I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I haven’t read a book like this in a long time. I mostly read romance centered YA, in various genres, but this–this was something different. There were romantic elements, but it was all apart of a much bigger mystery, and I have to admit, I liked it.
Our main character is Boy Nobody. He is a 16-year-old assassin who has no idea who he is working for. He has no feelings, no relationships, and no life outside of his assignments. The only people he gets close to are those he intends to betray when he kills either them or someone they love in order to complete a job, and Boy Nobody is very good at his job.
Usually when a character is presented as having no feelings, it comes across as insincere. I mean, everyone feels something, and a character without feelings would be boring anyway. Boy Nobody in not an exception to this rule, but he is the closest I have found.
He was kidnapped by the Organization at thirteen years old and trained to be an assassin. I have no idea what the Organization is. I don’t know who runs it or if they are the good or bad guys, and neither does Boy Nobody.
He really doesn’t think twice about killing someone when he feels it is necessary, and it is necessary several times during this book. He also doesn’t waste time feeling things like remorse and guilt. What is also clear, is that instead of truly not feeling, he is simply suppressing his emotions because if he didn’t, he would end up dead or insane.
He doesn’t have family or friends to care for so survival is all he has, and the only way for him to survive is to do what he is told.
Of course everything goes to pot when he is ordered to get close to a pretty girl and kill her father. I can’t go too deeply into the plot because that would ruin the book for you, but I will say the the espionage and mystery very well handled. I figured out some major plot points, but that didn’t subtract from my enjoyment. Knowing that I couldn’t fully trust certain people kept me from becoming too attached to them. And I have to warn you, you do not want to become attached to anyone in this book.
Sam isn’t the only person that Boy Nobody connected with during this mission. He also gets close to Sam’s dad and Howard, the school nerd.
Howard was one of my favorite characters because he was the only thing close to comical relief, but he was also a realistic reminder of how bad of an epidemic bullying is in our schools. Howard was a funny, smart, and wonderfully strange, but because of the way he was tortured in school, he was also somewhat suicidal. I applaud the author for the way he handled such a sensitive subject without allowing it to distract from the overall story line.
One minor complaint I have is the simplicity of what it took in order to have such a significant effect the main character. I know that if anything could cause a teenage boy to question his life, it would be a pretty girl, but it would have been nice if the author had chosen another catalyst for his change of heart. He was a hardened assassin, but in the face of an intelligent young woman with a nice shape, he decided to risk everything including his life? Yeah, not buying it.
I also would have liked it if instead of the book taking place over the course of a week, things had taken more time to progress. The level of affection that he felt towards Sam, Sam’s dad, and Howard would have made more sense if he had known them for a few months instead of a few days. Not sure why the author felt the need to rush things.
Those are minor complaints about what was otherwise an excellent book. It was smart, fast paced, and thought provoking. I grew to really care about the main character and root for him to finally break free of those who control him. He will never get back the life that they stole from him, but with his skills, he may be able to become his own hero instead of their weapon.
I am very anxious to continue the series and found out if Boy Nobody finally escapes his handlers.
Because of violence, language, and mild sexual content, I would recommend this book for ages 15 and up.