Lexicon|Max Barry


I received this book in a swap with a book buddy. Do you ever trade books? It’s a good way to get your hands on new books-if you’re able to part with the old ones! I have a tendency to keep all of my books unless I didn’t like them, so I don’t wind up swapping very often. I’m working on getting out of my book comfort zone and trading books has helped with that. Lexicon is one I wouldn’t have grabbed for myself, but that’s the beauty of trading with strangers.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Your answer to this question, and other seemingly random questions like it, could gain your enrollment into an exclusive school. There you will be taught the history of language, trained in linguistics, and taught to persuade people. Ultimately, you will become an expert Poet, a working member of a secret organization. You will develop the ability to manipulate people using only speech, easily bending just about everyone to your will. In this world, words literally become weapons.

Emily was just a teenage girl, living on the street and making money playing three card monte with tourists. She then meets T.S. Eliot (no, not that T.S. Eliot), a Poet recruiting new students. Soon, Emily is riding first class on a plane to that exclusive school in Virginia. Before she can graduate, she breaks a few rules and is banished to Broken Hill, Australia. There, Emily makes the mistake of falling in love.

Wil was kidnapped from an airport and dragged into the word war he had no idea existed. He is clueless as to who the Poets are or why they’re after him, but they keep coming for him, one after the other. He must team up with Eliot to save himself and, quite possibly, the world.

The story is told through two different plot lines, separated by many years. They become more and more intertwined until eventually they are telling the same story at the same time from different points of view.

I gave this 3 stars. It has a unique concept with an unusual plot and could be classified as a fast-paced thriller. I really liked Emily, as flawed and needy and unlikable as she was. She was witty and tough and kind of a badass. And then there’s Wil. Poor, hapless Wil, who was almost always just as confused as I was. It was hard not to like him. He’s an Everyman who was just trying to figure out what the hell was happening around him. Aren’t we all? I think Eliot was my favorite, though. He was smart, funny, and also a serious no-nonsense sort of badass.

With all that being said, it wasn’t really my cup of tea and it’s hard to put my finger on why. Sometimes I don’t mind being left out of the loop in the story, but here I just felt confused throughout and I didn’t feel the payoff was worth it. There were multiple POVs, including those of more minor characters that were hard to keep track of at times. I was more interested in Emily, Wil, and Eliot than the others, so I had difficulty paying attention at times, which quite possibly resulted in all my confusion. The plot twist was kind of predictable and didn’t have me shouting “WHAT?!” and questioning everything I thought I knew over and over, as a good plot twist should.

All in all, this was an okay book. It didn’t rock my world and I won’t be thinking about it for years to come.

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