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The Reluctant Assassin

The Reluctant Assassin

Book - 2013 | 1st U.S. ed
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In Victorian London, Albert Garrick, an assassin-for-hire, and his reluctant young apprentice, Riley, are transported via wormhole to modern London, where Riley teams up with a young FBI agent to stop Garrick from returning to his own time and using his newly acquired scientific knowledge and power to change the world forever.
Publisher: New York : Hyperion, c2013
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781423161622 (hbk.)
1423161629 (hbk.)
9781423164951 (pbk.)
Branch Call Number: Y S COLFER
Characteristics: 341 p. ; 22 cm


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From Library Staff

List - Assassins and Spies
YSCLibrary Aug 16, 2018

Book #1 of W.A.R.P. series

From the critics

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Aug 29, 2019

There are some who say they're disappointed by this series, after all we've raised our expectations quite high with his stunning Artemis Fowl series. And to some point those people are correct after all by the time this book was published Eoin Colfer had finished the Artemis Fowl series. But then again the job of a book lover isn't to judge a book by it's AUTHOR but on it's STORY. Do you see? To some state it's true that this book will never live up to it's predecessors but we can still try to judge it by itself ignoring our disappointments.

A great mix of Time Traveling, 1980's, Modern Awesomeness, FBI spy's, and murder. 13+

Riley is the reluctant apprentice to a master assassin named Albert Garrick. When he is sent to commit his first kill and Albert forces his hand Riley becomes a criminal. But when the man he "killed" happens to be a scientist from the future Riley is transported to the modern world leaving Albert to chase after an ancient and dangerous magic.

Chevie is a teen spy who is sent to watch over a "Blob" which her partner claims is really important. But Chevie has her doubts and then a boy falls out of it holding a knife and standing over the dead body of a... MONKEY???? Riley is taken into custody while her partner explains that his father was a time traveling genius who was part of a program called WARP (Witness, Anonymous, Relocation, Program) which was dedicated to keeping witnesses to important cases safe. When Garrick comes after Riley him and Chevie must flee, flipping through time in order to stop Garrick from changing the past (therefore altering the present) forever.

All the while trying to figure why Garrick wants Riley so bad. What makes a lowly, abandoned orphan so special?

May 08, 2017

The first scene plops you smack into the center of the conflict, and from there on things keep climbing in intensity. Colfer cranks up the dials as the pages go by, and the three leads---Riley, Chevie, and Garrick---will all hop off the page at one point or another. Coming off of reading Artemis Fowl (at this point, I'm 3/4 way through the series) and his Marvel comics Iron Man novel "The Gauntlet", my opinion of Mr. Colfer's writing is high. While others here have noted that The Reluctant Assassin isn't as good as Artemis Fowl, I feel that's because Artemis is such a uniquely engaging character, and has something about him that appeals to the reader (plus Holly and everything related to the People). While Riley isn't as sarcastic nor Chevie as experienced, the characters of W.A.R.P.'s first novel shine in their own way, and they are likable. And Garrick is terrifyingly potent as a villain.
The Reluctant Assassin provides suspense, science, and action a little heavier than Artemis Fowl. My library system placed the book in the Teens section, and now I get why. While the violence isn't gory per se, it is vivid as a result of half the time being told from the psychopath villain's point of view. Thus, if you have a younger child who's just come off reading Artemis Fowl and wants more Colfer, maybe preview The Reluctant Assassin first. Some of the scenes are intense and at times a tad horrific. While Colfer often inserts humor or sarcasm to temper some moments down a bit, others are a little harder to swallow.
Nevertheless, I plan on reading the rest of the W.A.R.P. series, which I believe is a trilogy(?). I'm looking forward to seeing what Colfer has planned.

CMLibrary_jrobinson Jul 02, 2016

This is the first in a series by Colfer that will appeal to readers of science fiction, history, and action.

Dec 25, 2014

what the ****

Oct 07, 2014

I couldn't put down the first book, can't wait to read number two!!

Jun 26, 2014

I liked it. It is good for fans of Artemis Fowl, though not quite as good (according to me), and definitely creepier. The idea of an a magician-gone-crazy chasing after them, with no place to hide, not even through time, is slightly disturbing.

JCLChrisK Jul 22, 2013

The problem with being really good is that you create high expectations for yourself. Had this been written by some anonymous author I'd never heard of, there's a chance I might have rated it higher. But when I started this one knowing it was by the always excellent Eoin Colfer, I automatically set very high standards and felt let down to discover that I didn't find it as engaging as his other stories I've read (which is more than just Artemis Fowl). This book is good enough to be a worthwhile read, just not as good as I've come to expect from him.
"It's funny, thought Chevie. I am not afraid. That is because I still believe we will get out of this alive, in spite of all the evidence."
Chevie is a kind-of-agent for the FBI. Kind-of, because she's only sixteen and technically can't be one, but she's become involved and they can't just dump her. Instead, her bosses decide to send her to London for a sleepy assignment in a hidden witness protection program. Except it doesn't stay sleepy or hidden for long, as she learns the hard way--and after the fact--what's really going on: time travel. The witnesses were sent back in time so they'd be entirely hidden, but the technology's inventor didn't want it stolen and he took off into the past with its secrets. Except all of a sudden he's back. As a corpse, with a sociopathic assassin right behind him.
Riley is a street kid in Victorian London who was taken in by a sociopathic assassin. He's acted as apprentice and son to the terrifying Garrick as a way to stay alive, but now Garrick is ready for the young teen to become initiated. When Riley falters during his first assassination attempt, Garrick grabs his arm and drives his knife into the old man's heart. As he does so, a wormhole transports the man through time, and Riley's contact means he's sucked right along. Now he has to figure out this strange London of the future, but he doesn't really have much time to worry about that since he knows Garrick will be coming for him.
And come Garrick does, killing the FBI clean-up crew along the way and using the wormhole to merge with the head agent and scientist, gaining access to all of his knowledge and memories in the process. He has the top training in killing from two different centuries at his disposal, and now he's after Chevie and Riley to eliminate them as witnesses to his planned quest for power. What follows is an adrenaline-drenched chase through time and the streets of two different Londons.

Jul 08, 2013

This book was not quite as good as Artemis Fowl, but it was still an amazing read. I hope there is another one.

Jun 25, 2013

The Reluctant Assassin is another great book from Eoin Colfer. It is similar to the Artemis Fowl series in many ways but primarily in characters, style, and tone. For example, the character Cheveron "Chevie" Savano is written with a personality reminiscent of Holly Short. But even with the similarities the book offers a fresh take on time travel theories and the consequences of it rounded off with action, humor, and Moriarty-esque villain. I highly recommend this new series to anyone who enjoyed Artemis Fowl.


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Aug 29, 2019

GreenNinjaGirl thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jul 15, 2013

gvezin thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over


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Jun 25, 2013

Chevie: "How are you liking the 21st century?"
Riley: "The Take That are most melodic. And God bless Harry Potter is all I can say. If not for him, all of London would have been consumed by the dark arts."


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