Review of Lexicon by Max Barry (original and action-packed thriller)
Review of Lexicon by Max Barry
Sticks and stones break bones.
They recruited Emily from the streets. They said it was because she’s good with words.
They’ll live to regret it.
Wil survived something he shouldn’t have. But he doesn’t remember it.
Now they’re after him and he doesn’t know why.
There’s a word, they say. It shouldn’t have got out. But it did.
And they want it back…
If Max Barry’s name hadn’t been on the front cover of this book, and I had to guess who’d written it, I would’ve guessed say Stephen King.
King could have written Lexicon. It has his sharp, witty writing style, crazy characters and unique plots. Some of the details and quirks in the writing are also reminiscent of King. But Barry holds his own, and delivers one of the most unique thrillers I’ve read.
Lexicon’s plot focuses on words literally being used as weapons. There are certain people who can words to force people to do things, anything–kill, carry out orders, pretty much anything. It’s a crazy and unique concept.
But it’s not the only focus of Lexicon. The narrative is split into two different narrators. Emily Ruff and Wil Jamieson. At first, it’s hard to see how the characters connect. But as the story unfolds and multiple twists change the direction of the plot, things start to come together.
Lexicon comes together like it was carefully planned from beginning to end. The world building can be a little confusing at times, despite that it takes place in our world, but the history of the ‘Poets’ as the people who can use words are called is only a small part of the story. The focus is largely on Emily and Wil, and their separate stories–at least until their stories meet.
This thriller pretty much delivers on all fronts. Fast-pace, villains, some solid action set-pieces and chase sequences, conspiracies and plenty of twists in the plot.
Like most thrillers it ends in a gripping showdown. But Lexicon isn’t predictable. Barry keeps things as original as the core idea of words as weapons and things don’t unfold as you predict they will.
With solid characters and a cool premise, as well as all the usual thriller elements, Lexicon is one of the best sci-fi (or fantasy; it’s hard to choose which genre it’s closest to) books I’ve read.
Highly, highly recommended.