Ash Wednesday's Reviews > I Am the Weapon

I Am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary-romance, espionage, male-pov, netgalley, review, sounds-like-a-movie, young-adult, on-going-series, assassinage
Recommended for: fans of The Bourne Identity and Assassin-y Things

3.5 STARS
Asking questions is not what I do. I’m given an assignment, and I carry it out.

Right now, there are at least 2 or 3 books in my TBR shelf roughly with the same premise as this one. Probably five if I estimate on the side of indulgence and include high fantasy assassin stories. It’s my kryptonite.

Oh fine, it’s one among my many kryptonites. But the cold-blooded killers, honed as a weapon by a covert organization and implanted to assimilate into normal society with a mission to kill is a lure I willingly bite on at any given medium.

The success rate in high fantasy of this ploy has been hit-and-miss for the most part for me but YA-contemporary has been killing it so far (pun not intended but hey, I’m claiming it was).

The fact that this book is being re-released under a different title (it was previously published as Boy Nobody) as a lead-in to the release of its follow-up book I Am the Mission next month is pretty much a spoiler. Although I have to admit, making this into a Bourne Identity-esque young adult series isn’t the worst idea out there.

The Weapon is a sixteen year old boy, and a trained assassin of The Program. Through elaborately devised operations, his mission is to eliminate certain personalities with precise execution and covert means. His next target is the mayor of New York City and he has five days to carry out this task through assimilating himself in the high school where the current queen is the mayor’s daughter, Samara.

I found the story engaging enough though not entirely devoid of eye-roll worthy moments which I shall get into later on. For me, the biggest hurdle for these kinds of stories is being able to sell the protagonist. Heroes like this could either take the cocky, snarky route or the sociopath with a sad past, which doesn’t really make that much of a difference for me because done properly, I kinda like both. The Weapon was a bit more of the latter though with his evident confidence in his skills can sometimes make him seem like the former.

I thought Zadoff did a pretty impressive job in making him believably lethal with his obvious dexterity and willingness to make use of the other tools in his arsenal to carry out the mission. I found the sterile narrative brilliant an added dimension to The Weapon’s character. It was his astute observations on human behaviour, the calculating thought process carried out into action and the healthy dose of humor cleverly paced with tension and grit made this a pretty enjoyable ride.

Okay, mostly enjoyable.

Because soon as Samara’s character was introduced, I found my attention drifting. It’s just I’ve seen this plot device far too many times and without telling you what happens, you can pretty much write out the entire second half of this book ahead of reading it. At first I thought it was her obvious perfection that was putting me off but on further reflection I think it was the way her character was eased in the story that didn’t sit well with me. It was too in-your-face obvious how she fits in the story and their chemistry together just felt flat, their dialogue cloyingly cheesy.
”I think you’re tough outside, but you’re soft inside.”
“And you?”
“I’m soft everywhere,” she says.



Egads.

I found The Weapon as a striking enough character and I should see the way Samara brought out conflict from him, by making him remember his past life, an effective tool to his evolution as a person. Except I liked the sociopathic killer better and the alternative being offered by the perfect girl wasn’t interesting me that much. So it started to feel like this entitled bitch was taking the nasty, badass hero from me.

I was actually rooting for Erica but soon as the length of her skirt was pointed out, I knew it was a lost cause. The (implied) slutty ones almost always never gets the guy in these kinds of books.

There were also awkward transitions to philosophical discussions with obvious subtext and allusions to the bigger plot. It wouldn’t have bothered me if it was one conversation, but done repeatedly with different variations in the context and characters involved, it loses its intended impact and just comes across contrived (an honestly a little too soapboxy). It takes the reader out of the reality distortion field you have painstakingly built.

You know what else distorts the reality distortion field? It’s when a badass, stone-cold assassin sees the pretty heroine in a dress and his thoughts go to her looking ‘fabulous’, and my thoughts go...



It’s a small, personal nitpick of mine and it might be quite naive and maybe sexist but I’m having a hard time computing the image of a badass, stone-cold assassin saying ‘fabulous’. Or ‘ecru’. Or ‘pizzazz’. Or ‘chai tea latte’.

I’d have easily rounded this down to a 3 but found Howard the token, non-Asian (props for not succumbing to that stereotype by the way) funny nerd too funny to ignore.
”What did you do, Howard?”
“I was playing with myself, okay? In the library. Back in the ninth grade.”
He looks at the ground.
“That’s embarrassing,” I say, “but you can’t be the first guy to look for a happy ending in the library.”

And that wasn’t even the best part about that incident.

Knowing how things ended here, I felt, as a whole, I Am The Weapon did a pretty good job in making me interested enough to look forward to the outcome of this story as a series. It was fun but not without substance and with enough potential for originality to make me look forward to the next instalment.

Review Copy courtesy of the publishers.

Also on Booklikes.
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Reading Progress

May 12, 2014 – Started Reading
May 12, 2014 – Shelved
May 13, 2014 –
6.0% "I look up to find the fourth man waiting with his gun out.\n He's got a gun, and I've got a broken phone in my hand.\n Not what you'd call a fair fight.\n \n There's a Nokia 3310 joke in there somewhere...\n \n "
May 13, 2014 –
44.0% "An anime character stares out at me. She has enormous eyes. When she blinks, tiny rainbow-colorer stars float from her lashes.\n "This is Goji," he says. "She's my girlfriend."\n "Goji like the berry?"\n "It's a nickname."\n "Um-is she an anime character?"\n "That's just her avatar," he says like I'm a little dense. "For your information, she's Japanese. And she's real."\n \n *blinks*\n Yep I'm definitely not Japanese"
May 13, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies I loved this book, too. I was confused at the title, because the version I read was named "Boy Nobody." I was like...why the fuck did I give this a 4 when I can't remember having read it.

OH.


Sandra I have this one on my TBR, might need to pick it up next.


Ash Wednesday Khanh (Kittens, Rainbows, and Sunshine) wrote: "I loved this book, too. I was confused at the title, because the version I read was named "Boy Nobody." I was like...why the fuck did I give this a 4 when I can't remember having read it.

OH."


Yup! It's going to be a series!

And I liked the no-frills writing style too! Just didn't like the special, perfect girl bringing about the change and giving him a conscience plot device. Didn't like Sam that much but I think it was the way she was introduced in the story. Too obvious.


Ash Wednesday Sandra wrote: "I have this one on my TBR, might need to pick it up next."

It was pretty good. I like these kinds of stories :D


message 5: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim  *Mo Chridhe* Lmao! Fine, call me sexist too but no guy can ever say "fabulous" without making me raise my eyebrow.

Adding this!


Ash Wednesday It's one of those words, y'know? And I've seen this so often in books but it always gives me pause. Its like fingernails on a board o.O


Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more Ahahahaha! I have this in my TBR pile too ;) And I can't stop laughing about the "soft" thing . . .


Ash Wednesday Jessica (Rabid Reads) wrote: "Ahahahaha! I have this in my TBR pile too ;) And I can't stop laughing about the "soft" thing . . ."

It was a little weird for me, that line o.O


Ash Wednesday Danae wrote: "That Channing Tatum gif made my day."

Hee. He can do that :) He's a really funny guy!


message 10: by Cathryn (new)

Cathryn That Channing Tatum gif is hysterical!


message 11: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey I'm adding this too. Not just because that penguin pic was fabulous, but so was the review. I love cute penguins though, srsly.


message 12: by Tandie (new) - added it

Tandie You made me want because I'm a fan of Assassin-y things. And cannibals.


message 13: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Tandie wrote: "You made me want because I'm a fan of Assassin-y things. And cannibals."

Oh yes, that was another reason for me too. Uh, maybe not the cannibals. Actually, yes for cannibals.


message 14: by Ash Wednesday (last edited May 14, 2014 06:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ash Wednesday Bailey wrote: "I'm adding this too. Not just because that penguin pic was fabulous, but so was the review. I love cute penguins though, srsly."

You know before seeing Happy Feet I thought penguins are uniformly slimy slippery. Because you know... Batman.


message 15: by Ash Wednesday (last edited May 14, 2014 06:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ash Wednesday Tandie wrote: "You made me want because I'm a fan of Assassin-y things. And cannibals."

I thought of you Tandie! I actually think you'd like this :D
ETA: no cannibals though ;(
But its a series so...
no cannibals... YET. ;p


message 16: by Tandie (new) - added it

Tandie I loved your review. I love Bourne. Assassins are hot, male or female. I know you're just messing with me on the cannibal thing.

Books that randomly include some kind of cannibals are (so far) ALWAYS good. They never include gross munching details or anything. I swear, it's like a lucky rabbit's foot (eww) or something for any genre!


message 17: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey If I were in charge of penguins, and I should be, I would say that they never lost their puffiness. Even if it makes them less streamline underwater.

I still have this random nightmare of Batman and The Penguin from watching that when I was younger. Another reason why penguins should be required to stay adorable and not wear top hats.


Ash Wednesday Hail Empress Penguin Bailey!

:)

Yes, I never really thought much of penguins until I saw Danny Devito's interpretation of one. It was pretty disturbing o.O


message 19: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Ash Wednesday wrote: "Hail Empress Penguin Bailey!"

I like the sound of that. My son shall be my Penguin Captain of the Guard. He loves, and sometimes I think learned some of his tricks, from the penguins in Madagascar.


message 20: by mich (new) - rated it 4 stars

mich Normally the element of romance would be one of my favorite things in a book like this, but I agree that it was pretty weak in this one. Great review and love that Channing gif, hehe! :)


Ash Wednesday Thanks mich! Hopefully it gets better in that aspect next book :)


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Howard was rubbing himself with The Storm and Fury. Gotta love the classics. My favorite part.


message 23: by Ash Wednesday (last edited Aug 03, 2014 04:16PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ash Wednesday Lia wrote: "Howard was rubbing himself with The Storm and Fury. Gotta love the classics. My favorite part."

I was trying to be obscure on the punchline so as not to spoil it for potential readers, but yes that's right.


Ash Wednesday Nenia wrote: "Ahh, I love your reviews, Ash. They always make me smile. <3"

Aw, thanks Nenia <3


message 26: by Jaemin (new)

Jaemin I loved this book. I recommend to people who enjoys reading love/thriller genre since there is a conflict that happens because of love.


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