical badass we meet in the pilot. Maberry has this character wanting to believe (literally, that's the first line of the book), and letting Melissa take her to yoga classes, and she frequents psychics and all kinds of New Age stuff. This book has at its very core premise the idea that Scully became a skeptic solely because of the (dumb) events of this book. That is a reduction of the character, and it is lazy writing. Scully is a skeptic because she's a skeptic. It's who she is at her core. She craves order and reason, and her religious faith has always been a nice contradiction to that, because she struggles with it constantly. She doesn't believe in anything easily.

I always pictured a teenaged Scully as more of a rebel when I thought about it, someone who got all her wild oats out young and then matured into someone who liked to uphold the rules. I pictured her a little like this:


There are a million different variations of young Scully I would have bought (in fact, I have bought them by the hundreds in my obsessive fanfic-reading days), but the one found in Devil's Advocate isn't one of them.

As if all of that wasn't bad enough, Maberry fills the book with dumb shoutouts and Easter Eggs that explode the continuity of the world and cheapen the things he references. Scully or her "friends" say nearly all the famous catchphrases, including the aforementioned "I want to believe," and "trust no one". The presence of psychic phenomena he has Scully experience undercuts the weirdness she will experience for the first time when working with Mulder. The presence of the Syndicate as the villains behind these events was the last straw. The sheer laziness of including them astounds me. Maberry completely wastes a genuine chance to flesh out the Scully family and Scully's relationship to them in a meaningful way, which is something that has needed doing for years now. He also fails to competently explore the following: Scully's religious faith, her devotion to rational thought and science, how she got into medicine, her identity as a military brat, her friendships (or lack thereof), her relationship with her sister, her behavior at school, and well, any sort of meaningful character development at all. To name a few things.

If you are an X-Files die-hard like me (and especially if you heart Dana Scully), take a hard pass on this one. Also, if you're not, take a hard-pass, because I don't imagine this book would be interesting to anyone who isn't already an X-Files fan, although according to an interview with the author, he and Garcia were both instructed to make the books accessible to non-fans.

I debated whether to one- or two-star this, but in the end, I enjoyed nothing about it, so easy decision.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews702 followers
February 10, 2017
I've always been a fan of Scully, but Mulder has always been my favorite. With this story, it was awesome to see into her head and get an idea of where she got to where she was in the series.

The plot was deliciously creepy and full of tension and kept me guessing the entire time. And the epilogue was seriously satisfying.

**Huge thanks to the publisher for sending me an early copy**
Profile Image for Mandy.
636 reviews67 followers
September 26, 2017
Okay, I was not a fan of this. I'm so deep in the middle of an X Files spiral right now, and Mulder and Scully are just amazing. I love these two so dearly. After reading the absolutely wonderful first book of this series, I was so excited to read about my fierce and fantastic leading lady, Dana Scully. Scully is brilliant - not only as a doctor but a developed skeptic and a fighter. She kicks some major butt, but this book did not do her justice.

This Scully did not have the same feeling as the Scully in the show. Obviously that Scully is a much more experienced and mature Scully, but I didn't feel anything from this Scully. I felt like she had such a dry personality in this book, and I thought that she focused on things that she didn't mean to. She just didn't feel like Scully, so much I just imagined that this book wasn't about her.

The other characters were quite painful as well. Melissa was always an interesting side character in the show, but I found her to just be a cheap cliche in the book. She was sitting there, singing a song about a witch (fantastic Fleetwood Mac song, though), obsessed with crystals and a shop called Beyond, Beyond. It felt like she was just this side character that was meant to be a caricature of the character of the show and had no depth. The other characters were so boring that I can't even tell you anything about them.

The plot was kind of interesting, but I named the killer the moment that I saw them appear in the book. Literally, the second I saw them, I'm like, yup, you the killer. AND I WAS RIGHT. It was predictable and quite a bit boring that I didn't interest me without the draw of this being Scully's story.

Overall, this was not a good read for me, despite my devotion to The X Files. It didn't feel like Scully, and the story wasn't interesting enough to keep me intrigued without the draw of her. The characters and plot didn't bring the love that the first book in the series brought to me. 1 crown and a Merida rating from me!
Profile Image for Leah.
263 reviews14 followers
February 5, 2017
I had a really hard time getting into this story. It's unfortunate since I absolutely adored Mulder's Origins. It was hard for me believe that this was the backstory of the Dana Scully we grew to know and love from The X-Files, whereas with young Mulder it was easy to picture him as the long haired 17 year old that Kami Garcia wrote about.

I also found the story to be a bit predictable. If you read a good bit, you can probably guess what's going on and the identity of a certain person/thing before the big reveal. The writing is very eerie, and I found myself getting creeped out quite a bit. Maybe if the two Origins were written by the same author I would have liked it more? I don't know. I'm just sad to say I wasn't a fan.
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books433 followers
February 5, 2017
My original The X-Files: Origins #2 - Devil's Advocate audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

In my previous review of The X-Files Origins Book 1, I noted my skepticism toward a young adult series chronicling Mulder’s and Scully’s adventures as teenagers, well before they become the FBI’s Most Unwanted. I went into these books with an open mind, and having done so I don’t expect I will return to the Origins titles if any more are published.

While the books themselves are not badly written, I can’t help but feel they unnecessarily complicate the already labyrinthine and overly-convoluted mythology of The X-Files. By introducing The Syndicate as background forces in both young Mulder’s and Scully’s lives, there comes with it a degree of water-muddying predestination, manipulation, and issues of fate that put a bit too much strain on my suspension of disbelief. I also can’t help but view Origins, as a whole, as little more than a quick cash grab for the young adult market. Simply put, I much prefer the stories of The X-Files beginning with the 1993 broadcast of the show’s pilot episode, and view these the dual titles of Agent of Chaos and Devil’s Advocate as extraneous, unnecessary additions. Give me a televised season 11 and the Joe Harris comic books at IDW, and I’ll be quite content, though.

So. Devil’s Advocate. Jonathan Maberry tackles a 15-year-old Dana Scully and charts her course as a believer to a skeptic as she gets wrapped up in a serial killer investigation. As much as I enjoyed Maberry’s prior efforts in the young adult genre with his Rot & Ruin books, I found myself struggling a lot with this story. While certain elements make sense by book’s end, I just couldn’t quite make the mental leap in believing the teenage Scully presented here grows into the hardened disbeliever who shoots down every single theory developed by her future partner. This 15-year-old Scully hangs out a New Age headshop called Beyond Beyond (this store also serves as the principle form of connective tissue tying both Origins titles together), getting psychic readings in between having visions of murder and communing with dead people. While there is some precedent for her visions in X-Files canon (see season one’s Beyond the Sea), Maberry lays it on thick and heavy throughout Devil’s Advocate, far too much for my tastes, frankly.

That said, I did enjoy the burgeoning relationship between Scully and her first boyfriend, Ethan, a science club geek with aspirations of becoming a forensic scientist in the future. I also liked the callbacks to those aspects of Scully’s history that viewers learned over the course of the series, such as her talking with Ethan about holding a dying garden snake when she was younger, and her connection with her father over Moby Dick.

Emma Galvin’s narration is very well done throughout. She has a youthful sounding voice that works tremendously well for Scully, and she does a terrific reading of the material, putting in plenty of energy, excitement, and fright at just the right places. As expected with a major publisher, the production quality here is top-notch, with no noticeable hiccups.

Despite being a fan of The X-Files, the Origins titles, taken as a whole, proved to be too frustrating and unnecessary for me to fully enjoy. Neither left me deeply satisfied, and I felt both titles, in their own ways, provided too many extra wrinkles for the larger narrative these young characters will find themselves wrapped up in together during their later years. Devil’s Advocate, like it’s companion piece, Agent of Chaos, provides too little importance for too little reason.

[Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer.com]
Profile Image for Joanne.
73 reviews3 followers
February 6, 2017
Great read for all X-Files fans. Great to see that it stays true to cannon. X-Files fans will eat this up. Even if you have never seen an episode this book will have you hooked from page one. Jonathan Maberry rocks the story-telling as always. You just make sure to read Agent of Chaos as well.

Any hope for more? Until then looking forward to the graphic novels coming up in February.
Profile Image for Scott Rhee.
1,843 reviews68 followers
March 30, 2021
If you were a fan of the TV show “The X-Files”, you’ll know what I’m talking about: Every once in a while, FBI agents Fox Mulder or Dana Scully got their own show. One could immediately recognize it as a “Mulder” episode or a “Scully” episode based on the subject matter.

For the most part, episodes dealing with UFOs, alien abductions, weird creatures, or any other science-fictiony stuff were “Mulder” episodes. Episodes that dealt with spirituality, religion, New Age stuff were “Scully” episodes. It was a running motif throughout the nine-season series.

Jonathon Maberry’s novel “Devil’s Advocate” continues this motif with a story about Scully as an awkward 15-year-old high schooler who isn’t sure what her purpose in life is yet.

Long before she had dreams of being a medical doctor and then an FBI agent, Scully was a quiet, introspective young woman who was doing a lot of soul-searching.

As the book begins, the Scullys have just moved to a new town. Being a Navy brat, Dana is used to moving around a lot, but it’s never easy starting a new school year in a brand new school with new faces.

Francis Scott Key High School is just like any typical high school in the country, except for one thing: the number of drug- and alcohol-related automobile deaths of teenagers within the past year. It’s more than twice the national average.

When Dana has a strange ghostly “vision” of one of the young girls killed recently, she begins to wonder if these recent accidents are really accidents. After befriending a young man named Ethan, whose uncle is a police detective, the two start a secret investigation of their own. What they find is that the evidence points more toward murder than accidental car deaths. But who—-and why—-would anyone want to kill teenagers?

With the help of two older New Age gurus, Dana goes on a vision quest to find answers. She begins to uncover a killer who may or not be a fallen angel imbued with supernatural powers. Indeed, the killer may be the Morning Star himself, Lucifer. Or, he could just be a psychopath who believes that he is Lucifer. Either way, his existence poses a serious threat to herself and the other kids in her school.

Unbeknownst to Scully, a secret organization called the Syndicate is using the town as a laboratory to conduct a deadly experiment…

Maberry’s origin story for Dana Scully is an excellent young adult supernatural thriller, one that can be enjoyed by both fans of the show and those who are coming to the show for the first time. Indeed, the novel would be an excellent introduction for those fortunate enough to never have seen the show but want to.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.9k reviews361 followers
February 7, 2017
Finally a book about the time before the X-files (at least I never saw one about Scully and Mulder in their teenage years). A book about teenage Scully (this book) and teenage Mulder (the Agent of Chaos book). Written by two different writers. I only really read this one, so I can't speak (much) for the Agent of Chaos one (which I kind of dropped, as I couldn't believe Mulder's age, and also a lot of stuff was just a bit to conveniently placed, at least with Scully it felt more believable that this may be what happened to her and that this caused her scepticism).

I did think it was quite interesting that Scully's book was written by a male writer, and Mulder's by a female writer. Not being sexist or whatever, but I just didn't notice until I got the books, before that I thought that Scully was written by the female writer, and Mulder by the male writer. It was quite a nice surprise.

I am quite a fan of X-files (even though I didn't complete the whole series, but more on that in a bit), though mostly of the random monster of the week episodes. The story parts? At times good, most times boring as hell. It was also the cause for me to stop watching halfway into the series. Great characters, wonderful monster of the week episodes, lots of me shipping Mulder and Scully (kiss already!), well-written stories, spookiness, but the story parts that often took quite a spotlight? No. No. No.

Now back to the book. :)
From the start I just knew this was Scully. I am not sure how to explain, but her voice just felt real, it felt truly like Scully, how I would imagine her to sound during those teenage years. She was slightly sceptic during the first pages, but quickly you could see her open up more and more as things got really hairy and scary and proof of something else unnatural got more abundant. I definitely think the author did an amazing job at starting with slight sceptic, then opening up to what might be out of this world, and then, due to stuff losing all hope again (hey, no spoiler, this is Scully, everyone knows she is a sceptic (though from what I could see in the show she is slowly opening up to things again)). Which is logical giving the screwed up stuff happening in the book, and the ending that followed all that stuff. Boy, oh boy. Anyone would turn sceptic when that crap happens to them, when all of that is revealed. When everything is turned upside down. I won't say what happens, you will have to read the book. Muahhaha. :P

The book quickly goes from creepy, to OMG WTH in quick succession. I mostly read this book during the hour I had before I went to sleep, so you can imagine I didn't have much success sleeping. Really, it was that creepy, and there were twists and turns at every corner, every point. Everyone was a suspect in this story.

About the actual culprit? Welllllll, at first I didn't see who was the true culprit to all these things, but then there were some more hints, and I just knew it had to be that person. And it turned out to be that one. But the writer definitely did a wonderful job laying out some false stuff to trick us, and not only us, but also the characters, especially Scully.

We don't only see Scully. Oh no, we also see the agents that follow her. We see the Angel. I definitely like that those were added as it gave a bigger picture to the whole story, plus it did explain a whole lot of details about why Scully is having these visions, why stuff is happening, why she moved (yes, even that).

The visions/dreams? *shivers* There were really creepy, quite disturbing, and bloody at times too.

There were just two points I didn't like in the entire book.

First up the dramarama at the end (come on really was that all needed). It just felt fake, and I just wanted to stop reading. Such a shame. I can imagine things will get out of hand if x and y get revealed, but really this big? Wow.

And second the whole Booohoooo a male is assuming I am a weak girl part and now I hate/dislike his guts and he is such a jerk. That just made my eyes roll out of my skull. It is something I see more and more in books, and instead of feeling sympathetic (because I am a girl myself, so apparently I should agree or something) I just feel like I want to hit something (and I am generally a peace-loving girl). I just feel the girls are being dramaqueens. Especially in this book. The boy, he loves you, he likes you, he is just worried about you, and you know he has a hard time with words when he is around you. He probably knows you can handle yourself or at least mostly (because he knows you do fighting sports and you are oh so tough), but he only wanted to help you, he only wanted to support you. Because, hey, serial killer! But hey girl, if you can handle that on your own, sure. Don't come crying when you get killed, or left for dead, OK? Because yes, I see this happen as well. :| *rolls eyes some more**eyes fall out**gathers them and puts them in and rolls some more*
Poor boys. Poor guys.

Oh, I have one more thing, a good thing, don't worry. The covers! I just love how you can also spot the Scully and Mulder in those. Scully's features her cross necklace, Mulder's has dog tags.

But I am definitely glad I bought and read this book. The author did a great job on writing Scully, the story was creepy, scary, and at times horrible (but not because of the writing, but because of the events happening). I would recommend this one. Though I will warn that it might not be the best idea to read it before going to sleep. Unless you want your dreams to feature a scary angel.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
Profile Image for Amanda.
425 reviews13 followers
May 24, 2017
I am so mad that the first two star rating I'm giving this year is to this book. I was so looking forward to reading the two origin stories for my favorite fictional FBI agents. I even splurged and bought both in hard back signed editions.

This book is supposed to be about a young Dana Scully. It takes place when she's fifteen and living in Maryland. There are a series of strange deaths that she gets wrapped up in, and eventually it's revealed that they're cult murders. All of that was great. I liked the creepy vibe of the town and the secret agents hanging around. I especially liked Scully getting involved with the Science Club geeks.

What I didn't like was all the psychic stuff going on with Scully. When the hell did she become clairvoyant? She's supposed to be the logical one, and in this story she readily believes the mystic stories being spun for her. It didn't fit at all with what we know her character to be.

Also, all the ridiculous political correctness being thrown at you in the most inappropriate times was infuriating. I don't want a chapter break so that the author can preach to me about how I'm racist and men are sexist in the middle of an intense investigation into a psycho killer.

I also feel like the time period setting was wasted. It's supposed to be 1979 but it feels like it could be any time between the 50s or the 90s.

I haven't read Mulder's story yet but I'm hoping it's better. At least if it's good that'll make up for some of this book.
Profile Image for Tracy (Cornerfolds).
569 reviews200 followers
Want to read
February 24, 2016
I have been obsessed with The X-Files for a lot of years and I was just as excited as the next person when I found out about season 10! But... YA X-Files with Scully sans Mulder?

I just don't know what to feel! Here's hoping that Jonathan Maberry does a fantastic job of making Scully hold her own!

Profile Image for Jeimy.
4,539 reviews33 followers
February 27, 2018
I struggled though most of this book which was disappointing because I LOVE Dana Scully. I found this metaphysical aspect of her life difficult to swallow and hard to reconcile with my beloved skeptic. However, Maberry manages to tie it all together during the resolution and epilogue. This does not redeem it enough to earn it a better rating.
Profile Image for Kirsty .
3,223 reviews329 followers
February 4, 2017
I am a huge x-files fan and I was equal part skeptical and excited about reading the x files origins books and on the whole I was reasonably pleased with what I read. They do capture the spirit of the TV series for me getting the essence of both Mulder and Scully right so they feel right as a prequel to the series. I would gladly read more of these following both Mulder and Scully right through until they become the agents we meet in the first x-files series.

Scully's story was awesome. I must admit the main storyline focuses around the ideas of angels and angels are a thing that I just don't like in films or novels so from the outset I was less keen and mostly just kept with it because it was an x-files story. However it does work and makes sense both within the story but also as a story which works with Scully and everything we know about her from the TV series.

The main thought I had about these books is who are they for? They are definitely YA books aimed at Young Adults but how many of those young adults will be familiar with the x-files enough to want to seek them out to read them considering the original x files series hasn't been on TV since the early 2000s? (yes I know the recent reboot was on last year but again I suspect those who watched were those who watched it the first time around). Don't get me wrong they could happily be read as stand alone novels if you haven't watched the series but I don't know anyone would pick stories about characters from a long standing TV series if they hadn't watched any. Equally on the other hand I suspect most x-files fans are now firmly not Young Adults and therefore less likely to pick up YA novels (yes I know they are missing out). Therefore I just don't really get who these both are for because I imagine YA reading x-files fans are quite a niche market.
Profile Image for K..
3,667 reviews1,006 followers
September 28, 2018
Trigger warnings: murder, blood, hallucinations. Plus, it's set in the 1970s, so some racial slurs and misogyny for good measure.

2.5 stars.

This...didn't feel like Dana Scully at all. I've been complete trash for The X-Files since I was 13 years old, and I continue to be complete trash for The X-Files. And I wanted to believe (ha) that this was going to be good. Unfortunately, it wasn't. The characterisation wasn't right. The idea that teenage Scully had a bunch of psychic visions and then just...forgot all about it?...didn't work for me at all. And I honestly don't remember her ever having taken martial arts as a kid.

In short: if this hadn't been an X-Files origin story, I possibly would have been more forgiving, because the mystery was pretty compelling. But as an X-Files origin story? It didn't work for me.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,071 reviews219 followers
August 6, 2019
Blog | Twitter | Instagram

"You came in here to learn, and this is a lesson. Never apologize for what you don't know. There is no shame in that. Shame comes when you refuse to know or pretend not to know. That is deliberate ignorance, and it is loathsome."

Review also posted here.

If you're new to my blog or reviews, you should know one thing: I am a MASSIVE fan of The X-Files. And it was only natural that I flocked to this little YA duo of tales chronicling the origins of television's most magnetic pair--Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. I loved the first of the two, Agent of Chaos and was so very eager to pick up on Devil's Advocate. A young Dana Scully takes center stage in this installment and I couldn't be more happy with the way that Maberry portrayed such an iconic character.

Were there things I would have changed? Maybe--but the thing is, nobody could have written such a captivating story like Maberry did. I'm forever grateful to see that two of my most beloved characters were in such capable hands. Because, like with Mulder's origins in Agent of Chaos, Jonathan Maberry understood deeply what Scully represents and managed to develop her in a way that felt organic and on point with who we know she will become. Kami Garcia's writing became Mulder--Jonathan Maberry's writing became Scully. End sentence.

I wasn't sure that I would be as impressed with Devil's Advocate as I was because at the start, I took on the role of skeptic. The truth is, the central mystery is just as delectably dark and compelling as the standard stories The X-Files is known for. Maberry captures the tone of the series spectacularly and in his colourful writing, manages to blend it into a bigger picture. Dana Scully is still a child in this book but she's still Dana Scully--it's part coming of age, part paving the way for her future career, part thriller.

It's everything that the character--and the verse--deserved. And then some.

Entirely due to the prose of Maberry.

I'm not going to lie to you guys--I had a feeling of where the story was going to go and who not to, you know, trust. (#TRUSTNOONE) Reading between the lines, you get a pretty good idea that things aren't as they seem. Veteran fans of the original series will know this and be quick to solving the case as to who is killing the kids at Dana's school--and what it means for her. I liked seeing this side to Scully; the parts of her that are still undoubtedly naive in nature and quite a bit trusting of the people in her life. She's still got that hefty dose of skepticism that we know her for but we see, more than ever, why she wants to believe.

To be honest, in a lot of ways... I loved how Devil's Advocate unfolded more than Agent of Chaos. As far as pacing and development went, I feel like we got a lot more in Devil's Advocate and that was a lot of fun. This, in part, has to do with the sense of intimacy of how close Dana is to the central plots. She is literally the center of it the moment she begins having those dreams/visions and heading to Beyond Beyond.

Further, we get to see a more fleshed out view of the big-bad in Devil's Advocate, whereas Mulder's story was primarily about him solving a mystery without the attachment of the villain. This isn't me saying that Garcia didn't do a good job developing--she did; the book itself is one of my favourites of the year--it just felt like in Devil's Advocate we were more in on the action because we got to see a bit more than just problem solving.

Other things to note:

-The flow of the story was coherent and very fast. You get really sucked in, really quickly. I am not exaggerating when I say I couldn't put the book down and devoured it so fast that my head was spinning. Maberry doesn't slack on anything. No one could have written this better than he did.
-DANA SCULLY IS THE CUTEST. I mean, I think we already know this. But, I mean, HELLO? Teenage Scully? Little smol Scully having weird visions, living in a new city, trying to solve a mystery of WHO IS KILLING HER CLASSMATES? I love it. That's my girl. That's my girl believing in science but still approaching things with a skeptical amount of faith.
-Hippies. Hippies. More hippies. I love the setting of Beyond Beyond. It set up a really good platform for Scully to grow as well as to showcase the healthy differences between herself and her older sister, Melissa.
-MELISSA SCULLY. I'm still very bitter that Melissa is killed in the earlier seasons of The X-Files. But, we get a good amount of her in this one and I was LIVING.
-The villain! I saw it coming--when the flunked drug test came out, especially. I won't spoil that in case my readers haven't, you know, read it yet. I adored the reveal though because the contrast between what we knew and what we thought we knew and what was really happening was really fun.
-Ethan was pretty useless and a little more than sexist at times. However, as far as a love interest for a young girl he was pretty ordinary and didn't have only negatives. The problem is I remember next to nothing about him--either that or I just don't care. It could go either way.
-I also felt very bored by a lot of the minor characters that weren't (1) The dead kids. (2) Angelo. (3.) Melissa Scully and the rest of the Scully family. (4) The characters from Beyond Beyond.
-I WAS VERY CONFUSED ABOUT SCULLY'S DAD. Like, very. What was he up to? Also very sweet to see the name Starbuck thrown around between the two because I always think of his nickname for her.
-Gran was absolutely a blast. Like, a creepy blast but a blast nonetheless.
-The story itself was spooky, i.e: perfect for this time of the year and also it really does wonders at keeping you on the edge of your seat in anticipation.

So... to sum up my review: I adored Devil's Advocate. I stand by my statement that no one could have written a better origin story for Dana Scully than Jonathan Maberry. Devil's Advocate had everything I wanted and needed in YA thrillers and proves how utterly fantastic Maberry's writing is. Nothing portrayed in the novel feels out of place with the show and its films; instead, it provides a wonderful glimpse into the teenage years of Dana Scully.

The X-Files is in good hands.
Profile Image for Carmen.
290 reviews29 followers
April 24, 2017
I was excited when the Scully and Mulder YA novels were announced. The concept of them growing up as the opposite of who they turn out to be is interesting since we've been watching them since the early 90s.

As I was reading the novel, I was keeping my notes on my thoughts on Scully's characterization. I flip-flopped back and forth trying to figure out how to feel about Scully.

At the beginning of the novel, I was expecting this story to be more geared toward Mulder. Then, halfway through the novel, the New Age stuff made sense because Scully did grow up with Melissa and Gillian Anderson did give us the episode "all things" (though I don't know how that would work out but it made sense while I was reading). Of course, once Bill Sr. was involved more toward the end of the novel, it may have started to make sense. Scully did see her dad after he died in "Beyond the Sea." At the very end, when Scully was herself and discounted what she had seen, it made sense. Her willingness to believe is based on trust and in the world of The X-Files that is a big thing.

I can't wait to read the Mulder novel next.
Profile Image for Leah.
696 reviews77 followers
May 11, 2019
Between Scully and Mulder, I was always more of a Mulder growing up...or so I thought. I loved getting Scully's backstory here and seeing the why behind her skepticism. And now I totally get why she's the way she is.

While I loved the MC (obviously), I felt like the pacing was a bit too slow in too many places. Might be because I'm so used to Maberry writing at 100 and going higher and higher and higher in the Ledger series. This definitely doesn't have those books' pacing.

Still, I loved it! And now I need to know Mulder's origin tale.

Profile Image for Amy.
55 reviews2 followers
January 3, 2017
Long before her years as an X-Files Federal Agent, Dana Scully used her sharp intellect as a divining rod for the truth. In Jonathan Maberry’s Devil’s Advocate, set in Craiger, Maryland, the curious fifteen-year-old wants to know if the strange being from her dreams is an angel or a devil. Beginning to realize the significance of this figure, and of other images from her visions, she traces her way through a terrifying dreamscape, trying to piece together how or if it corresponds to reality.

The young Scully wants to believe but insists that things should make sense, which, unfortunately, they don’t. When multiple people die in mysterious automobile accidents, she quickly realizes the statistics don’t add up. Although her parents and other adults in the community won’t admit something’s terribly wrong, she tenaciously pursues the truth even as it leads her further into the land of her nightmares.

Jonathan Maberry tells the story of young Dana Scully with the same intensity and enthusiasm he approaches his multitude of projects. Despite his prolificness, it seems as though each new enterprise becomes his newest favorite, and you can rest assured you’re going to get his very best – over, and over, and over again. Devil’s Advocate weaves a beautifully intricate tale from the fabric of good and evil, stretching reality into the recesses of hell. It runs on an adrenaline high from beginning to end, and readers will find themselves racing through the pages. To read my interview with Jonathan click here: http://bookclubbabble.com/interviews/...
Profile Image for Renata.
2,500 reviews339 followers
September 1, 2020
I WANTED TO BELIEVE LIKE THIS but it was just a struggle. I love Dana Scully obv, and I liked seeing her as a teen with her hippie sister Melissa.

In addition to me not really buying the plot, it also seemed kind of lazily edited? Like characters would just contradict themselves within the same conversation...and at first I thought maybe it would be a clue or something that they were lying but Scully never seemed to notice or comment upon it.

Also it felt too long, it was a real slog to get through. And I say this as, presumably, the target audience of this book--a millennial who grew up loving X-Files and still reads a lot of YA? Although IDK, maybe someone who didn't like X-Files could read this as a standalone without having a persistent sense of Scully wouldn't do that throughout. But...I don't think the mystery is that well developed to be enjoyed without the X-Files tie-in.



I re-read this for the podcast and did not like it any better the second time around

Profile Image for meghann.
929 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2017
You know, I just didn't enjoy this one as much as the other book in the series (written by a different author). The other book centered on Mulder, and it definitely felt like I was reading about the teenage version of the character I loved from the show. This version of Scully, however, was not what I was expecting. I had a hard time seeing how she would end up as the Scully I know and love. If I separate this from the show, it's a good story. There's a serial killer targeting teenagers, and the government is, of course, somehow involved. Scully and her friends team up to find out the truth about the deaths. But there is a lot, no a ton, of metaphysical stuff in here. Fox Mulder would think this Scully was a bit out there. I did like the complicated relationship between Dana and her father in this. That part tied in really well to the show. I enjoyed it, but this was definitely not what I was expecting.
Profile Image for Sarah .
745 reviews16 followers
June 12, 2017
This book was just sort of... meh. This didn't feel like the origin story of the character I love. I can't see her in this situation at all, really. I was also put off by some strange wording and scene building that seemed awkward. It took me a long time to read this because I just couldn't get past those two things. Once I determined to stop thinking of her as Scully from X-Files, though, I was better able to enjoy the story of a teenage girl named Dana. Not a great recommendation for an origin book, though, if you have to pretend the character isn't who she is.
Profile Image for Stacey Kondla.
142 reviews3 followers
February 5, 2017
I liked this one, but not as much as the Mulder story by Kami Garcia. I just found Scully to be more frustrating as a teen. Jonathan Maberry did capture her skepticism well, but she kind of came across as more dramatic and it bothered me that she bought it easily to the new age stuff at first. Still a decent read and fun peek at what part of Scully's formative years may have looked like.
Profile Image for Betty Loven.
44 reviews6 followers
January 30, 2018
It only gets 3 stars because the overall story was good, but it shouldn't have been a back story about our beloved Scully. The first time I read this book I think I was blinded by my love and excitement for new X-Files content, especially a back story. I have always felt like Scully got shafted in that way, where we know very little about Scully and this book did absolutely nothing to change that. I feel like Mr. Maberry had a checklist of shit sitting beside his laptop that was mentioned in the show, that he felt the need to force into this book. I just don't understand how you basically had unlimited freedom to really develope this character we all know and love, and at a really good age (15) to work with and you still fucked it up. Which sucks because the overall story is really good, but what did I learn about sweet little Dana that I didn't already know? Also, the writting is corny. You expect me to believe this 15 year old who has had to move around as much as she did, with a father who is a Navy captain, isn't even remotely rebellious? Sheesh. I also don't believe that in all 300 pages of this book that none of these teenagers swore. That's nonsense. Not like I wanted every other word to be 'fuck' but it just felt too PG and childish. I suppose it was meant for all to read but it feels more aimed at kids than fans of the show. The X-Files is supposed to be dark, and kind of scary with bits of humor sprinkled in. Maybe we shouldn't have let a non X-Phile 50 year oldman write this. This book also made season 11 creepier than ever, with the CSM and all. Like, borderline pedophilla. My last and final thought, it's corny and also dumb to have Scully say "I want to Believe" on more than one occasion in this book. Are you kidding? Cheap shot, I'm not amused, do better.
Profile Image for The Library Ladies .
843 reviews50 followers
February 15, 2017
(originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )

Who is one of my very favorite TV queens? Who is one of the TV characters that I love for her inspirational strength, her smarts, her snark, and her perseverance? Who is up there in my personal hall of fame of badass ladies on the small screen?

Dana. Freakin’. Scully.

So the very moment that I discovered that both Mulder and Scully of “The X-Files” fame got their own origin stories, I knew that I’d save Scully for second. I wanted to savor her. I wanted to bask in her story and her background. Jonathan Maberry had a huge character to take on, and I really wanted him to do her justice. And it took me a little while, but eventually I decided that Maberry did.

This story, since again we don’t get much background in the description, finds Dana as a fifteen year old adjusting to a new life in Maryland. She’s close with her sister Melissa, and trying to fit in in school, even though she knows she’s more introverted and reserved than her sister and her peers. And she’s also been having dreams, visions of violence and carnage. She’s seeing an ‘angel’ in her dreams, an angel who is killing. As teenagers in the area keep dying in accidents, Scully can’t shake the feeling that they are connected to the dreams that she doesn’t understand. What she doesn’t know is that she may be in a more dangerous situation than she realizes.

So this book takes the “Scully is a psychic’ theory and totally runs with it. There have been hints at her intuitive abilities throughout the series (in “Beyond the Sea” she sees a vision of her father right before his death; “Irresistible” finds Scully kidnapped, and she sees her kidnapper’s face shifting into different iterations of evil), but it was never truly confirmed. But I liked that Maberry decided to take this theory and give it a lot of life in her background. I was kind of wondering how he would make it believable that she could have psychic visions in her youth, and then have such a skeptical foundation in the series when it starts. Without spoiling anything, I can tell you that he pulls it off, and that I really liked how he did it. And seeing Dana react and manage these very scary visions was fascinating to watch. I think that she is still very much within her character, even as a fifteen year old. She feels younger and perhaps less secure in herself, but still feels like Dana Scully, even when in a situation that is so not something you’d think she’d be in. I sort of liked the mystery that she had to solve, because it’s foundation was a good harkening to her faith, her abilities, and her ultimate road to skepticism. I had a feeling I knew what was going on from the get go, so it wasn’t terribly surprising in it’s completion. But it wasn’t about the mystery itself for me. It was about how Dana was going to solve it with her strengths and wits.

I really enjoyed seeing the Scully family as well. In the series you get to know a few of her family members, specifically her sister Melissa and her mother Margaret, though you also get some solid and touching insight into Dana’s relationship with her Dad. You know that she was close to him in a lot of ways, from her reaction to his death in Season 1, to their nicknames for each other (Ahab and Starbuck!), to her seeing him in other visions as the series went on. In “Devil’s Advocate” we see how that close relationship is also a bit strained, and that Captain Scully was a bit more closed off from his family than maybe we realized. There were many moments between Dana and Captain Scully that made me misty eyed, as well as a wonderful scene with them reading from their favorite book “Moby Dick”. Whenever he called her Starbuck, I practically began to cry. I also loved seeing Dana and Melissa close and partners in crime, because their relationship on the show, while loving, was a bit contentious because they were so different. Having Melissa and Dana go to a New Age coffee shop and store for yoga and advice from local New Age practitioners just tickled me completely. Maberry also made an interesting choice of taking one of the Men in Black from the original series (the Red Haired Man), and gave him a role in a side plot. This was kind of a weaker part of this book for me, just because it took away from the main plot. In the Mulder book the surveillance parts involving X and Cigarette Smoking Man felt like a foregone conclusion; Mulder’s life had been intertwined with Cigarette Smoking Man since the beginning. Scully having this surveillance stuff in her life just felt… odd. Yes, later in life that aspect was there. I just had a harder time swallowing it in her youth.

I generally liked the new characters that Maberry created to interact with Scully, be it Corinda the New Age guru (her shop also makes an appearance in the Mulder book “Agent of Chaos”), or Scully’s love interest Ethan. Like in “Agent of Chaos” I was skeptical that a love interest had to happen in this book, since we know that he’s not going to be around ultimately, but Ethan was an okay addition. He was really there to give Scully some support from someone who was more like her, which I appreciated. Her relationship with him was also a good platform to show some of the casual sexism that Dana, as a fifteen year old girl in the late 1970s, could run into, even from someone who really does care about her. Seeing her push back against that was very gratifying, and seeing Ethan try to learn from it was refreshing and a good message to modern teens who may read this. While Ethan wasn’t as strong of an original character as Phoebe was in “Agent of Chaos”, I liked having him there for Dana to bounce more down to Earth ideas off of and help her find her voice. I liked that their partnership was it’s own thing, not just a predecessor to her eventual partnership with Mulder.

“The X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate”, showcased my girl Scully. I know that we probably won’t get anymore teen books about Scully and Mulder, just because it would feel a bit absurd to take it too far with their backgrounds, but I really enjoyed how Scully was showcased in this one. It did a good job of speculating how she became the person she was when “The X-Files” started.
Profile Image for Stacy.
1,609 reviews17 followers
July 28, 2017
I tried to approach this from two sides. If I knew nothing about the X-Files, how would this read? Generally, I'd say well--there was an interesting mystery with engaging characters. The glimpses of some shadowy conspiracy playing out behind the crime story weren't distracting or confusing. The newbie reader may wonder why the author would bother with the added layer, but it seemed to work. I couldn't decide if all the short chapters and rapid cuts between Dana, the killer, and the Syndicate goons were effective or distracting. It felt rather like reading a screen play. I think for me it was ultimately distracting, since it seemed to take me longer to read this than I would have expected.

Now, as a (mostly) recovering X-Phile, how was it? I enjoyed Dana herself and the way Maberry built a set of experiences that make sense as a way to push her down the path to becoming a doctor. I decided I had to reserve judgement until the end however, since I found Dana's visions to be disconcerting. But I felt like Maberry's conclusion worked as a way to debunk the paranormal aspects of the story and build a foundation for Scully's skeptical outlook.
All in all, this is probably a 3.5 for me, but I'm willing to round up.
Profile Image for Andi.
1,177 reviews
September 2, 2021
Dana Scully is a tough as nails female with vulnerability.

Here is the issue. I could swap out Dana's character with a completely different female, and you would never, ever think the character that we see in the X-Files is even remotely related to the character in this book.

The plot of this story is very interesting but I felt that it did not mesh well with the Dana Scully backstory that we see or get glimpses of in X-Files.

Dana had dreams in a few episodes that relate with some of the things that she experienced when she was abducted and, yes, I always liked to think that her abduction triggered that strange side-effect. But her having ESP/visions prior to the abduction? Yeah. No.

Dana in X-Files was the same age as Gillian Anderson was - 21. So if you had me believe that within six years that this Scully would end up being the Scully that we come to see in the show? Give me a break.

I felt all the women in this story were written to be complete airheads and the thinking for them was just too dated. Even for the 70's, women were getting shit done and wanting to be heard. I think Scully would be on that same page. So to have her so... 'woe is me' and 'tra la la' is very un-Scully.

I give it two stars for the 'plot'/mystery, but man, the way Scully and her family were written was messy.
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