Thursday 4 April 2019

Book Review | One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence
Published by 47North 
Publication Date: 1st May 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Science-Fiction
Format: Ebook
Source: Kindle
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository (Pre-Order)

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

The book is pitched as Ready Player One meets Stranger Things and I can definitely vouch for this. That is if Stranger Things was set in London and instead of a girl with psychokinetic abilities you have a teenager who can time travel. I'd spotted this book on many Goodreads lists detailing upcoming releases and so when I saw it was chosen as a Kindle first book, I immediately snatched up the opportunity to read it straight away.

I really enjoyed the fact that this book is set in the 80's, there were some great references to Back to the Future and to modern day technology which completely went over our characters heads. It also surprised me how much I enjoyed reading about Dungeons and Dragons as I don't consider myself a gamer or a particularly big fan on fantasy in general but found myself getting caught up in the gameplay as much as the character's do. There's a lot to digest plot wise with time-travel, drugs, gangs, cancer and psychopathic bullies at every corner but somehow it doesn't become overwhelming and Lawrence manages to slot in these devices in a way that they all work together. The plot was fast paced and entertaining but just vague enough to have me wondering what was going to happen next or how it was all going to piece together.

It has to be said, my favourite part of this novel was our rag tag group of friends. They were all incredibly entertaining and each brought a certain humour to the table. Lawrence did a fantastic job of immediately making you believe in the friendship of the group by making them wholly relatable in a way that you can't deny their chemistry as a team. The addition of Mia balances out what could have been too much testosterone but she fits right in to their weekly meetings and doesn't take any of their crap. Nick and Mia's relationship is sweet and perfectly captures what it's like to be in love for the first time.     

A solid 4.5/5.

Being around 200 pages long, this is a quick and easy read with an interesting plot and fast paced writing. The last section of the book leading up to the climax had me on tenterhooks and was an incredible way to weave it all together. There were times in the book where things got a little complex with descriptions about alternate timelines and physics, but I managed to grasp the basics. It's a solid start to an interesting new series, it cleverly intertwines fantasy and science-fiction with a little bit of mystery whilst keeping it light with some great British humour. I'll definitely be checking out the next book in the series when it's released in June.       


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