Friday 12 June 2015

Book Review - The Traitor

The Traitor
Author: Allen Zadoff
Series: Unknown Assassin #3
Genres: Mystery, Thriller | Young Adult
Release Date: 12th June 2015
Publisher: Orchard Books
Source: Review Copy - Orchard Books
The Program has sent Boy Nobody on countless missions, instructed to kill whichever target he was given. But now, after going rogue, he is on his own mission to rescue his friend Howard who was captured by The Program.

Boy Nobody manages to free Howard as well as Tanya, a mysterious girl who was being held with him. Howard and Tanya help Boy Nobody collect information about his father, eventually revealing a dangerous secret that teaches Boy Nobody a valuable lesson..

..he can't trust anyone.

I hate saying goodbye to any series I've had strong feelings for at the best of times, but saying goodbye to Unknown Assassin is definitely up there in 'most saddening au revoirs' ever. I will never forget just how much The Hit blew me away and surprised the heck out of me, and I definitely can't get how awesome The Mission was out of my mind, and yet I feel as though The Traitor just trumped both these previous instalments by a mile. The long year wait was hard, counting down the days was painful, but I'm pleased to say, The Traitor was a roller-coaster ride of adrenaline-fuelled perfection.

Zadoff has this extremely brilliant way of writing that, no matter how long it's been since reading previous novels, you can't help but fall right back into the world of The Program and Zach, into the mind and feelings that a young boy assassin would have, and it's superb. I felt like I'd never been away from this series. After the horrendously unacceptable cliff-hanger in The Mission, I admit to being a little surprised at how easily the tables were turned when it came to addressing that cliff-hanger, but my surprise didn't affect any of my enjoyment whatsoever, it heightened it, which I never thought was possible. I've fallen head over heels for this world of assassins, or danger and action, of explosions, car chases, questionable motives, untrustworthy characters, twists and turns at ever corner, and you'd think I'd come to expect these great things from Zadoff, but alas, he continues to excel, and I'm seriously not complaining.

The characters and hidden motives and aspects of loyalty, friendship, family were all intensely strong in this instalment - not that they weren't already, but seeing just how far Zach has come, from pure detachment in The Hit, to a group of people he would lay down his life for, people he would fight to the very end for, it's really rather wonderful to see the development through his actions, his emotions and his thoughts. It's been a slow development, and a realistic one at that - it would be unusual to see an assassin got from murder to being best buddies, but the pacing and the experience's Zach has been through with both his missions, the program and the friendships he's made along the way, it's helped create a character I couldn't love more.

The banter and humour in this series though, it helps strike the perfect balance within the dark, dangerous, slinky spy work, and the light-hearted angle of friendships and love. Seeing Zach interact once again with Howard was beautiful, really, it made me face, and heart, light up - watching their relationship, their never wavering loyalty, their support for one another, the advice they gave each other, the real sense of brotherly love between them, it was struck wonderfully with the joking scenes they shared, and yet the best banter came from the romance between Zach and Tanya. That girl can put a knife up my back any time - she was strong and willful, wise and intelligent, independent, creative and totally badass - the perfect addition to a fantastic double act, creating, without a doubt, one of my favourite trios to date. Zach and Tanya's banter and jokes, the emotional rollercoaster of doubt, trust, loyalty, lies and hidden agenda's that came between them, and the honest and realistic emotions that bloomed was really rather good. For a man that writes superb mystery novels, Zadoff sure can right a romance I can get behind. I'm impressed.

The Traitor, while really focusing and hammering home the characters, the development, the friendships and the romance, never once forgot about it's speedy styled plot, it's fantastic and amazingly well paced feel, and the variety of scenes, delicate or dark, twisted and horrifying - his simple yet completely immersive writing compliments the quick taste of action and defiance, of deceit and entertainment that this series gives, it's physically impossible for me to fault it. Getting much needed answers to questions that haunted this series though, that was one of the stand-out features behind the The Traitor and boy oh boy did I get what I wanted. Zadoff knocked every twist out of the park each and every time, and just when I thought it couldn't get any more amazing, it did. Taking steps back into the past in order to revisit and close up loose ends, finding out more about important characters just at the right time, being reminded of just how realistic this novel is, and how scarily real the events in this novel could be true, I confess, I almost want them to be.

I'm always in awe of Zadoff, and I'm sure I always will be. The series has been one of the most action-packed, exciting, plot-filled, character driven, intense and completely mesmorising I've ever read. It wowed me, enthralled me, and captured my heart. I'll be sad to see this series end - saying goodbye to characters I've connected so easily with, turning my back on a plot unrivalled in this genre, and to a series that I never expected to fall so madly in love with before, but it's definitely not the end. This is a series I will without a doubt read again some day, and Zadoff is an author I can guarantee I'll be reading more from. Let us pray the wait isn't too long.


  1. Love the way you described the slinky and dangerous spy work! There seems to be a lot of great banter between the brotherly love and the romance as well, which makes for a fun and entertaining read. I haven't heard of this writer before but you've definitely piqued my interest Amanda! Beautiful review!

    1. Oh Jeann, Zadoff is definitely one of my favourites, as is this series. It's just SO good, you should try it!<3


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