Author: Max Barry
Publisher: Penguin Press, 2013
Summary/Review: “Sticks and Stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” is basically a big, fat lie in the world of Max Barry’s Lexicon. If a Poet tells you to go shoot yourself, you will.
Emily Ruff, a homeless teenager making money by hustling tourists, is one of the special few recruited to attend a very exclusive school where the students are taught to use words to manipulate the minds of others. The best will graduate and become Poets. Emily is already adept at the power of persuasion, a skill she’s had to develop to survive life on the street. She is, however, lacking in discipline, wary of authority and absolutely ruthless in doing whatever it takes to survive. Not surprisingly, Emily is tossed out of school but not before learning that everyone has a specific personality type and once you learn what that is you can control them with certain words. And there are some words that are very, very powerful.
Wil Parke is the exception to the rule. He is (almost) completely immune to manipulation by a Poet. Wil’s world has become a waking nightmare. Strange men want information from him that he doesn’t have and they aren’t shy about hurting him to get it. He has vague memories of a happy life but can’t quite recapture them as he’s too occupied with not getting killed.
Will and Emily’s stories play out against a background of potential Armageddon. An ancient symbol with the power to destroy has surfaced and the race is on to possess it.
Who will like this book: Readers who enjoy a fast paced science fiction thriller that keeps you guessing about who the real “bad guy” is until the very end.
If you like this, try this: Lexicon has been compared to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman; NOS4A2 by Joe Hill and The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Recommended by: Sue D’num, Technical Services
If you think this could be your next read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check availability and/or place a hold