The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer is a fun science fiction novel with historical elements, and is aimed at young teens and up.
Riley, a teen who is living in Victorian London, is an apprentice to Albert Garrick, a malicious and evil assassin, who misuses his illusionist conjuring skills to gain access to victim’s dwellings. During an assassination attempt, Garrick brings the reluctant and nervous Riley to commit his first murder. Their intended victim however turns out to be a scientist from the future, sent back in time as part of the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Plan (WARP).
Riley shrinks from his task so Garrick takes over. However, a protective pendant comes to life and transports not only their fatally stabbed victim but also Riley to a time capsule in modern day London via a wormhole. Chevron Savano, a nineteen-year-old FBI agent, who’d had some disastrous operations to her name as well, guards the capsule.
Riley and Chevie must now escape an infuriated Garrick after he also finds his way through the wormhole to modern London. Garrick is not only evil, but also possesses new skills and intelligence as a result of mutations from being transported. He is determined to track Riley and Chevie down to ‘silence them forever’ and gain their timekey so he can return to Victorian London and change the world to his benefit.
- I found the book engaging from the start to finish. The action was well paced, and the scenes’ descriptions pulled you in.
- The characters were well developed and believable. Even the bad guy was not two dimensional, and he had a past that showed character development.
- Colfer’s details of Victorian London seemed well researched and fascinating.
- There are a few steam punk elements that will broaden the appeal for teens.
- Colfer uses a sharp wit to keep the reader thoroughly entertained.
- I’m not a fan of the omniscient point of view and the head-hopping broke up the smooth story for me. I really wanted to get to know one character a bit better rather than all of them.
- The beginning of the story is a bit grisly, but not overly. There were no horribly graphic murder scenes, and the rest of the story was just about the MC’s Riley and Chevie fleeing Garrick.
I have read many Eoin Colfer books, but most enjoyed his Artemis Fowl series. He has a wicked sense of humour and a gift for engaging action in his stories. This book is the first in the WARP series. Personally, I enjoyed the Artemis Fowl series more than this first book, but am definitely going to carry on, as Colfer is an amazing writer who never disappoints me.