The Disaster Intervention Agent is a page-turning fantasy novel about a daughter looking to absolve her estranged father of a crime he may not have committed, the exploration of emotional ties, and combating environmental disaster from one of Taiwan’s hottest young fantasy writers. With the epic scope of Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings and the dystopian gaze of Jasper Fforde, it tells of the psyche of how traumas shape people even in unusual circumstances. This layered mystery that relies on reasoning out interspersed clues fits general and fantasy audiences.
Natural occurrences called Disaster plague the city of Taipei. Science cannot explain what these disasters are exactly, but we know that they are caused by an energy called KING.
Chung Hui is an unemployed young girl living alone in the City of Taipei, estranged from her painter father after the death of her mother, who died due to the outbreak of a disaster ten years ago. She loses her home in a minor disaster, forcing her to go to her father to ask him for shelter. She learns that there have been numerous strange cases of teenagers disappearing recently. Witnesses claim that the victims were all brought into a white fog and vanished by a criminal the tabloids call the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Shih-fei, a student of Chung Hui’s father, ask to meet Chung Hui to share what she’s learnt about the identity of the Piper, but vanished when she arrived. Chung Hui and her father are dragged to the police station, where a pale woman in black suddenly appears and announces that she will be taking over the case. She is a member of the Countermeasures Unit, and she has an offer for Chung Hui – join her team to track down and uncover the true identity of the Piper.
The author uses familiar themes and images in modern society and puts her own spin to them. There is a subtle weaving of the theme of family and its influence on self-identity, allowing the concept of family relations be both a background and key concept of the story. There is no true good or bad people, except a few bad ones, and there is no standard answer to the making of a decision.
The plot builds slowly. There is a lack of information in the beginning, and the clues that explain the state of the world are interspersed in conversations, interactions, reminiscences, conflicts, and narratives for the reader to piece everything together in the end. The reader witnesses the growth of the characters in the story as they reconcile themselves with the past by sharing, and understanding each other.
It presents the city of Taipei in a different light, and those familiar with the setting will be delighted to see it featured. The long build-up and scattered telling of the story requires more focused reading, especially with its length. On the other hand, when all the groundwork has been laid, the reader will be fully immersed in the plot and characters and gain an understanding of them that will allow them to sympathize, and see reflections of humanity in them.
- Xerses: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=112
- The Disaster Intervention Agent: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/books_info.php?id=418