Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review of The Reluctant Assasin by Eoin Colfer (W.A.R.P.)


The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P.)
by Eoin Colfer
4 Scribbles

I’ve always enjoyed the action that Colfer’s books offer; my two favorites of his are The Supernaturalist and The Wishlist, and this newest series promises to match Colfer’s previous novels explosion for explosion!
Albert Garrick is an assassin who has scored a time key from his latest victim. He uses the key to travel from Victorian-era London to modern-day London where he plans, with the modern knowledge he has gleaned from his latest victim, a present-day scientist, to rule the world. However, his vendetta to capture the street urchin and his former apprentice, Riley, may just foil all of his plans, especially if 19-year-old FBI agent Chevron Savano has anything to do with it. Together, Riley and Chevron go on a race through time to defeat the villain Garrick and save the world.

What a marvelous idea to hide witnesses in another time rather than another place! Thus, the Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (W.A.R.P.).  The benefit of this time-travel element is that it gives the reader a modern-day adventure while learning about the past in an exciting way. Clearly, the street kids of Victorian England are tough, just like Riley, a clever scrapper with a great sense of humor. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like living in poverty in those times, but Colfer drives it home with vivid descriptive details about the smells, the extreme temperatures, and the diseases these people faced. I shuddered every time I was introduced to a new yellow-toothed street-kid. And the villains! Make no mistake, this is Colfer at his bloody best. There are some pretty gruesome scenes with the time machine, which has the habit of merging the inhabitants as they travel within its confines, the various murders committed by Garrick, and the general nastiness of the Thames. Anyone who has romantic notions about the Victorian era need only read this novel to be grateful they live in modern times. Perhaps most pleasing is the character of Chevron, a Native American whose only dream is to be an FBI agent. Despite a botched undercover job and begin swept under the carpet to a boring gig in London, Chevron never loses hope for her dream and keeps her body and mind honed for the next challenge. The chemistry between Riley and Chevron is awesome, but not in any way romantic. Chevron becomes big-sister to Riley, even if Riley may have just as many, if not more street smarts than Chevron. This is a fun and easy read after the fashion of works like Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series and the Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman.

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