I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Review: The Reluctant Assassin

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P. #1)
by Eoin Colfer
YA Science Fiction
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

Riley, a young orphan boy living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, an illusionist who has fallen on difficult times and now uses his unique conjuring skills to gain access to victims' dwellings. On one such escapade, Garrick brings his reluctant apprentice along and urges him to commit his first killing. Riley is saved from having to commit the grisly act when the intended victim turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI's Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (W.A.R.P.) Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern day London, followed closely by Garrick.

In modern London, Riley is helped by Chevron Savano, a nineteen-year-old FBI agent sent to London as punishment after a disastrous undercover, anti-terrorist operation in Los Angeles. Together Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole. Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist's knowledge. He is determined to track Riley down and use the timekey in Chevie's possession to make his way back to Victorian London where he can literally change the world.


This was a fun story, but after I read it, I really didn't find it all that memorable.  I think it's mostly personal preference since it's hard to put my finger on what it was I disliked - or rather failed to like.  The characters were interesting, the story moves pretty quickly, and the time travel aspect is involved and intriguing.  Perhaps the only thing I can fault is in the villain Garrick who was so annoyingly superior, was often way ahead of everyone, yet in the end everything was too easily resolved.

Riley and Chevie have a really fun relationship because they are both so different from each other.  I enjoyed their banter and Chevie's sometimes caustic personality.  It was easy to see why the two got along though, and I felt that their interactions really held this story together.  I appreciated the grounding believability of Riley and Chevie because there are some colorful and exaggerated characters in this story which felt a little jarring at times.  They were sometimes Dickensian, and sometimes just over-the-top and it was hard to believe that they were really very dangerous.  Because it is mostly the threatening characters in Victorian England who were so outrageous.  Garrick was often seen as the most dangerous - almost superhuman in his cunning and fighting ability - yet it was really hard to feel that menace come through in the story which I think made it harder to immerse myself in the narrative.  Garrick is a well drawn character though because his past and his mind are so complicated and it is interesting to learn more about him as the story develops.

The pure adventure of the story is appealing though, and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the author, or for time travel romps.  Probably a readiness to suspend disbelief would help as well.  And because I really liked Riley and Chevie's dynamic it might be interesting to see how they are developed further in the next book.

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  1. I'm sorry this wasn't a better read- I only JUST realised that it was by Eoin Colfer, who is an author I really like for his Artemis Fowl series, so I'm doubly sorry because in my experience his work has been splendid. Those books on audio are amazing.
    Still, it does sound like there was a good amount of potential here, Charlene, so it's frustrating that it doesn't sound like it ever quite peaked.

  2. This book was enjoyable enough that I want to check out his Artemis Fowl series - especially since people like it so much! I will try to see if I can get it on audio as well!

    This may end up being an amazing series though, so I wouldn't want to dissuade anyone from trying it out!

  3. I haven't read anything by Colfer in a long time, but I really enjoyed the Artemis Fowl books when I was younger, so I might jump back into his books with this one. I'm glad you had fun with it, even if it could have been better :)

  4. I definitely need to try Artemis Fowl (wish I had read it when I was younger though!) I hope you do like this one too - it would be interesting to read your thoughts on it since you already like some of the author's work!