Saturday, June 7, 2014

Review - I Am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff

Title: I Am the Weapon
(Previous Title: Boy Nobody)
Series: The Unknown Assassin #1
Author: Allen Zadoff
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Pages: 368
Goodreads Rating: 3.93/0.5 Stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: Mature YA (Characters have sex, but it's not described; Violence)

Summary from Goodreads:  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 in his new friend's family to die-of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target. 

But when he's assigned to the mayor of New York City, things change. The daughter is unlike anyone he has encountered before; the mayor reminds him of his father. And when memories and questions surface, his handlers at The Program are watching. Because somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and parents; 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.

I Am the Weapon turned out to be quite a surprise.  Reading the synopsis, I figured I could tell basically what was going to happen:  The boy assassin meets a girl who he falls for and makes him question himself and his mission. He ends up switching sides and protecting the girl and her father. And that wasn't too far off. Except that then it was. Really far off. I love being surprised!

The negatives:
  • (Almost) fell into clichés.  The beginning of this book followed all the clichés that I expected it to. Ben (Boy Nobody) is used to slipping into a new school and gaining the trust of his target quickly so that he can kill someone close to that target. When Ben is assigned to kill the mayor's daughter, he starts to feel conflicted.  He's not used to having any feelings at all about his targets, but Sam is different somehow.  Yep, there's the cliché.  Of course, Sam, who never falls for anyone, also seems to fall for Ben.  There's a tiny bit of a love triangle thrown in, but not really since there's never any question of who Ben is interested in (and everyone, including the "other" girl, knows it).  It leaned toward instalove, and I especially wasn't sure why Sam was interested in Ben so quickly.  Until it all made sense.  And Zadoff did something unthinkable and broke through all those clichés ...
What I loved:
  • Ben.  Ben was a true antihero.  The more I learned about how he found himself in The Program, the more I felt sorry for him, but he was still a cold blooded killer.  That was proven right from the very beginning of the book. Regardless of how Ben had found himself in his situation, he had embraced it. He was a trained assassin who did his job well.  When Ben started to question his life, I couldn't help but feel for him.  I wanted him to break free from the mysterious Program, but I knew it wouldn't be simple.
  • The Program.  It was fascinating to learn the secrets of The Program as the book went on.  We got an idea of how Ben had ended up in The Program and some of what they were all about, but there are still plenty more mysteries for future books.  I can't wait to learn more!!
  • The action.  This book was a high action spy thriller.  There were plenty of suspenseful scenes where Ben had to get himself out of trouble - his current assignment turns out to be far more complicated than he's used to!  From the very first scene of the book, it captured my attention and didn't let it go!
  • The twists.  As I've already said, this book broke through the stereotypes in a MAJOR way.  I honestly couldn't believe what eventually happened.  I don't want to say anything else, but suffice it to say I was shocked and appalled and thrilled all at the same time!
I Am the Weapon was a suspenseful thriller with some real surprises!  I can't wait to read the next book (which comes out in June).  I highly recommend this one!  4.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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