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A-red-lipstick-wearing bibliophile extraordinaire. Word nerd & Joss Whedon fangirl; Literature lover & book reviewer. Lady Libertine; Tea collector; Potterhead.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Review: The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P, #1)

The story here largely involves W.A.R.P (Witness Anonymous Relocation Programme); a secret FBI operation that hides key witnesses in the past to ensure their safety, before testifying in major trials. In this instance, the witnesses are sent back to early 19th Century England.
Riley is an orphaned boy living in Victorian London, who has the misfortune of being apprenticed to sociopathic illusionist Albert Garrick. A man who now uses his power of misdirection towards murder. On one particular job, Riley finally has to prove himself to his master by making his first kill; instead he finds himself hurtling forward through time.
It's in modern day London that Riley is saved from his fate, by Chevie Savano; a plucky junior FBI agent with a lot to prove. Now on the run, Riley and Chevie must evade the murderous magician as they are hunted down through time.

We've all been in this place; one of your favourite series ends and the author begins anew. You can't help but harshly judge the new series before you've even read it, because let's face it: it'll pale in comparison right?
Right. Well, wrong really. I was really excited when I found out about this series, and it was largely to do with the fact that I absolutely adored Colfer's previous series Artemis Fowl; but new series are always a big deal for me- it's a way for the author to show a different side to them, and I definitely saw one.

Of course, it was wonderfully fast paced- I just couldn't put it down. It also had the same familiar Colfer wit; and it had the same art of making me love the villains probably more than the heroes, but it's the start of an entirely different series. Artemis Fowl had an absurd brilliance to it that was absolutely wonderful. Sometimes things got silly, and the sillier it got- the more I enjoyed it. The Reluctant Assassin possessed something much darker though, and a lot more serious. There was real pain for the characters in the book, for both hero and villain alike.

The characters were great in this, it's always refreshing when female characters are obviously badass without being irritating and Chevie is one of them. She's gobby, reckless and annoying but still pretty great. Riley, unlike Artemis uses a combination of street smarts and sheer dumb luck to claw his way out of sticky situations. Sometimes his innocence is astounding, and plays his role of a cheeky young boy very well. (He deserved a clip round the ear, on a few occasions. Just saying.)
And Garrick? Well, Garrick. What can I say, penchant for reluctantly super smart sexy villains and all that rot. As well as being relentlessly evil, there were times where I genuinely felt sorrow in my heart for his character. He reminded me of a scruffy, long haired Oliver Reed, in Oliver!

In short, I welcome W.A.R.P. with open arms. It's not Artemis Fowl, but it is something new. The only problem about it being new though, is having to wait to find out what happens next. Watch this space, I guess.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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