Title: The Reluctant Assasin
Author: Eoin Colfer
Release Date: May 2013
Length: 341 pages
Series?: W.A.R.P. #1
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
The reluctant assassin is Riley, a Victorian boy who is suddenly plucked from his own time and whisked into the twenty-first century, accused of murder and on the run.
Riley has been pulled into the FBI’s covert W.A.R.P. operation (Witness Anonymous Relocation Program). He and young FBI Agent Chevie Savano are forced to flee terrifying assassin-for-hire Albert Garrick, who pursues Riley through time and will not stop until he has hunted him down. Barely staying one step ahead, Riley and Chevie must stay alive and stop Garrick returning to his own time with knowledge and power that could change the world forever.
Riley is a teen orphan living in Victorian London. He is an apprentice for an illusionist who has fallen on hard times and now uses his powers for evil and can be hired as an assassin. During one of these schemes, Garrick encourages Riley to commit murder – his first killing.
Thankfully, the victim turns out to be from the future and part of the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP). Riley and Garrick travel via wormhole to modern-day London, where Riley are helped by Chevron Savano, who is there as punishment after a disastrous operation.
Together Riley and Chevie evade Garrick, who is not quite right after his trip through the wormhole: he truly is evil, and he know holds all of the scientist’s knowledge. He is determined to track the pair down and use Chevie’s timekey to go back to Victorian London.
Riley – a teen orphan boy
Albert Garrick – the evil
illusionist assassin who wants to travel back in time and ruin the entire world
Chevron Savano – a 17 year old FBI agent in London as punishment
Professor Smart – also known as Agent Orange, he is Chevie’s superior
“And God bless Harry Potter is all I can say. If not for him, all of London would have been consumed by the Dark Arts.”
“Keep eating,” said Chevie, thinking she would have to watch the videos with him next time.
Max Caufield does the narration for the audiobook, and he is a talented man! He was able to portray Garrick’s depravity and ghastly character in such an incredible way, and then completely switch in his portrayals of Riley and Chevie. I did have to get used to his British accent. It was a bit gravelly and I had to pay closer attention, but once I got in the listening groove I was mesmerized by his storytelling.
Highs and Lows
- POVs. The story is told through the alternating POVs of Riley, Chevie, and Garrick. While sometimes things are repeated through each of their viewpoints, I found that it was interesting what each character chose to pay attention to and also to dismiss.
- Settings. Just like the POVs flip flop, so does the setting. Riley and Garrick originally start out in 1898 London and through a series of events are transported 110 years into the future. The old fashioned juxtaposed with the futuristic makes for one culture shock. The culture shocks for Riley were hysterical. Chevie told him at one point she would get him McDonald’s later, and he was wanting to know why she was bringing him a Scotsman. Oh, sweet Riley.
- Description. Colfer does an incredibly fantastic job of describing Victorian London. The imagery was of the same level I found with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series in the way that I could clearly and easily picture the setting and goings on.
- WARP. The government has been utilizing time travel to hide key witnesses from prominent trails via the wormhole. These witnesses travel back to a time where/when they are safe from the reach of the bad guys, and then brought back forward in time to testify.
- Riley. As I said, sweet Riley. He is quite naive and innocent, but he is also pretty witty. His character reminded me of the orphan Annie
- Chevie. Is awesome. She is sassy and scrappy. While she could kick butt and handle things, she is also only 17 and had her moments she had to face when she was overwhelmed.
- Garrick. Garrick is the most fowl of creatures. He was slimy and horrendous in the worst possible way. Abhorrent. Abominable.Appalling. Chilling to think that this man comes to hold an intense amount of knowledge with the most terrifying objectives. While I shudder at Garrick, I also can appreciate his ultimate villainy.
- The Epilogue. The book didn’t seem to really need the epilogue, and in fact it felt wasted. The epilogue didn’t feel like it fit, as if it was tacked on at the last moment in order to leave the door open to turn this into a series when that wasn’t really the intention.
- Caution! I do caution younger readers who cut their teeth on the Artemis Fowl series. This new Colfer series is not for the faint of heart. It is gory and gruesome and graphic right from the beginning.
I was sad to see the breakup of Riley and Chevie. They were such a pair! While the histories of the characters piqued me, I was pleasantly surprised that Colfer provided their backstories throughout the story as the plot progressed. Readers learn how Riley came to be an orphan, why Garrick became what he is, and what really happened to Chevie on her botched mission in L.A.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
This has the makings of another fabulous series, so it’s probably one you want to buy.
He received his degree from Dublin University and began teaching primary school in Wexford. He has lived and worked all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. After the publication of the Artemis Fowl novels, Eoin retired from teaching and now writes full time. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.