Eoin Colfer is a master at creating complicated plots. His tales twist and turn like a roller coaster ride and the tension ratchets higher with every paragraph. Always, just when it looks as though his hero is utterly doomed, the plot will twist again and the reader is allowed to breathe — but only for an instant.
I was a great fan of the Artemis Fowl series. I purchased multiple copies of every novel for my classroom and read the first one aloud to my students for three years running. I approached W.A.R.P. Book 1 The Reluctant Assassin cautiously, fearing I would be disappointed. I was certain there was no way Colfer could make another hero as complicated and compelling as Artemis Fowl, and in a way I was right. The Reluctant Assassin doesn’t have a single compelling hero. It has two: Chevron Savano and Riley — a couple of orphans with an assassin on their tails — and they have no one to rely on except each other.
The book blurb:
Riley, a teen orphan boy living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, an illusionist who has fallen on difficult times and now uses his unique conjuring skills to gain access to victims’ dwellings. On one such escapade, Garrick brings his reluctant apprentice along and urges him to commit his first killing. Riley is saved from having to commit the grisly act when the intended victim turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP) Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern day London, followed closely by Garrick.
In modern London, Riley is helped by Chevron Savano, a seventeen-year-old FBI agent sent to London as punishment after a disastrous undercover, anti-terrorist operation in Los Angeles. Together Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole. Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist’s knowledge. He is determined to track Riley down and use the timekey in Chevie’s possession to make his way back to Victorian London where he can literally change the world.
If I had to list something I didn’t like about W.A.R.P. Book 1 The Reluctant Assassin, the only thing I can think of is that the story blurb is woefully inadequate. It doesn’t even begin to describe the multitude of layers in the story. What truly amazes me about Colfer’s tangled tales, is the fact that they are remarkably easy to read and to follow, even though it is totally impossible to predict the next twist in the tale.