Book Title: One Word Kill
Author: Mark Lawrence
Genre: Science Fiction / Time Travel
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Paperback, signed by the author, plus a Kindle copy
Amazon UK, Goodreads
Plot Summary: In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.
Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.
He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.
What did I think?
This made me want to play Dungeons and Dragons, and after not playing Dungeons and Dragons for thirty-five years, I finally did. Partly because a friend kept nudging me, and partly because damn, now I had to.
Mark Lawrence has an amazing voice, and by the end of the first page it's clear One Word Kill can only turn into a great book, and there's nothing that can stop it.
"But as it turned out, I would die even before February got into its stride."
What a sentence. On the first page.
The story is told through Nick who is an incredibly likeable and compelling character. The rest of the cast is well developed, and I cared deeply about their relationships with each other.
Lawrence's writing is imaginative and hilarious. He's got the reader chuckling, then welling up three sentences later.
The biggest theme here is friendship, but the novel has a bit of everything: The kids from Stranger Things meet Donnie Darko's time travel, topped with a healthy dose of young adults growing up in England.
It's a short book, the pacing is impeccable, and it can be swallowed in one swift gulp. And the best part? This could be a standalone. It wraps up neatly, and I actually thought it wasn't part of a series. I am pleased to hear there will be more, but people who are afraid of cliffhangers: don't be.
I recommend this to all Mark Lawrence fans, of course, and beyond that anyone who enjoys time travel, the 80's, Dungeons & Dragons, Stranger Things and anything else I've mentioned. Basically: read this, and you will love it.