Review: I am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff

Review: I am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff

Review: I am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff

I Am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff

Series: The Unknown Assassin #1
Genres: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 13th 2014
Pages: 352


Previously published under the title Boy NobodyThey 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 to die -- of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target. But when The Program assigns him to the mayor of New York City, things change. Somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and a girlfriend; 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.

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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.

Four Roses

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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Author Biography

About Allen Zadoff

Allen Zadoff is the author of the new thriller series, The Unknown Assassin which earned starred reviews and has been optioned for a feature film by Sony Pictures and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment. His YA novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and was a YALSA selection for Most Popular Paperbacks of 2012. His second novel was My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies, the story of a techie hiding from life after a family tragedy. His third novel Since You Left Me is set in Los Angeles and tells the story of a religious school student who doesn't believe. He also wrote the memoir for adults, Hungry:Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin.

Allen is a graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theatre Training.

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4 thoughts on “Review: I am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff

  1. I am always interested in characters that supposedly have no emotions. It can be hard to get them right – because we still want the reader to like them somewhat. So the whole idea of Boy Nobody himself intrigues me already! I am curious to see where the mystery will take me on top of that. Oh, and kudos to you for reading outside of your usual comfort zone as well. Looks like it had some good results.

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