Thursday 10 July 2014

Book Review - The Mission

The Mission
Author: Allen Zadoff
Series: Unknown Assassin #2
Genres: Mystery, Thriller | Young Adult
Release Date: 14th July 2014
Publishers: Orchard Books
No. Pages: 432
Source: Review Copy - Orchard Books
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
He was the perfect assassin. No name. No past. No remorse. Perfect, that is, until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders. Now The Program is worried that their valuable soldier has become a liability.
And so Boy Nobody is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to prove his loyalty.

His objective: Take out Eugene Moore, the owner of an extremist military training camp for teenagers. It sounds like a simple task, but a previous operative couldn't do it. He lost the mission and is presumed dead. Now Boy Nobody is confident he can finish the job. Quickly. But when things go awry, Boy Nobody finds himself lost in a mission where nothing is as it seems: not The Program, his allegiances, not even the truth.

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

After the wonderful surprise that was Boy Nobody earlier this year, finding out that there was a sequel quite possibly made me fall in more in love with the premise, plot and series even more than I already had; it was the type of series I'd never read before, with both thrilling action and well executed and constructed mystery, but also had a firm feature of humanity at the forefront and experimented with our weaknesses, our skills and our emotions to deduce what it takes to turn a normal boy into a master assassin and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Imagine my happiness when Hachette sent me a proof copy of this installment. Pleased? Well duh. Thrilled? Of course. Excited? Damn right! The Mission turned out to everything I'd wanted from a sequel - more plot twists, more development, more secrets, and most of all, more assassin thrilling action.

The Mission starts off a few weeks after the events of Boy Nobody; he's ran away to a training camp to think about the events in the last novel, about Sam and how he questioned the mission, and to stay out of prying eyes of The Program while he considers his options and feelings, until of course, they seek him out and put into motion a new mission for him. I was amazed at how easily I found it to slip back into Zach's life and how the events from Boy Nobody weren't lost or forgotten; whether this is down to my natural memory skills and habits at remembering important details or whether Zadoff was smooth enough to make the transition easy, who knows, all I know is that I had fallen back into step and felt at home in the perspective of Zach easily right from the beginning. He later finds out that another operative, another assassin with the program failed in his mission and he's being sent in to finish the job. This was huge in perspective to the plot and direction of the series as for as long as Zach has known, he's been on of two assassins with the program, so the find out there are more, all be it a handful more, it changed his development and thought process slowly throughout The Mission; he wasn't as rare as he thought he was, he wasn't trained especially for himself or to improve his own skills, he wasn't as important to the Program as he thought he was, and this created a dynamics of Zach becoming much less machine and programmed, and more human, in his actions, his thoughts, his feelings and in his heart. As introductions and starts to this installment went, I couldn't have wanted anything better.

The feature that makes reviewing books in this series difficult is the character area of my review; I usually delve into how their development made them a better person, or how there wasn't any development, I usually mention how the person interacted with others and how the scenarios they was put in and the decisions they made reflected how said character had been changing, slowly and slightly, but with both Boy Nobody and now The Mission, this is much more difficult to do. Because Zach is an Assassin, Zadoff creates a thin veil of information for him; he hasn't seen his Father in two years, he thinks his Father is dead, we know nothing of his appearance other than he has a scar on his chest and we know he works for the Program, so for Zadoff to develop a character I know very little about physically seems almost impossible, but somehow, he does it. Zach did go through a momentous amount of development, both in himself, that was reflected in the decisions he made, with other people, especially Father, Mike and Howard, and how his human reflexes, his joy, his happiness, his fear and his instincts effected how his character did anything. There was much more emotion in The Mission from Zach than what I was expecting, but this only made the novel more interesting and tense, and I absolutely loved how Zadoff created the internal battle Zach went through with questions of loyalty to The Program and loyalty to friends, it was executed wonderfully, and to be back in the mind of the teenage assassin was just as wonderful as it had been.

What I think I loved most about this installment was the raw human emotions Zach developed and how realistic Zadoff wrote this book. In all senses of authority, people question their orders, their routines and what they're doing and it changes how well or how easily they can perform, and that was essentially what the plot entailed. It was a mission, yes, but it was also a test, and a lesson for Zach. Take orders, do as you're told, follow your routine and don't deviate, or become someone with your own mind, own thoughts and your own choices and it was this internal battle that made being in Zach's mind that much more interesting. I also loved the plot points in The Mission, the political agenda's, the plot twists involved with some of the characters, the dedication of people to their cause and in general, (and pardon my language here) the sheer mind-fuckery that was this novel. To write a thriller mystery series, there of course needs to be thrills and mysteries and just when I think I've got the series mapped out, just when I believe I've discovered some piece in the puzzle, the puzzle changes shape, changes direction, changes in a whole manner of ways and I'm left with more questions than answers and it takes a talented, amazing writer to that and get away with it, but it's what Zadoff does.

I cannot go into detail when it comes to the plot and pacing, neither some of the characters and they're final statues, but I can say that the writing is superb and so addictive, that the pacing is never too slow or two quick, that the scenes are never too detailed or lack too much, that the characters are somehow so easy to connect and relate to, and that the mystery surrounding everything from The Program to Zach's Father, to what Mother and Father are really doing with The Program, to what will happen to Zach, it's all set up and executed amazingly. The Mission continued were Boy Nobody left off, doubting trust and loyalty in characters, creating sub-plots in a plot I can sense that I won't see coming and was, in my opinion, even better than Boy Nobody. Zadoff crafted emotions from me I didn't know I had, managed to put me on the edge of my seat with anticipation and left me dying for the finale of this superbly written series; he is a mastermind of the thrilling, suspenseful and mysterious and I will continue to read his work for as long as possible.


  1. Girl, you had me at assassin. I know you loved these books and you know I love books about assassins. I need to check this one out!

    1. That you do Nereyda, that you do definitely do! :)

  2. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMN YOU! Why do you keep making me want to start book series?!? WHY!?! I don't have enough time for all of these amazing books that I want to read. I am so excited for this series though, you rave about it all the time and it's made me so eager to read them. I just want to end up absolutely loving it so we can fangirl about it together!

    1. Maybe because these books are AMAZING! Seriously somehow get a hold of Boy Nobody or The Hit and try it! :)


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