I heard author Hugh Howey mention this book during a podcast interview, saying it was one of his faves. Now, I’ve been let down before when an author I respect recommends one of his/her favorites – but not this time.
Max Barry took the idea of mind manipulation through language and forged an interesting novel. Granted, we’ve known for millennia the power of words – hell, some of the greatest orators in history have used their mastery of language to convince us to either go to war or to love our brothers and sisters – but Barry amped it up.
An organization recruits young people who are skilled at persuasion, then trains them to use this ability for not-so-nice things. When one of their members, however, goes rogue and threatens to destroy the founder and his entire group, a manhunt (er, womanhunt) goes into overdrive.
Resting at the core of it all is a word that goes unspoken in the book, but yet has the power to kill everyone. I mean everyone.
I was utterly confused during the first few pages, although it moved at breakneck speed. As the chapters flew by, though, the story solidified. What you’re left with is a fast, complex, and often funny tale that showcases the power of words, which personally scored with me.
You begin to suspect the surprise ending at about the 80% point, but that’s okay. And while the ending itself might come off to some as too neat and tidy, I found that okay, too.
All in all, this was a great page-turner. Sure, we never really understand what the bad guys are ultimately after, but sometimes I like to use my own imagination and not demand that the author tell me everything.
The unique plot and well-timed suspense is enough to make the book shine. Mention Dom’s Book Club at The Tattered Cover Book Store and they’ll take 20% off the price of this particular title. Enjoy!