Tuesday 18 November 2014

Book Review - Thirteen

Author: Tom Hoyle
Series: Thirteen #1
Genres: Mystery, Thriller | Childrens, Young Adult
Release Date: 13th February 2014
Publishers: MacMillan
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Born at midnight in London, on the stroke of the new millennium, Adam is the target of a cult that believes boys born on this date must die before the end of their thirteenth year.

Twelve boys have been killed so far. Coron, the crazy cult leader, will stop at nothing to bring in his new kingdom.

Now he is planning a bombing spectacular across London to celebrate the sacrifice of his final victim: Adam.

I've spoken previously about, how sometimes, I can look at a book and read it's synopsis and just know that I will enjoy the book. It's a rare gift and is something both my Nanna and Mum can do too, we can all just look at a book and know that it'll be for us. I recall the day I stared at Thirteen in Asda, willing myself to buy it, yet I did not, and I recall receiving it on NetGalley yet not being able to read it before it was archived, but when that third chance came knocking on the door in the form of it's sequel, there was no way I wasn't going to read it, and you know what? I take great pleasure in saying.. I was right.

Thirteen wowed on almost the exact same level as The Hit did earlier this year, I had a feeling I would like it, but it was unlike anything I'd read before, so I was both excited and wary, but what I got was, more of a young young adults novel involving action, loyalty, crazy cults and some absolutely fantastically written scenes with the right amount of tension, character development and crazy, and I could not have been happier when I realised just how good this book was. Hoyle's world building could have been a little a better, I wasn't always clear where I was in the novel, and sometimes characters would find themselves in places very quickly, almost jump-cutting scenes, but this could quite as easily have been my fault for not concentrating enough on the words the page had, alas, I admit this freely. World building aside, Thirteen was definitely everything I wanted it to be.

I really enjoy reading about twisted characters. Hell, I enjoy a good thriller/mystery any day, so the idea of having a cult killing boys born on the start of the new millennium, well, I don't know about you, but that almost sounds like it could be believable, and while areas of this novel did take a beating in terms of believability, I mean, come on, Adam is thirteen, he's a year older than my brother, and I seriously could not see my brother doing anything close to what Adam did, he'd more than likely be one of the twelve already well and truly dead, not to mention, who would like their children stay at a music festival, at the age of thirteen, with no supervision, that and the fact that Megans parents instantly believed everything the police said over the words of a boy they've known their whole lives, I'm sorry, but what? Yet, these are things that quite possibly only bothered me, there's were the features in the novel that I could tell this was Hoyle's d├ębut, that this was aimed at people a lot younger than I am, yet I do have to admit, the childish features and age of the protagonists, in some areas, made this book highly enjoyable. There's something really quite fantastic about children at the ages of fourteen and so on being able to do and take on what these characters did, what Adam and Megan were capable of during Thirteen were things even I know I wouldn't be able to take on, so the fact that Hoyle managed to make me not only appreciate what they were doing, but how they were doing it, was fantastic.

Adam and Megan were definitely two characters I enjoyed reading about. Their friendship and their loyalty was completely unbreakable, and their trust in one another was absolutely wonderful, oh, and their small romance, totally on the ball with that paddle boat, but what was absolutely fantastic between them was their unwavering feelings for one another, whether that be their dedication towards each other, the help they gave, the trust they put into one another, and fears they had and essentially, the pain they both suffered through in order to protect the other; there are so many great friendships out there in the childrens department of reading, but this one? This is one the best ones in my opinion. Even how they worked separately, bravely and understanding each other, even thought they were apart, it was fantastic, and their actions against The People, well let me tell you, I haven't flicked through pages that quickly in a long time. I was scrambling to keep up, I was desperate to see what was on the next page, I could not stop reading about Adam and Megan and their terrors whatsoever, or their action, or their skills, the entire plot was moving all the time. There were very few moments of no action, and that probably stems from the fact that areas of the story jumped from one week to two weeks, to a month, but the pacing was fantastic, the whole set-up was amazing and on an entertainment level, this book was superb.

I have a soft spot for childrens books that take on gruesome killings and murders so easily and make them enjoyable, yet serve warnings. Novels like these teach us not to ignore things that might seem out of the ordinary, to not trust just anyone, especially strangers, and they make you aware of exactly how scary, how dangerous and how much you at at risk everyday of your life. is it enough to almost make you never want to leave the house for fear of being tracked and killed? For some people yes, but Adam's story in thirteen was dramatic, and the stage was set from page one. I'm ashamed it took me this long to read Hoyle's work, but I definitely won't be slacking from now on. If you like your crazy antagonists, fast-paced action scenes and a friendship with loyalty abound, you need to get onto this book. Now.


  1. Fantastic review, Amanda! I've been hesitant to read this book because of the age of the protag. However, I can't stop being drawn in by the look of the entire book. I'm glad that this one was enjoyable for you, but sorry to hear it lacked believability at times. I might consider this more highly, now.

    1. Thanks hun! I do think it's definitely worth it and the young protagonist works I think, means there's little romance and much more, well, excitement I think, the stakes are higher that way too! Good luck if you read it :)

  2. I waaaaant. AND NEED. I sometimes have that ability to look at a book and know I'll like it. But it's not full proof. I was sure I'd like The Iron Trials, but nada. But for City of Bones? Despite everyone telling me it was "meh" I just knew I'd fall in love with it. *hugs series* Aaanyway. This? I need. I like thrillers and I like them to be intense. :))

    1. I sometimes have those slip ups, I'll have meh reads, but very rarely do I get a BAD read. But this, this is DEFINITELY a book for you, if I had the monies, I'd buy you it like a shot, seriously I would! Action, quick, edible, I mean, easy to read, it's made for you ;)

  3. Brilliant review. I've owned this for months now, I think James bought it for me for my birthday. It might have actually been my birthday last year, which is even worse. It's sitting on my shelf with other yellow and black book covers, because they look beautiful together. With the sequel now out, you've definitely convinced me to give it a try. I really hope I love it. WOOP! :)

    1. I remember seeing it on your shelves and thinking 'it's so pretty, she must read it!' I'd say read it soon, it might perk you up, it gets right into the story straight off the bat, good luck! :)


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