Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: I Am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff (@allenzadoff)

I Am the Weapon (The Unknown Assassin #1) by Allen Zadoff
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Published: Little Brown for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley

My Rating:
They needed the perfect assassin.
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 a few friends and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone to die -- of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target.

But when The Program assigns him to the mayor of New York City, things change. Somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and a girlfriend; a young man who wants out. And who just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's mission.
In this action-packed series debut, author Allen Zadoff pens a page-turning thriller that is as thought-provoking as it is gripping, introducing an utterly original and unforgettable antihero.

It happens on occasion that I doubt reviewers and convince myself that I'll hate a book before giving it a fair chance. Going into I Am The Weapon I had not a clue what to expect. The premise was different from my usual read, but I had seen reviews floating around, talking about the amazingness of Boy Nobody and his story, so even though I still wasn't completely sold I jumped at the chance to read this after it was added to Netgalley as a "Read It Now", under it's new UK title "The Hit."

I have to say, I have never been more wrong about a book.

From the beginning I Am The Weapon weaved a web of mystery around Boy Nobody, who was on assignment to kill the father of a newly acquainted friend. The manner in which this mission played out was awing in itself. Zadoff has a way of writing action scenes that is engrossing to the point that you're not exactly sure what you read was quite so intense until the scene is over.

After Boy Nobody completed his mission he lay in wait for his next assignment - to kill the Mayor of New York. In order to do so he had to befriend his daughter. (A girl... ru-roh.) A big profile name like that and I thought surely Zadoff would have Boy Nobody - who had taken on the identity of "Ben" at this point - fail. The twists and emotion that went into this particular assignment, however, made it a game changer for Ben and for me, the reader.

As the book progressed I got to know more and more about Boy Nobody, who he was, who he worked for, his past. To me, that was the real delight. There are very few male main characters that I connect to on an emotional level, but I *felt* Ben's conflict, his pain, though, even he wasn't certain what he was feeling. Boy Nobody ranks up there with Ezra Faulkner, my favorite male protagonist. And shockingly enough? I also really liked Sam (the mayor's daughter). She was intelligent to a fault, broken, and confusing. There is so much more I would love to say about her, but can't without spoiling the story. Just know, things aren't always as they seem.

Great, smart writing. As the wife of a tech-junkie I wanted to steal all of Ben's gadgets and play. Everything Zadoff wrote felt so realistic and touchable. And the ending! What an ending! Some twists you see coming, others slap you in the face; this knocked me off my feet and landed me flat on my tush in the rain.

I loved everything about I Am The Weapon. If ever a book needed a sequel... Wait. There is one?! Thank the Lord, because I was not ready for this to come to an end.

4.5 stars!

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