Great Illustrated Books

Reluctant Assassin: W.A.R.P. Book 1

Eoin Colfer

Hyperion, 2013
Pages : 344
Suggested Ages: 10 & Up
ISBN: 9781423161622

In a new series, Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl) introduces two gutsy new heroes in an action-adventure blend of sci-fi, steampunk, horror, and humor that will leave readers gasping for more.

In the same city, in the same house, unbeknownst to each other, two teens are being tested – one is being asked to kill, the other to protect. Over 100 years separate them, but their worlds are about to collide!

Riley, an orphan in Victorian London, doesn’t remember a time when he was not apprenticed to Garrick, a magician turned assassin. Tonight, Garrick makes Riley take the blade -- or be killed himself. When confronted by the target, an old man wearing a strange pendant, Riley hesitates, but Garrick forces his hand. Oddly, the pendant beeps and the old man disappears, pulling Riley in his wake! With the victim, Riley lands in the future in front of FBI Agent Chevie Savano. Chevie has been recently assigned to WARP (Witness Anonymous Relocation Program) and ordered to watch a pod. All she’s been told is that a man might emerge from it. Still, she’s surprised by the corpse that suddenly appears -- even more so by the boy babbling about a magician, Death itself, coming after him.

The pace is relentless and exciting. In short order, Chevie learns that the pod is a time machine used by the FBI to hide high-profile witnesses in the past. Unfortunately, the next person to arrive through it is Garrick, as Riley had forewarned.  In transit he’s been freakishly mutated, gaining full knowledge of modern technology and acquiring the ability to control the very atoms of his body. Now a nearly- invincible supervillian, Garrick is demonically bent on wreaking havoc and recapturing Riley.

As the teens flee through London, present and past, they encounter friends, foes, and opportunists – in all, an eccentric cast of characters that leap off the page. The settings are so well described, readers will feel they are running in Riley and Chevie’s shoes, whether getting lost in traffic or dodging criminals in the Old Nichol. The tension is alleviated by the humorous banter between Riley and Chevie as they get used to each other and their respectively unfamiliar time periods. Drawn together in their plight, a genuine friendship is born. In an intriguing twist, they also uncover clues concerning Riley’s parentage – information that will no doubt come to the forefront in future escapades. The ending is explosive but the story is not over – and fans will be waiting!

Reviewed by : JMcD


If you love this book, then try:

Colfer, Eoin. Artemis Fowl-The Last Guardian. Disney Hyperion Books, 2012.

Carriger, Gail. Etiquette & Espionage. Little, Brown Young Readers, 2013.

Pearson, Mary E. The Fox Inheritance (The Jenna Fox Chronicles series). Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 2011.

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Critics have said

It may not be for the faint of heart, but the intricate plot, strong writing, and intrepid characters who must survive by their wits will make it hard to put down. Readers who enjoy Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" series (Philomel) and Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan (S & S, 2009) are sure to enjoy this nonstop adventure.
School Library Journal
Fairly gruesome murders and mutations, as well as alternating time periods and points of view, keep the action moving. Everything is tied up sufficiently at the end, but Colfer leaves a few threads that can be pulled to further the universe of this fascinating high-octane thriller.