Saturday, 18 October 2014

Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas

After Eden (After Eden #1) by Helen Douglas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: November 7th 2013
My Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.
(from Goodreads)

NOTE: I wrote this review at 2am after a very bad day.

I don't know if it's because I was reading this book on a train that was both delayed and diverted, therefore making me suffer an extra hour of travelling, but this book annoyed me. So much. It claimed not to be pretentious, and yet the main character (who only approved of wine parties that involved political debate to change the world) kept banging on about Shakespeare with like, some year seven level interpretation of Romeo & Juliet that had me cracking up because she clearly thought this was some genius original idea she was having when literally it's like the first thing anyone is ever taught when they study that text. The whole fate vs we make our own destiny thing was SO cliche, it was actually painful. But of course despite having this wealth of knowledge on Shakespeare and even though she was supposedly smart (who doesn't know that other planets exist outside our solar system? REALLY?) she couldn't associate herself with the nerds either because that would just be so uncool. For eff's sake. And she was such a hypocrite. She made fun/didn't "approve" of this stereotypical mean girl character wearing short skirts/tight clothes to "impress guys", but as soon as there was a "worthy" guy in the picture for Eden, she had no problem changing her entire dress style to wear skirts and dressy tops herself, clearly in an attempt to impress Ryan/Orion/Jimmy No Personality, so just what was her issue in the first place? So it's okay when she does it, and when her skirt is just that tad bit longer? My GOD. Aren't we over this already? I am so sick of this "I'm not like other girls" mentality. OTHER GIRLS ARE NOT THE ENEMY. And not only that, but she was so goddamn stupid. Ryan, Duke of Boredonia clearly told her not to tell anyone that she knew his secret because it would have dire consequences, but then she just couldn't resist rubbing it in his sister/whatever's face that she knew and that Ryan told her, and then everything turned to shit because of that. You had ONE JOB, Eden. Ugh. And I'm not even including various other incidents, such as getting into some random stranger's car, not seeing the obvious etc. etc.

Ryan, or Empty Shell, as I like to call him, was completely devoid of personality. All he did was try to flirt information out of people. There was nothing beyond that, except his ridiculous lack of knowledge of the 21st century. I'm sorry but you really expect me to believe that hundreds of years in the future, they'll still be teaching Shakespeare (luckily for Eden), but not about Hitler? REALLY? We still learn about Henry the freaking VIII, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't take Hitler out of the curriculum. And even if they did, how could they allow someone, so woefully ignorant of 21st century history, to then go to a freaking school in which they KNOW HE WILL BE STUDYING 21ST CENTURY HISTORY?! Were they trying to fail this mission on purpose, or is everyone in the future just THAT stupid? Ryan was stupidly leaving clues all over the place like a trail of bloody breadcrumbs. It's like he wanted her to find out! Don't even get me started on the romance, because it was just the worst kind of insta-love and I seriously can't believe Ryan Boring McBoreason was willing to give up his entire life in the future, his whole family, everything he'd ever known, for some girl he barely knew in the 21st century. The boy was seventeen, and he and Eden had like, zero chemistry. This was not going to be an everlasting love. He basically just ruined his whole life.

Plot-wise, hahahaha. There were so many unexplained time paradoxes. Like, you usually have a few issues with time travel in books, but this was ridiculous. Nothing was explained at all about how time travel worked, or what the effects of changing events in time would be. And apparently people from the future caused the dinosaurs to be wiped out, and the bubonic plague? How does that even work?! If people went back in time and accidentally caused the death of dinousaurs, what caused them to be wiped out in the first place, before they went back in time? Because obviously they did not exist in the future of the people who chose to go back in time. And if they changed the past, could they even return to their own future? It would be so wholly changed. Their memories wouldn't match the events that happened. Were there multiple timelines? Was there some sort of Steins;Gate world line theory going on, or some kind of multiverse thing happening? I don't pretend to be a science expert but give me SOMETHING to work with, damn it, that's more than just "oh the flu killed the dinosaurs, hahaha, and we also caused the Black Death, whoopsie". And this whole finding the planet thing by accident - SURELY someone other than a random sixteen year old boy would have found this planet? And the whole trying to stop Connor from discovering it - what the hell was their plan?! He discovered it at the ball, so you know, maybe a good idea would be for him NOT TO GO TO THE BALL THEN? Not drag him there and relive events almost exactly as they previously occurred! It would have been so easy to prevent him from discovering it, I really don't know why they found it to be so troublesome. And Cassie - Cassie was there so that they wouldn't kill Connor to stop the discovery because she was his great-granddaughter and the death of Connor would have meant she would no longer exist (again, another issue with the timelines - this suggests just one which creates huge problems with the previous things I pointed out). But didn't she realise that Connor simply not finding the planet may have led to her never existing as well? He might not have gone to the same university because of it, he might never have done the things or met the people he would have had he discovered the damn planet - she couldn't guarantee he'd have children with the same woman - why would anyone risk this?! And the planet, Eden -__-, itself - Ryan the Unriveting said it was mainly uninhabitable and not an alternative for living on Earth - why the hell was he born there then?! There was never an explanation for that, it was just a plot device to make him some time-travelling super alien.

Also, I don't even get why Travis was so intent on killing Eden in the end. And present Connor got over Eden sooo easily whereas future Connor who get rejected in the past (?) pined for her his whole life and named a planet after her despite the fact that events for him didn't really change too much. But whatever.

My personal favourite line that really shows the writing style: "High above the school campus, two buzzards were circling anticlockwise, like the hands of a backwards turning clock."

I have probably missed out various other things that annoyed me, but oh well. I didn't like this book. Don't read it unless you enjoy headaches. Also, Southern is the worst rail service ever.

EDIT: I just found out this book has a sequel. Don't know what could possibly be worth adding to this story. I'm almost tempted to read it just to see if it's as bad, but unfortunately I've got a dissertation to write and not as much time to waste these days.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Review: Dread Eagle by Alex Woolf

Dread Eagle (Iron Sky #1) by Alex Woolf
Publisher: Scribo
Released: 25th September 2014
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

The year is 1845. France and Britain continue their long and bloody war for global supremacy. This breath-taking adventure introduces an alternative 19th century of fantastical, coal powered robots, aerial steam carriages, floating cities, giant mechanical birds and a new kind of secret agent.

France has a secret weapon – a titanic airship cloaked in an invisible Aetheric Shield. At the forefront of Britain’s defence are the Sky Sisters, a crack team of intrepid aviatrixes led by plucky 18-year-old Lady Arabella West. Sent to investigate reports of a giant mechanical eagle that breathes fire and is capable of snatching an airship in its talons, Arabella finds herself in a situation where she will need all her courage and ingenuity to survive against the enemy.
(from press release)

The first thing I have to say about this book is that it is lovely just to hold in your hands. Pictures don't do it justice. It has glossy fold out pages with really cool diagrams of the machines mentioned in the book and notes about how they work, and it's a clothbound hardback underneath the cover with gold lettering, and honestly, it's just really pretty. You have to see it for yourself.

In regards to the book itself, it was a really fun read! Not what I expected but I liked the characters and the way the story played out. Arabella was the main character, and while I think she could have been developed a little more, she was a great character to follow. She was a spy, following in the footsteps of her father, and was trying to gather information that could help the British forces defeat the French. But there was more to everything than there first seemed. I was really intrigued by the mystery behind Arabella's father. He was apparently a celebrated hero and a brilliant spy - or at least, that's what Arabella had always been told. However, a certain person implied that maybe that wasn't the case at all and I am definitely curious as to what is true and what isn't, and what really happened all those years ago. I hope to find out more in the next book.

Ben Forrester was the mysterious American who seemed to only work for money and had no loyalty to any particular country. I liked the way he and Arabella first met - he made quite an entrance - and I also liked the way they bickered. But even though they didn't get along at first, Ben and Arabella ended up helping each other out even though they weren't quite sure why they did. Arabella didn't respect the way Ben made everything about money, but she was drawn to him all the same. She did try to be professional about the situation though, which I liked, and while I didn't quite know why Ben tried so hard to help out Arabella, I did like his sense of humour, and the way he got on with Miles, who was a very clever and logical, though somewhat odd, automaton. I wasn't too surprised by the secret Ben was hiding, but I did like the way the book ended and I am excited to see what he plans to do next!

Plot-wise, I enjoyed the direction the story took, and the way a lot of the book took place in the sky. I liked reading about the cool machines and technology that existed in this world - Miles was of course my favourite because his logical, negative nature made me laugh. There were quite a few interesting twists, though I did guess a few; some things seemed a bit convenient at times. I'm not sure where things will go in future books but I hope we get to find out more about the other girls in Arabella's team and the things they specialise in, as well as more about Arabella herself, and about Ben.

Overall, Iron Sky: Dread Eagle was a good start to a new steampunk series and I will be continuing it. Recommended to steampunk fans or people starting out in the genre.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Review: The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

The Copper Promise (The Copper Promise #1) by Jen Williams
Publisher: Headline
Released: August 28th 2014
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…

Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.

For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.

But sometimes there is truth in rumour.

Soon this reckless trio will be the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.
(from Goodreads)

I really enjoyed The Copper Promise. There were a lot of things going on and several storylines to follow, but I think everything connected together well and I loved the characters and how they developed over the course of the book. Definitely looking forward to the sequel.

There were a lot of characters so I'll only talk about the main few. Frith, I think, was the character who developed the most. At the start he was only concerned with power and revenge and didn't care much about anything else. He was a bit snappy and harsh (though it was completely understandable) and was basically just using Sebastian and Wydrin so he could get the mages' power. However, after spending time together and after saving the others as well as being saved from many terrible fates, the trio grew closer and Frith actually started to care about them, especially Wydrin. He risked his own life to help them out and he generally became more considerate, and less selfish and impulsive. I liked watching his character grow, and I especially enjoyed his training with Jolnir, though I think the secret surrounding Jolnir was kind of obvious from the start and Frith really should have figured it out (though I guess he was preoccupied).

Wydrin was a funny, slightly reckless character that you couldn't help but like, and she made me laugh a fair few times. I think she was my favourite character and I liked the way she handled difficult situations and didn't give up easily. She managed to get out of a lot of tight spots in her life (using a variety of creative methods), so you had to respect her for that. I also liked her friendship with Seb and how she was a loyal friend who was just trying to look out for him, even when he was being difficult and kept hiding things from her. She was worried about him a lot but didn't really know what to do to help, so mostly just used her sense of humour to try and make him laugh. Seb often made comments about her taste in men while obviously hinting about Frith and I must admit I did like reading about Frith from Wydrin's point of view because it was obvious she was interested but that didn't stop her from making sarcastic comments about Frith or pointing out holes in his plans. And for all her talk about not getting paid and having to risk her life for this dangerous mission, she never abandoned her task.

Sebastian was the most mysterious character. The reason he was kicked out of the Knights wasn't hard to guess but his attachment to them still after the terrible way they treated him, and also the way he always felt the need to help people no matter how fruitless it may be, showed he was a very courageous and honourable sort of person (though often too trusting; he and the rest of the group really should not have trusted Gallo in the beginning, it was so obvious something fishy was going on). So the weird link he had to brood army who were awakened by his blood and now slaughtering people everywhere was very interesting, and the way he was willing to do something he knew was wrong and stupid in order to try and save other people made it difficult to guess what he was going to do next. The link to the brood army wasn't shown as much in the second half of the book until the end but after the way things turned out I am wondering what Seb plans to do about it all in the next book.

Plotwise, there were a lot of separate stories going but I liked reading about them all. Frith's revenge and Wydrin and her brother and the mages and trying to find a way to defeat Y'Ruen and Frith's training and Seb and the brood army - I liked it all! Certain parts did feel a bit slower than others and I preferred the scenes where everyone was together to the chapters where they were apart. I did however really like the plan that was put together to try and defeat Y'Ruen and it felt like something that could actually feasibly work but could also fail as well instead of some random crap pulled out of thin air that you just knew would fix everything instantly. I would have liked to find out more about the gods though and where they came from, because the backstory we did get was very interesting. I also wanted to know more about the brood army, because Seb wasn't really their "father", his blood was just used to awaken them and yet it had a great and unexpected influence. [Spoiler, highlight to read] I liked reading about members of the brood army starting to develop individuals wills and taking on their own names but I did wonder why they kept on murdering people if they didn't want to and had to wait to be told to stop by Seb instead of stopping themselves, when they clearly could have since they had their own free will. Even if they didn't want to risk their mother's wrath for no reason, they did so anyway after Seb told them to stop so it was a bit weird [end of spoiler].

Overall, The Copper Promise was a really enjoyable fantasy novel and I look forward to continuing the series. Definitely recommend to fantasy fans.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Review: The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: September 4th 2014
My Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

"No one can take your memories from you... can they?"

Seven is a thief with a difference - he steals downloadable memories from banks and memoriums to sell onto London's black market, trading secrets and hidden pasts for a chance at a future of his own. He makes sure he keeps some special stuff back to 'surf' himself though - it's the only real form of entertainment he can afford. But one night, as Seven is breaking into a private memorium in a wealthy part of London, he is caught in the act by one of its residents; Alba, the teenage daughter of London's most famous criminal prosecutor. Instead of giving him away, Alba promises to keep Seven's secret - as long as he allows her to go memory-surfing herself. In doing so, they discover a hidden memory about Seven's past, revealing a shocking secret about Seven's childhood, the government and a mysterious experiment known as The Memory Keepers...

Now Seven and Alba will have to race against time to unlock the maze of The Memory Keepers - but can they keep themselves out of harm's way before the London Guard - and Alba's father - catches up with them?
(from Goodreads)

I unfortunately did not enjoy The Memory Keepers. It was the type of book I felt like I'd already read a hundred times and I didn't enjoy the writing style.

There was dual POV from the two main characters, Seven and Alba. I have to say, I wasn't a fan of either of these characters. First of all, they trusted each other way, way too easily. I have no idea why Alba didn't start screaming when she found a stranger, obviously there to steal something, in her house, ESPECIALLY since in this world, theft was a crime punishable by death (worse than rape apparently, because that wasn't on the death sentence list. Sorry, but I just thought that was really messed up. Alba was like "oh, only the WORST crimes are punishable by death" - yeah because stealing is really on par with, you know, rape and murder). Second of all, insta-love, yet again. And it was the annoying kind of insta-love too where apparently three of four meetings where the conversations do not involve getting to know each other at all results in undying love -_-.

Seven was just bland in my opinion and he thought he was so funny when really, he wasn't. At all. He had the sense of humour of a nine year old, and that's being generous. I also really didn't like the way that he suggested he enjoyed having power over Alba. It was creepy. I get that he was happy he was in charge instead of the rich people for a change, but it was weird when he talked about it in relation to her as an individual. Plus he kept going on about how he was risking everything - like, seriously. He didn't have to come back! He didn't have to keep that stupid promise, he could have just left and saved himself the trouble. Was keeping a promise with a random stranger really worth risking his life, or was it just because he thought Alba was pretty and he was a complete idiot. Alba...just what. She was literally a stereotype of that "I'm super rich but I just want to SEE THE WORLD" character and we were supposed to like her because she cared about the poorer areas and wanted things to change to help the people of South - except, no she didn't really because she only started kind of giving a toss when she met Seven and had never properly disagreed with her father before that. Plus she was absurdly grateful to Seven for like, no reason, and I didn't get their whole relationship at all. The only character I actually liked was Dolly, and she was hardly in it.

Plot-wise, the whole memories business thing was just lost on me. I didn't understand at all why memory machines existed, why surfing other people's memories became such a popular thing that society became based on it, or why anyone would ever want to do it enough to hand over so much money. It made no sense. Plus, how did it work? How were memories recorded, and why? Alba's mother's memory that was revealed at the end - why did that memory even exist outside of her mind?! Did she report the incident to the police and create the memory recording as evidence? It didn't seem like it - so how on earth did that memory ever come into existence for others to view? Were ALL memories just recorded somewhere? If so, that is entirely implausible. Why did no-one seem to mind that their private memories were just available for the world to see? And the whole thing at the end made no sense either - suddenly Seven was able to perform a certain act with NO experience whatsoever. Sheer willpower, apparently, enabled him to do this really complicated thing that he'd never been trained to do. How incredibly lucky for him. [spoiler, highlight to read] And the whole alteration of memories issue wasn't even a real issue. I mean, if one memory skid/recording thing whatever was altered, couldn't they just obtain a true memory from a person involved in the incident? Unless everyone was dead, wouldn't that work? And wouldn't there be more than one recording of the same memory anyway? The skid-thieves has no issues copying memories - was there like one original memory that if altered, altered all the copies? I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW THE DAMN THINGS WORKED.[end of spoiler] Also, everything was resolved so easily at the end. It was a cop-out.

I also had a real issue with the writing. It felt a bit juvenile to me with loads of needless words and weird metaphors/descriptions, and there was cliché after cliché. So many clichés, I can't even explain. I felt like almost every description was a line I'd heard a thousand times before. I honestly got so fed up. I ended up skimming towards the end just to avoid the language (the amount of times the word "effing" was used as well, oh my God. I hate swear word substitutes when they are used so often. Just swear or keep the substitutes to a minimum!).

Overall, The Memory Keepers was not for me. I think I've just read too many similar books. Maybe if this isn't a genre you usually read, you might enjoy this, otherwise I can't recommend it.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #63

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon
Released: January 27th 2015
Find it on Goodreads

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on. (from Goodreads)

Looking forward to The Mime Order! I liked The Bone Season and I'm interested to see what happens next after the way things ended. The description doesn't reveal much but I am wondering what happened to Warden. And what Paige will do to avoid being captured.

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Review: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Doubleday Children's
Released: September 11th 2014
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Think you know magic?

Think again.

The Magisterium awaits . . .

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt.

Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst – but fails at failing.

Now he must enter the Magisterium.

It's a place that's both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning. Call’s biggest test is still to come . . .

From the imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping plunge into the magical unknown.
 (from Goodreads)

The Iron Trial was a really enjoyable book, and I can see it becoming very popular with a lot of younger readers.

Callum was a likeable protagonist and not what I was expecting. I really liked that initially, he didn't want to go to the Magisterium. He was afraid of magic after growing up with his father who drilled it into him that magic was dangerous and the Magisterium only wanted to use people and risk their lives. I was very intrigued as to why Callum's dad was so afraid of the Magisterium (the prologue definitely got me wondering why Callum's mother left that message) and I enjoyed the way things were revealed to us throughout. Callum was a bit impetuous and sometimes acted on some bad ideas, but he was only twelve so I can't really blame him for that.

Tamara and Aaron were initially not really sure what to think of Callum. Tamara was very clever and a bit hostile towards him at the start, and Aaron tried to be kind but didn't really understand why Callum acted the way he did. They eventually became friends and each had their own backstories and hardships, which enabled them to bond and become closer. I have to admit, while I did like all the characters, and especially the reveal about Aaron which I didn't expect, I did feel that their friendship was maybe a little rushed? I don't know, I just wanted more interaction between them all. This book has been compared a lot to Harry Potter, and I guess there were similarities, but I didn't feel the same level of closeness and understanding that I did with the Harry Potter trio (I know that's a hard thing to achieve, so it wasn't a huge problem). In this book it was just more "and then they were friends" and I didn't really feel why they suddenly trusted each other so much. That being said I did really enjoy the time they spent together when they were learning and doing magic-y things.

Plot-wise - I don't know how to explain without spoilers, but I really liked the main storyline. I'm so looking forward to seeing how Callum is going to deal with what he's learnt, especially concerning Aaron, in the future books. It actually sort of reminded me more of the Simon Snow series in Fangirl than Harry Potter - though Simon Snow was inspired by HP so there is that. The most HP part was that the Enemy (the villain) had the main goal of trying to "conquer death" which was very Voldemort-esque. But then I'm sure lots of stories have similar themes. The mini-prophecy towards the beginning of the book came into play by the end and it was clever how it connected. And I absolutely adored Havoc, the Chaos-ridden wolf cub who was just so cute. I definitely want to find out more about the elements and how they work, and also more about Warren, because he was a curious character indeed. There were a few things that I thought were a bit unbelievable and unnecessary - the whole eating lichen and mushrooms and having it taste like normal food was odd. Why didn't they have access to normal food? And I'm sorry, but the texture of lichen and mushrooms is never going to be like a hamburger, even if it does taste like one. I also found the test to get into the Magisterium a bit unrealistic. I mean, if the parents didn't know their kids were applying for a magic school, wouldn't they find the whole method of testing odd? They just let their kids leave for this place as soon as they passed the test! They just got on a bus and left that same day. And they all seemed to come from the same place - though maybe other tests were happening simultaneously around the country? Hopefully we'll find out more in the next book, which I am really looking forward to.

Overall, The Iron Trial was a great start to a new series, and will definitely appeal to fans of magical stories.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Review: The Hit by Allen Zadoff

The Hit (The Unknown Assassin #1) by Allen Zadoff
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: September 4th 2014 (first published May 23rd 2013 as Boy Nobody)
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

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 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, and moves on to the next target.

When his own parents died of not-so-natural causes at the age of eleven, Boy Nobody found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organization that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's next mission.
(from Goodreads)

The Hit was very different to anything I've read before and I will very likely be reading the next book in the series.

I really enjoyed seeing from the point of view of our nameless assassin (who I will refer to Benjamin from now on as that was his fake name for the majority of the book). He was a curious character and I found myself empathising with him, despite the fact that he killed people for a living. He had such a messed up life, I'm not even surprised he turned into an emotionless killing machine. He basically got people to trust him and then ruined their lives. He was trained to think nothing of it, but you could tell (especially later on in the book) that it affected him more than he liked to admit. While I did like Benjamin as a character, I can't say I liked him in the sense that I'd want to be his friend in real life, but he was definitely interesting to read about, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next, since he can't just go back to the way things were after what happened at the end of this book.

I wasn't really a massive fan of Sam's character, but then I'm not sure she was supposed to be particularly likeable (I swear she and Benjamin both had massive egos). She challenged Benjamin and made him question what he had been doing over the past few years, and while I think the "romance" was just weird and a bit unbelievable (they had known each other FOUR days) I actually like the way things ended because it wasn't the "I met a girl and she changed me!" sappy love story I expected. I was actually surprised by what happened, but think it was fitting.

Howard was...definitely a strange guy. Again, I didn't really like him, but I'm interested to see what role he will play in the future. Benjamin never had an outside source of help before, so I'm curious to see how he will make use of Howard's tech skills, and whether they'll actually become friends (or whether it will end in unpleasantness).

Plot-wise, I was always a bit suspicious of the Program and I never really understood why Benjamin's parents were killed, but I was intrigued right from page one. There were some good twists and I liked seeing Benjamin's thought processes and all the things that went through his mind when he was on a mission. I definitely still have a few questions about Benjamin's family and about Mike, but not knowing created suspense instead of making me frustrated, and I'm looking forward to finding out the truth in the next book. One thing that did make me laugh was the way private school was portrayed. All the kids were way overly enthusiastic about going to classes and every lesson was some weird intellectual debate that everyone was excited to take part in. I can only speak for myself here, but that's not what it's like. I spent half my time doodling, zoning out or copying from a textbook and nobody was ever THAT enthusiastic about classes or debates.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by The Hit and definitely recommend it to people who enjoy action/thriller type books.