Palate Cleanser: I am the Mission (The Unknown Assassin #2) – Alan Zadoff

18634740eARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for fair review

Summary:

He was the perfect assassin. No name. No past. No remorse. Perfect, that is, until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders. Now The Program is worried that their valuable soldier has become a liability.

And so Boy Nobody is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to prove his loyalty.

His objective: Take out Eugene Moore, the owner of an extremist military training camp for teenagers. It sounds like a simple task, but a previous operative couldn’t do it. He lost the mission and is presumed dead. Now Boy Nobody is confident he can finish the job. Quickly.

But when things go awry, Boy Nobody finds himself lost in a mission where nothing is as it seems: not The Program, his allegiances, nor the truth.

The riveting second book in Allen Zadoff’s Boy Nobody series delivers heart-pounding action and a shocking new twist that makes Boy Nobody question everything he has believed

Genre: YA Thriller

Review:

Okay. So I lied. Clearly this has been posted before my Ruin and Rising review. So what happened? I still plan to start reading it the day I get my hands on it. I just got a little bored so I decided to read I am the Mission anyway. Reading a series isn’t something I normally like to do. I prefer to go in fresh, I find personally that I am less harsh on minor quirks when I do so. But! I am pleased to say that if anything, I enjoyed I am the Mission even more than I enjoyed the last book!

Zadoff has been really smart in his choice of opponents: in this case we get a place called Camp Liberty. This camp has ideals that parallel so-called Sovereign Citizens, a group of “patriots” whose actions can essentially be seen as domestic terrorism – Cliven Bundy, the shooters of the cops in Las Vegas are examples of this kind. It truly grounds the book well and makes it feel relevant, even more so than the antagonists of the last one. Like the last book, this book explores Zach’s torn loyalties. On the one hand, he is trying his absolute best to prove his loyalty. On the other hand, he still has questions about the Program. We again meet Howard, the loner from the last book, whom helps him with the latter resulting in the set up for the next book. The hints we get (while perhaps not quite as big of a twist as the author might have us believe) are still more than interesting enough to make you want to press on.

Zach continues to be a compelling character. He is that assassins, he can still get the job done, but he’s shown more vulnerability and he’s questioning the authority he’s always trusted. In other words, our prematurely grown up teen is growing up. It’s more subtle because it isn’t the usual teenage angst, but it’s there, and it’s a component I really enjoy.

All told, I don’t normally read thrillers, but I absolutely love this series and I think I can say it may be a new favorite of mine amongst YA books. It might even have a chance to make my list of favorite books of 2014.

We’ll see. But odds are looking pretty good.

Verdict: Buy it.

Available: June 17th

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