“The difference between a hero and a villain is a very thin line.”
He was the perfect assassin.
Boy Nobody: No name. No past. No remorse. At least until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders — until he fell in love with his target. Now The Program is worried that its valuable soldier has become a liability.
Boy Nobody, haunted by the outcome of his last assignment, is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to show his loyalty.
Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads | National Book Store | Publisher
Also known as I Am The Mission in US or The Lost Mission in UK, this second installment of Allen Zadoff’s The Unknown Assassin series is not only an entertaining read like the first book but also more action packed, more thrilling, and full of twist and turns that will surely keep readers on the edge of their seats.
If you have read my review for the first book, The Hit (first published as Boy Nobody) you know that I’m all praises for that book. I love everything about it that I’ve written a longer and more detail review than usual. I also developed high expectations from Allen Zadoff, I don’t know how he will do it but I’m certain he can top the first installment, and top he did. He not only deliver a thrilling story but also surpass the first installment with this book, The Mission.
In here, Nobody’s mission is much bigger, the risk is definitely much higher, tension is shooting up, and the danger is more real.
New mission, new name and new background for Nobody. For this mission he is going under the name of Daniel, a regular kid who was sent by his father to join a recruiting event for a teenagers’ camp. The camp called Camp Liberty is owned and managed by a former US military officer, Eugene Moore – Daniel’s new target. Daniel isn’t the first assassin sent by The Program to do the task. He is deployed to complete a lost mission with one specific condition set by The Program – he must not enter Camp Liberty.
But things doesn’t always go as plan and Daniel was left with no other choice than to continue the mission even without the help of The Program. Without communication and assurance from his superiors Daniel must rely on his own to complete the task while deciphering who is really the good guy and the bad guy.
Going back to Nobody’s (now Daniel) head is always a welcome experience. His isolated and succinct voice is perfect to his personal background as an assassin trained by The Program. His process of thought and his ideas are interesting and even thought-provoking.
“Everyone in the world is a follower. They follow an agenda, whether it’s set by school, parents, a job, society. The only question is who or what they choose to follow. Most people don’t even realize there’s a choice to make, so they end up stumbling blindly through their lives, wondering why they’re so unhappy when they’re doing everything right.”
Daniel approached every situation with his assassin’s skills and trained mind, mostly for The Program’s benefits, until he uncover some of the secrets and the lies. From there emerge a more raw and more human like version of Daniel as he starts to questions the authority, his mission, and his role in all that is happening. He finally shows some real feelings and emotions, and all those happen gradually with believable reasons to back it all up which simply prove a well handled character development by Allen Zadoff.
In the first book, Boy Nobody, Daniel (Ben/Nobody) is a solo soldier, no real friends, no real family. No one to trust or care of. But in this installment he is finally learning to trust other people. He is willing to hand his life and security to a friend, someone we already met in the previous book of this series.
“If you don’t feel fear, you don’t feel joy or love. Not in any real way. Without the fear, the risk is gone. And without risk, rewards don’t matter. You’re left with nothing much at all. You’re numb.”
The first person narrative is perfect. It so easy to understand and feel every emotions of Daniel even with his machine like personality. Every little emotion he shows is bursting into million pieces, every cut and every scraps he get feels like my own wounds, every questions and doubts are same questions running in my own head. Everything is raw, powerful, and real.
How Daniel battle between his loyalty and his personal responsibility is well written. It keeps the story more engaging, more interesting, and more thrilling. As Daniel uncover some of the secrets and started to question The Program and his missions, I find myself rooting for him while dreading some of the revelations that is coming.
The story line about the military camp is very believable. It can happen or maybe it is happening somewhere, and that alone makes the story more compelling and even frightening. It also provides a perfect opponent for Daniel. The place is like a mine field waiting to explode and the people inside the camp are like assassins like him. One wrong move or miscalculated step my favorite assassin is gone. It really gives a risky and frigthening feel, add the action-packed scenes, the killings, secrets, and lies I am literally holding my breath in most of the scenes.
Overall, The Mission is a solid riveting sequel to The Unknown Assassin series. With its believable and interesting premise, complex characters, and action packed story line, Allen Zadoff successfully delivered a thought-provoking, pulse-pounding, and smart novel once again. Will surely be reading the next/final installment of this series.
*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Hodder Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books UK in exchange of honest opinion.