Audio Review: W.A.R.P. The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer (review by Cuyler Creech)
It’s the late 19th century in Victorian London, and orphaned Riley has the hard luck of being apprenticed to the heartless and vicious madman illusionist-gone-assassin, Albert Garrick. Riley has been well trained by his master in the shrouded arts of illusion, but when it comes to killing, teenage Riley’s heart just isn’t as black as Garrick’s. Which puts Riley in a bind. If he doesn’t consent to becoming what his master has been training him for since he was a child, Garrick won’t hesitate in slitting his throat and dumping him in the lake with his other victims. When given another chance to prove himself to Garrick, an unconscious man is brought into their hideout, and Garrick has all intents of Riley ending the man’s life. But what Garrick wasn’t expecting was the unconscious man’s strange pendant to light up, actually dematerializing the man and his boy apprentice. In a flash of light Riley is just…gone.
Gone through a wormhole.
Chevron Savano, a Native American FBI agent in an experimental teenage program may have just cost herself her career as a full-fledged agent in the Bureau. After an incident in America, Chevy is sent to a secret facility in present day London for a “babysitting” job watching a strange metal pod associated with an unknown program called ‘W.A.R.P.” Chevy has no idea what the pod does, but has just been told to guard it and watch for a man to step outside of it, which no one has in over thirty years. That is, until one day the pod opens, revealing a boy wearing clothes seriously out of style for the 21st century. And he’s standing over a dead body.
Chevy realizes that she’s been assigned to watch a time machine that operates through wormholes, which the FBI uses to safely relocate witnesses to different time periods; a program appropriately called the ‘Witness Anonymous Relocation Program,’ or W.A.R.P. But this time, the body of its creator and a boy named Riley from the Victorian era step from the past and into the present.
And Riley’s murderous master, Albert Garrick, isn’t far behind. And he’s looking for his apprentice, as well as the secrets of the time warp. And no force, in the past or the future, can stop him.
Can the teen duo from worlds apart, a 19th century orphan and a teenage FBI agent, stop the quantum assassin?
This was, undoubtedly, a pretty fun read. Eoin Colfer has such a neat vocabulary, and the way his words are threaded together are like succulent beads strung on one huge necklace of awesomeness. This was an audiobook read for me (or is that a listen?), which, if you get the chance, is really fun to listen to. Maxwell Caulfield narrated this time-travelling tale excellently. I didn’t count, but I’d say there were about eight different character voices, which made the telling very alive and realistic. If you find the audiobook version of this, don’t pass it up.
As far as pace goes, Colfer played out his story pretty well. The tense emotions begin immediately with the first chapter, and keep throughout. The time-travelling subject is kind of awesome, and I’m a sucker for wormholes. The science of it was enough to make me feel like I knew how they worked instead of suffocated by confusing and uninformative jargon of quantum mechanics. Throughout, this was a pretty easy to read story. That being said, I am, after all, not a Victorian, so Riley’s dialogue was a little hard to understand. But Colfer even played that out well, (even Chevy didn’t know what Riley was saying half the time which made for some entertaining banter), and if you’re good with context clues, you’ll get the gist of what he says.
The idea of using time-travel as a means of witness relocation is, in a word I use for, like, everything, awesome. Add a hard-hitting and sarcastic heroine, a time-travelling illusionist/killer-in-training, and a psychopathic quantum man who would make Jack the Ripper wet his pants, and you got yourself one spicy meatball of a story.
W.A.R.P.: The Reluctant Assassin is the first in a fun and enthralling series, tackling the time warp plane with a whole new look and style with animated and unique characters that will take you on their ride through time. I give 4 out of 5 stars for this quantum adventure tale, and I look forward for what Riley, Chevy, and Colfer have to bring next.
Karen’s totally irrelevant editor’s note: When I was my Tween’s age, I was totally in love with Maxwell Caulfield. Grease 2 baby. I had the soundtrack – on tape! I probably should not be sharing any of this. But I am totally going to listen to this now because he is narrating.
Filed under: Audio Books, Book Reviews, Eoin Colfer, W.A.R.P. The Reluctant Assassin
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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