Friday, January 31, 2014

Lexicon by Max Barry


Title: Lexicon
Author: Max Barry
Published: 2013
ISBN: 9781594205385

Goodreads Synopsis:  At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren't taught history, geography, or mathematics--at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as "poets", adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization's recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school's strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Bronte, Eliot, and Lowell--who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.

Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he's done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.

As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Max Barry's most spellbinding and ambitious novel yet, Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love--whatever the cost.

Sara Says...

I really enjoyed this book. This was interesting, unique, and fast-paced. The characters were appealing and complex. I went into this book with no real expectations, I had heard very little about it, so I didn't really know much about it.I'm glad this is how I began this book. I think it would have a different reaction if I had known a lot before I started reading. 

This book was full of great characters. Eliot and Emily are amazing and their relationship affects the story more than it seems on the surface. After I finished this novel and looked back, it was interesting to see just how important their relationship was from the beginning. 

I would eagerly and excitedly recommend this book to "booky"-type people. There are lots of literary references that make the story more interesting. Also, it is almost comic-book-like. The "poets" in this story have these powers with language that make them easily comparable to super-heroes and super-villains. 

Have you read this book? I would love to hear how other felt about this book and what characters you liked or hated the most. Please share in the comments...  

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