Another one of my “best of books,” this one hit several lists last year, including the “Best of NPR”; a New York Times Best Beach Read; Amazon Top Science Fiction and Fantasy for June; a Time Magazine “What to Read Right Now”…and well, the list goes on and on.
Written by Max Barry, I have to say, THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING BOOKS I HAVE READ IN YEARS – the only thing that comes close to beating it out for that honor in my eyes, is a Stephen King book. This book is written at such a great pace, and has so many twists and turns and “aha!” moments, I really almost started it all over the minute I read the last word. This book is what happens if you throw the following in a blender: Stephen King (although that would be gross), the movie “Kill Bill, Vol. 1,” (yes, I am that specific), the movie “Push,” and a bunch of Dead Poets. The resulting smoothie was DELICIOUS!
The opening scene in this book has us in an airport restroom with a needle in Wil’s eye. Good grief, talk about hitting the ground running! And run he did. He ends up running with Eliot, and even though it’s cliched, the action is non-stop, exhilarating, and heart-pounding. Eliot tells Wil he is an “outlier” who survived a horrific incident in Broken Hill, Australia, that killed all the other residents of the town – all 3,000 of them.
We soon meet, Emily, who was recruited off the streets. Recruited for what? To persuade. Words have power, and Emily, working a short con definitely has a blossoming power to persuade. Soon she is taken to The Academy, where she is taught that words have power. Emily learns quickly, but not quickly enough for her. An incident occurs that forces Emily into another new world, where she learns to weave the power of words with the desire to survive.
Initially, the timeline might be slightly confusing, but hang in there, you will get it. This book is definitely worth a spin, and caused me to be annoyed at pee breaks. I literally could not put this book down and did minor chores with my nose stuck in the book. I will be reading more books by Barry. At the end of the year, when I do my top ten list, this will definitely be on it!