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One Word Kill

(Impossible Times #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  9,616 ratings  ·  1,138 reviews
Ready Player One meets Stranger Things in this thrilling new novel by bestselling author Mark Lawrence.

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
Paperback, 197 pages
Published May 1st 2019 by 47North
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Popular Answered Questions
Jim Chou Yes, it has a real ending. There are some unanswered questions, but One Word Kill is a completely self-contained story.
Mitch Not at all. It is more to do with time travel and strong character development. The primary focus is on Nick and Mia. They have the most growth with…moreNot at all. It is more to do with time travel and strong character development. The primary focus is on Nick and Mia. They have the most growth with the others getting smaller amounts. (less)

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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,616 ratings  ·  1,138 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Jun 11, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I got an email from Mr George RR Martin this morning to let me know that he'd read One Word Kill and "enjoyed the hell out of it". #AchievementUnlocked

The One Word Kill signed and numbered special edition hardback is available from Anderida Books.

Any of you who've looked for a Red Sister hardback recently will know this has the potential to be a sound investment and not just a lovely object!

Hurry, before they go.

My first science fiction book! The whole t
Robin Hobb
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've giving One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence six stars.

Oh. You think I can't do that?
Well, yes, I can. Even if you don't see them up there.

Because while a five start book is a good solid read, one that I truly enjoy, there are some books and stories that are more than that. They are the stories that stay with you for a lifetime.

My six star stories are likely different from yours. A story gets six stars when it doesn't waste a word. It opens the door, I enter the tale, and for that time, I'm in
Chaima ✨ شيماء
When you are SAD go to the BOOKSTORE and purchase this BOOK which is a fast and fun read about time travel, quantum mechanics, Dungeons & Dragons and planning a heist with your best friends because a sketchy and secretive man from the future essentially told you so...

Full disclosure though: the ending is a heartbreaker.
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to receive this ARC in exchange of an honest review!

All you need to know about this book is that if you’re not a quantum mechanics genius or at least decent in maths or physics or at least a spaceship engineer like meself (I am absolutely joking, of course, I struggle with addition on a daily basis, don't take me seriously) this book is going to make you feel dumb on a superior l
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I snagged this book so fast when it was on the Kindle First list! I mean the wonderful Mark Lawrence was kind enough to offer me a chance to read it awhile back but I don’t do pdf or mobi downloads. 😫

Anyhoo! I loved this book and it’s set in the freaking 80’s! I mean, I was born in the 70’s but the 80’s and 90’s rocked! Well, mostly......

I don’t usually like time travel books but there are a few that I love and this is one of them.

Demus explained that when you come back through time you come b
Mary S. R.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of time travel, quantum mechanics, good sci-fi, D&D, and anyone with a brain in general
Recommended to Mary by: the fact that it's sci-fi by Mark Lawrence is sufficient enough
Happy birthday and welcome to the ruthless world, little book ✨ :) One Word Kill is now out there on shelves! Or on tables getting used as a coaster for the overflowing coffee mugs...though I prefer hot dark-chocolate ☕
Just a friendly advice: Don't use it to kill flies, it's a little small, tiny, and short for that. You might find the flies are suddenly invincible 😁

999 STARS! I count it a shortcoming of Goodreads that there aren't enough stars available.

“We might live in a multiverse of infinit
James Tivendale
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, freecopy
I received an uncorrected proof copy of One Word Kill in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Mark Lawrence and 47North for approaching me to read this early.

Starting on the 8th January 1986, Nick a gangly 15-year-old who is extremely intelligent is diagnosed with leukaemia. The doctors advise that he may only have up to 5 years to live. In the local hospital, he goes through Chemotherapy and shares a children's ward with many other suffering youths as they weaken and essentiall
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.75 stars for this mix of 1980’s Dungeons and Dragons (with a British teenage cast) + cancer + time travel/multi-universe aspect. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature (in a different, collaborative form, with a couple of my co-reviewers at FanLit).

Nick, the 15 year old narrator of the story and a math genius, who's a wizard named Nicodemus in his D&D games, finds out that he has leukaemia right at the start of the story. His group of D&D-playing friends sticks behind him, in
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back to the 80s

A great book that hit all the right cords. It is heart wrenching in places and nostalgia in others with likeable characters that I could not help cheer for.

The book starts with the world's worst gut punch possible. The story is great mixture of emotions and scifi. The nostalgia of the story for me is the era the book is set in, 1985 as well as the places and landmarks. It is a great reminder of how far we have come technologically since then. How life was before the internet and m
John Gwynne
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. A fantastic sci-fi reminding me of Stranger Things and the time-bending concepts of the Terminator. I was a teenager through the 1980’s and I loved the sense of nostalgia Mark’s story evoked. It’s a rollercoaster of adventure, wrapped up in nuanced characters and a tight, twisty plot. This is a book that gripped me and didn’t let go until the last page. It’s everything that I look for in a book, and like the best of reads one that has stayed with long after I finish ...more
Kayla Dawn
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
3,5* - "Ready Player One meets Stranger Things" is one of the biggest lies I've ever heard. Nothing about this is Ready Player One and the only Stranger Things resemblance is that it takes place in the 1980's (and maybe the playing of D&D).

Still, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It's kinda full of cliches and the story isn't very original either, but it was fun and entertaining nonetheless.

I really hope for a bit more character depth in the sequels though.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My one line review:

"I clapped after reading the last line. Don’t know if that’s ever happened before."

I'm content to leave this review as simple as that, but I owe it to NetGalley and other potential readers to provide a bit more information. I do think it's best that you go into this story completely blind -- Mark Lawrence has earned enough trust where I don't have to read an advance blurb to know that his stories are'worth reading. That being said, I'll provide a few minor plot spoilers below,
Montzalee Wittmann
One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence and narrated by Matthew Frow is an awesome fantasy that also mixed heavy real world subjects into the plot. The main character is a teen that plays D&D with friends, has a crush on a girl, deals with a wicked bully, and just got diagnosed with cancer. Then he sees a guy following him around, then protecting him, then predicting the future. It really gets wild! So much happens with each of the items or issues of his life. This is so unpredictable and totally awe ...more
Petros Triantafyllou
Nick Hayes takes the news of his imminent death pretty well, or at least as well as any fifteen-year-old boy would. With an aggressive form of leukemia, the same disease he lost his father to a few years back, he knows that he has to live in full the last few months of his life. And what would that entail? Playing D&D with his friends, of course. But when the seemingly random events of his D&D campaign start mirroring real-life situations, or vice versa, he realizes that leukemia may not ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, ya, 2019-shelf
The Fault in Our Stars meets D&D fandom meets TIME TRAVEL.

I don't know why I thought this was an example of LitRPG but it isn't. It just happens to have a group of friends playing D&D in the 80's with our protagonist going through his own kind of hell with Cancer.

There happens to be a real-world adventure, a bit of romance, and a psychopath, but let's not forget a few closed-time-like-loops, memory alterations, and the sweetness of kissing a girl. :)

So what about One Word Kill? The D&am
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, 2019-reads
This ReviewBlog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual Rating: 3.75 stars

“It’s always a shock, when you’ve been hit by some calamity, to see the world go about its business with perfect indifference.”

🌟 Mark Lawrence is one of those authors that has been on my tbr for ever! I always say I am going to pick up his books but I never did till recently and he has released book after book while I was procrastinating, so now I have more books to add to my tbr!

🌟 The first thought that came to me was I lik
Will.J.R. Gwynne
My expanded review is now on Booknest....

“It’s always a shock, when you’ve been hit by a calamity, so see the world go about its business with perfect indifference.”

One Word Kill is the first book in the Impossible Times series by Mark Lawrence. It has many similar aspects to Stranger Things, with it being set in the 1980s and the central characters being teenagers.

It was such a brilliant r
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Firstly I want to start by saying what a huge pleasure it is hearing Mark speak in such a different voice. I’ve read and loved all his books but this series opener was like a gifted musician revealing that he knows yet another instrument and pulling out one of those guitars that is actually two guitars and it is fluorescent purple and electric.

With the book described as Ready Player One meets Stranger Things (and I’d also chuck some Terminator and Butterfly Effect in there too) readers have some
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Lawrence can do no wrong.
I devoured this story, it was just so much fun.

This story follows Nick, a young boy who at the start of the story, find out he has leukemia. He and his friends are avid Dungeons and Dragons players and you follow them on masterful D&D sequences that absorb and enchant you.

The story is set in 80's London and feels authentic and nostalgic with callbacks to my own (slightly later) childhood. The pace of the story does not let up and keeps you hooked all of the w
Pretty cool book about a 15 year old kid that is diagnosed with leukaemia and shortly thereafter is approached by a strange guy that tells him that it’s not he who’s future is in danger but that of the girl he’s just met.

Mia recently joined Nick and his three friends Simon, Elton and John in their weekly D&D sessions and while he gets to know the girl he’s trying to process what he had been told about her future and how he can prevent it.

A real life adventure with some delicious time-loop sc
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novella, sci-fi
One Word Kill is my first experience with Lawrence’s science fiction and, while it didn’t resonate with my soul as deeply as his Book of the Ancestor, it was a solid, fun, fast-paced read that I very much enjoyed. Here we have a nerdy group of friends, similar in dynamic to the crew that has taken the world by storm in Netflix’s Stranger Things. This group finds themselves facing external strife through contact with a plot that could have come straight from the pages of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matte ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A really enjoyable and nostalgic adventure, with a great bunch of characters!

As soon as I saw this on Amazon First Reads, I snapped it up, and I did not regret it! This quite short book packed a punch, and I loved it! I had been meaning to read a Mark Lawrence book for a while now, and I'm so glad that I finally did.

Firstly, the characters in this were fantastic! I loved Nick and his gang of misfits! I can see why people have been comparing this with Stranger Things because there were a few para
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This made me want to play Dungeons and Dragons, and after not playing Dungeons and Dragons for thirty-five years, I finally did. Partly because a friend kept nudging me, and partly because damn, now I had to.

Mark Lawrence has an amazing voice, and by the end of the first page it's clear One Word Kill can only turn into a great book, and there's nothing that can stop it.
"But as it turned out, I would die even before February got into its stride."
What a sentence. On the first page.

The story is t
Robin (Bridge Four)
The kids in this remind me a little of the group of friends in stranger things. It is the 80s and they are English and there is time travel instead of the upside down. But it is a group of four boys who have been friends for most of their lives along with the new addition of Mia. They are the nerdier kids of the school and meet once a week to play D&D and make up fantastic adventures, but when the game starts to mirror what is happening in life, well it is a little too much for even Nick to ...more
T.O. Munro
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Mark Lawrence’s gradual migration away from the kind of world and characters of his debut novel Prince of Thorns, One Word Kill represents the greatest step so far. We find ourselves neither in the fantastic ice threatened world of Abeth, nor the magically enhanced post-apocalyptic future Earth of the Broken Empire and the Red Queen’s War. We are instead on more nearly contemporary ground - South London in the 1980s – though Lawrence’s gift for sowing peril and dilemma has bled through into t ...more
Squeaking by with 3 stars, cause I'm in a good mood today.
☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾
The magical power of D&D to draw together people who knew things. Who cared about questions that didn’t seem to matter.

The year is 1986. A group of teenagers spend their time playing D&D and (in the case of the protagonist, Nick), battling against cancer. Little do they know that everything will change for them after the arrival of a new party member (a girl!), and the appearance of a mysterious figure who seems somehow connected to her... and to all of them.

I picked up this one because
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

There are some books that when you have finished reading them you need to take a step back and reflect upon the story that you’ve just finished, One Word Kill is one such book, I loved it all and it is exceptional in every way.

One Word Kill is set in January 1986. Nick Hayes is a fifteen-year-old mathematical genius who finds out that he is dying. Then, he has a mystery to solve, an
kartik narayanan
One Word Kill is a disappointingly average science fiction book whose saving grace is that it is authored by Mark Lawrence. So it will sell.

The blurb gives away most of the story (the little that there is) except for a couple of twists that is foreshadowed a long way off. I suppose that if your exposure to classic science fiction is limited (i.e. one has not read 'By His Bootstraps', 'The Weapon Shops' or any other seminal time travel story.) then you might not expect these twists but for season
Update. Just re-read the ending. Bumping my rating one star up. Excellent plotting and great riff off D&D themes.

My favourite book from Mark Lawrence. Can’t wait for Limited Wish!


Great story! Stranger Things meets Dark Matter. Would definitely appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman as well.

Warning: if you are aged 15 —> 20 it may blow your mind 😂 It would have blown mine for sure!

It would make an awesome movie or TV series too. Give it a go ;)
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Other books in the series

Impossible Times (3 books)
  • Limited Wish (Impossible Times, #2)
  • Dispel Illusion (Impossible Times, #3)
“Truth may often be the first casualty of war, but dignity is definitely the first casualty of disease.” 11 likes
“It’s always a shock, when you’ve been hit by some calamity, to see the world go about its business with perfect indifference.” 3 likes
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