'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Monday, 12 August 2013

Boy Nobody

The next book that is going to grace Fantasy Muse is not an indie book but a published one. It's called Boy Nobody and is written by Allen Zadoff.

Front Cover



Synopsis

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die -- of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target. When his own parents died of not-so-natural causes at the age of eleven, Boy Nobody found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organization that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's next mission.

My Thoughts


I stumbled upon this book from the excellent ‘Fantasy Book Critics’, who had reviewed it on their site. A story about child soldiers/assassins instantly drew my attention and got me thinking about how the author would handle such a delicate subject. Nowadays, you don’t have to delve too far in the news to read about such tragic stories, and so I was intrigued.

The book follows the main character, named ‘Boy’, and from the first chapter I was gripped. The story jumped straight in at full throttle and within the second page I knew I was reading something 'potentially' special. The key word here is potentially, I've read so many books that start off brilliantly and then fall by the wayside.

The book flowed at a strong pace and was really easy to read, but perhaps flowed a little too quickly for my liking, I'll mention that later. The sentences were short, crisp and each had a purpose to it, no waffling or irrelevant chatter, but like an arrow, straight and to the point. In some ways the writing style reminded me a little of the excellent Lee Child, and his Jack Reacher novels (if you haven’t checked those books out then you’re really missing out!) In terms of the storyline, there were two major twists; one I saw coming from a mile away, but the other did come as a surprise.

My one major discord with the book was the pacing of the book. The pace didn't flow like a gentle stream, but more like a tsunami on speed.Which is often a good thing. As readers, you don’t want to be reading a story that takes forever to go somewhere other than a few metres down the road. However, occasionally, the pace of a book can be too quick, and that can be a detriment to the characterisation. By moving the storyline so swiftly, readers can fail to connect with characters and not really grasp what's happening in terms of plot line, which is what occurred with me. I didn’t really empathise with Boy, or any of the other characters. So, while I enjoyed reading the book, I didn’t have that much of an invested interest in whether or not any of the characters perished.

The book is told through Boy, in first person narrative. Which was well chosen by the author as it helped get into Boy’s head and understand his thoughts. But, again due to the pace of the book, I couldn’t comprehend the full weight of what it was like for Boy growing up as an assassin. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more of an emotional edge to Boy, basically see the mental damage of being an assassin. I mean the thought of having to kill people at such a young age would really mess up your head and unhinge you, but I didn't get that feeling from Boy. Whilst reading the book, he seemed calm, mentally fine and apart from a few flashbacks which went through his past and how it all began, I didn't see much mental scars.

Conclusion


I realise this post might be expressed as if I didn’t enjoy the book, and that couldn't be further from the truth. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I read it in four hours because I was so eager to finish it (in a good way). If there is a sequel - which looks likely from the ending - then I'd certainly buy it.

Give this book a read if you're a fan of Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne.

Out of 10 Stars:

7 Stars - Initially it was verging on an 8 but in the end I decided 7 was a more fairer reflection.

***

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