Monday, December 16, 2013


by Max Barry

Grade: 3 stars
Story summary: Basically, it's about a school for Slytherins. Clever and ambitious people go to a special school to learn about the art of persuasion. Also, there's a very ordinary fellow named Wil who's suddenly kidnapped, subjected to strange procedures, chased about the country, and generally being very confused as to why this is all happening. Gradually you see the connection between these two parts.

Thoughts: The premise of the book is lots of fun, and as language and words are things I've loved since a very young child, I was really looking forward to this. Unfortunately, I had issues. It seemed in some ways like a fantasy book trying to disguise itself as a scifi or thriller novel. The use of language and words by the characters in this book was so cool, and yet it required way too much suspension of disbelief for me. If it been treated slightly more like magic and less like hard science, I would have enjoyed it a lot more, I think. I usually don't mind mixing of genres either, but this time it just didn't seem to fit very well. However, it was very gripping, with an interesting structure, where you only very slowly begin to understand what's going on (I really enjoy books like that).

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