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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Seventeen-year-old FBI agent Chevron Savano thought her time in London would be an exercise in boredom, but between dead scientists, scrappy would-be assassins, and a malevolent Victorian illusionist, boredom may be the least of her worries. The FBI's Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (W.A.R.P.)-where time travel is used to hide witnesses in other times-has gone horribly wrong. Fourteen-year-old Riley must kill or be killed by his assassin master, but the teen is spared when his target turns out to be from the future and he's inadvertently transported from Victorian times to present-day England. Unfortunately, the orphan's murderous master, Albert Garrick, follows the boy, and his trip through the portal gives him knowledge and abilities that only make him more dangerous than ever. Garrick will do everything in his power to reclaim his apprentice and the Timekey that Chevie possesses. This science-fiction thriller provides readers with a breathless ride through modern and Victorian Londons as these two resourceful teens struggle to stay alive and one step ahead their pursuer. This offering is darker, bloodier, and much more serious in tone than the author's popular "Artemis Fowl" series (Hyperion). It may not be for the faint of heart, but the intricate plot, strong writing, and intrepid characters who must survive by their wits will make it hard to put down. Readers who enjoy Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" series (Philomel) and Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan (S & S, 2009) are sure to enjoy this nonstop adventure.-Stephanie Whelan, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Magic and murder kick off this new series about former illusionist Albert Garrick and Riley, his 14-year-old apprentice. Add in Chevie Savano, a 17-year-old FBI agent with a chip on her shoulder and a fierce determination to prove herself, and the stage is set for a fast-paced thrill ride. Garrick makes use of magician’s secrets to carry out his nefarious tasks, and the FBI employs WARP technology to conceal people in a truly secure witness protection program—the past. Unfortunately, not all of those who are hidden have learned their lesson, and the stakes are amped even higher when Garrick manages to transport himself into the future. By setting the story in both present day and 1898 London, award-winning author Colfer is able to explore the intersection of magic and technology in a clever, double-pronged way. Fairly gruesome murders and mutations, as well as alternating time periods and points of view, keep the action moving. Everything is tied up sufficiently at the end, but Colfer leaves a few threads that can be pulled to further the universe of this fascinating high-octane thriller. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A new series by the author of the internationally best-selling Artemis Fowl books? Yes, please. Grades 7-12. --Charli Osborne --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: WARP (Book 1)
  • Audio CD: 8 pages
  • Publisher: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804123357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804123358
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,677,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) is the New York Times best-selling author
of the blockbuster Artemis Fowl series as well as Airman; Half Moon
Investigations; The Supernaturalist; Eoin Colfer's Legend of... books;
The Wish List; Benny and Omar; and Benny and Babe. He was born in
Wexford on the southeast coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four
brothers were brought up by his father (an elementary school teacher,
historian and artist of note) and mother (a drama teacher). He first
developed an interest in writing in primary (elementary) school with
gripping Viking stories inspired by history that he was learning in
school at the time.

Eoin got his degree from Dublin University and qualified as a primary
school teacher, returning to work in Wexford. He married in 1991 and he
and his wife spent about 4 years between 1992 and 1996 working in Saudi
Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. His first book, Benny and Omar, was published
in 1998, based on his experiences in Tunisia; it has since been
translated into many languages; a sequel followed in 1999. In 2001, the
first Artemis Fowl book was published worldwide to much success -
shortly thereafter he left teaching to concentrate fully on his writing.
To this day, Eoin has written 6 Artemis Fowl books which have sold over
12 million copies worldwide.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By TeacherReader on May 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
3.5 stars

Riley, a teenage orphan boy in London circa 1898, is apprenticed to Albert Garrick, assassin extraordinaire. When their latest victim disappears into an FBI-monitored wormhole, Riley finds himself along for a ride into the future. In present-day London, Riley knows his days are numbered until the assassin comes to the future looking for him.

First some good news - there's LOTS of time travel in The Reluctant Assassin. The characters zip back and forth between the present day and 1898 quite frequently. Hooray!

And for a book about an assassin, there's also an awful lot of violence as you would expect. So much gory throat-slitting and knife-sticking that I don't feel comfortable recommending this for children below the age of 13. The three main characters spend the entirety of the book running around trying to kill one another. In the meantime, random FBI agents, vagrants, and thugs also find themselves getting murdered. Did I mention that there's a lot of killing in this book?

As for plot, pacing, and character, I found The Reluctant Assassin to be uneven. All 3 of the primary characters were interesting. They were complex, but with just enough stereotyping that they could almost be caricatures ~ evil villain, snarky FBI agent, wise orphan. The pacing and plot were strong at first. I was immediately hooked by both the plight of young Riley and the strange goings-on of the FBI agents. However, as the story progressed the plot began to disappear. The pace continued in a flurry of killings and near-misses, but without a strong plot, these adventures felt hollow.

The biggest problem facing The Reluctant Assassin is that the central conflict of the novel is too weak. Aside from everyone trying to kill each other, not much happens.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on June 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Author Eoin Colfer has left Artemis Fowl behind, and starts here a new series starring 17-year-old Chevron, an American (of Shawnee heritage) in essentially present day London, and Riley, a younger teen, from late 1800 London. Chevie is an undercover juvenile working for the FBI, and Riley is a street-smart cove who ends up in the present day while running from Garrick. And Garrick is a knife-wielding magician/assassin, not the least bit afraid of shedding blood. This book is quite bloody, with stilettos and shivs and pierced organs and murders of various other sorts. Colfer does a good job portraying the stinks and grime of 1898 London, as well as keeping up with modern weaponry and bits of current day humor. Having a female in the lead role is an interesting twist.

The "Witness Anonymous Relocation Program" (WARP-from the title) is where Chevie ends up after her high school undercover project goes awry. Riley is an orphan who mysteriously appears from a time pod, and the two quickly end up on the run through both present day and Riley's past London. There are mysteries of parentage, melded personalities and plenty of other adventures to keep middle-teen readers on the edge of their chairs. I will suggest this book to readers in grades 8 and up, due to violence. I find it interesting that Colfer has made Chevie and Riley's age difference (she is 17, he is 14) just enough to make any hint of romance rather awkward. This book appears to be the first in in a series.

Overall: 4 stars for action-packed bloody sci-fi/fantasy for 14-15 year olds.
About me: I'm a middle school-high school librarian
How I Got This Book: purchased for the library
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Inspector Gadget on April 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
What happens if you mix David Cronenberg's The Fly with Demolition Man and Oliver Twist? A rather singular concotion, and WARP: The Reluctant Assassin is indeed that, if hardly unique on its own merits.

Young orphan Riley is whisked from the past into the modern age by a cockamamie time machine and into the hands of the FBI. His devilish master Albert Garrick follows, acquiring super-powers on the way. The Feds are soon cut down by Garrick, and Riley flees with Junior Agent Chevron Savano. With Garrick relentlessly on their heels they bounce around in time with barely a moment to gather their thoughts and comprehend the situation.

Time travels stories always set themselves up for logical conundrums and paradoxes. WARP is no exception. Colfer tries to cover all aspects of the time travel process but still creates parallel universes which contradict what has already been established. The story switches between the present day and 1898 both physically and narratively, and it's easy to keep up with though there are a couple of moments when the lack of description leads to confusion (Garrick's re-emergence in 1898 is barely detailed and it just sort of jumps to him being in the Orient Theatre). I'm not entirely sure of the Junior FBI agent thing works, and there are couple of frustrating coincidences that keep all of the story threads conveniently tied together instead of being free and loose.

The character of Otto Malarkey from Airman makes an appearance, so it takes place in the same universe as Colfer's previous 2008 novel. Otto is comical, in a way, but still devious and unlikeable. If he's going to come back in future novels, Colfer needs to completely turn that character around in order to make him work.

I really enjoyed The Reluctant Assassin, and I look forward to further adventures with Riley and Chevie. I just hope that Colfer doesn't lose interest like he ultimately did with Artemis Fowl.
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