GIVEAWAY and REVIEW: The Unknown Assassin by Allen Zadoff
I AM THE MISSION
Published on June 17, 2014 Genres: Dark, Mystery, Psychological, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
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 our assassin 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, nor the truth.
The riveting second book in Allen Zadoff's The Unknown Assassin series delivers heart-pounding action and a shocking new twist that makes our hero question everything he has believed.
I AM THE WEAPON
(The Unknown Assassin #1)
Previously published under the title Boy Nobody
They needed the perfect assassin.
Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends, and doesn’t stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend’s family to die-of “natural causes.” Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target.
But when he’s assigned to the mayor of New York City, things change. The daughter is unlike anyone he has encountered before; the mayor reminds him of his father. And when memories and questions surface, his handlers at The Program are watching. Because somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and parents; a young man who wants out. And who just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program’s mission.
In this action-packed series debut, author Allen Zadoff pens a page-turning thriller that is as thought-provoking as it is gripping, introducing an utterly original and unforgettable antihero.
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When The Unknown Assassin tour announcement came to my inbox I jumped on it immediately. I had barely read the premise for book one when I was clicking over to sign up. It’s pretty cool to find a series that so suits your reading style that you get excited. So before I even knew I was on the tour I went out and bought the first book. It’s pricey. I hate paying more than five bucks for an eBook. But occasionally I do. This was one of those times and it was worth every cent.
I read I AM THE WEAPON in one weekend. Normally I’d go through a book I love in a night, but I barely have any reading time these days, so a weekend for me is pretty fast. Every time I opened it up I was drawn in and I didn’t want to put it down. It was a struggle to put it away.
This series is a YA thriller about a young man who had his life stripped away from him at age twelve when his father was killed for (what he presumes to be) treason. But instead of killing our hero, Boy Nobody, the teen assassin sent to kill his father decides this kid has ‘potential’ and takes him to a secret place where he is given a choice. Train to assassinate people who threaten the security of the country, or die.
Obviously he decides to live, so he is forced to train until the program deems him able to carry out missions. Once out on the job he is expected to assimilate into various high schools, getting to know the “mark”. Or the kids of people who have hits on their heads. Thus he can gain access to the hit and fulfill the mission of killing his target.
In I AM THE WEAPON, Boy Nobody finds himself assimilating into an exclusive private school to infiltrate the inner circle of Sam, the daughter of the mayor of New York. Most of book one is getting to know Boy Nobody and it was difficult to warm up to him, but with good reason. He doesn’t really feel things. He not totally without feeling or empathy, but it’s severely subdued due to his training. I AM THE WEAPON has me guessing the entire time and never once was I correct in what he would do. I really enjoyed that part of the plot. Usually if there’s a romantic interest, that has a heavy impact on what the hero can and cannot do. But this was not the case with Boy Nobody. I won’t tell you to much more, but everything he did surprised me.
However, in book two, I AM THE MISSION, BN is struggling with some of the things he did in the first book and for the first time, he is having a lot of doubts about who he is and what he’s doing. He runs away, just seeking space, but of course the Program finds him and brings him in for an evaluation. After convincing Father, the man responsible for BN in the Program, that he’s fine and ready to go back to work, he is sent to assess a group of radicals by pretending to be interested in attending a “camp”. But things take a wrong turn almost immediately and BN finds himself disobeying orders again.
The consequences in book one were more emotional than dangerous, but in I AM THE MISSION they almost switch places. The danger in book two is very real. BN is infiltrating a far-right militia style camp that is training kids to be zealots. This plot point comes to light very early and I was worried that the author was going to try and weave propaganda into the storyline, in which case I probably would’ve stopped reading. But there really wasn’t any, so I think he handled the subject matter well and kept true to the first person narrative of a teen boy with little to no emotion when it came to the motives of the camp.
Both of these books were un-put-downable for me. I loved the assassin angle, I loved the secret “program” angle, I loved that BN was utterly unpredictable and I loved that he made the hard choices. Who should he trust? Who knows? I sure don’t. I have no idea if what he’s doing is an actual service to his country or if he’s just being played. All I know is I cannot wait for the next book. I hope it doesn’t take the customary year to year and a half timeline that most publishers seem to be on, but it probably will. So I will just have to forget about the series now that I’ve read both books until that one comes out.
The Unknown Assassin series is a dark and gritty five star young adult thriller that presents a young man on the verge of adulthood and filled with doubt and confusion. He asks all the same questions my sixteen year old son might ask. Who am I? What am I doing? Why am I doing it? But instead of the typical high school responses like student, studying, and to get into a good college—his answers are assassin, killing, and because my life depends on it.
Pick this one up. Except for the somewhat brutal killing, occasional f-bomb, and potential sex—it’s a pretty clean read and I’ve already put book one on my son’s Kindle.
3 sets of THE UNKNOWN ASSASSIN books 1 and 2 US only.
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