Riley, a teen orphan boy living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, an illusionist who has fallen on difficult times and now uses his unique conjuring skills to gain access to victims’ dwellings. On one such escapade, Garrick brings his reluctant apprentice along and urges him to commit his first killing. Riley is saved from having to commit the grisly act when the intended victim turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP). Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern day London, followed closely by Garrick.In modern London, Riley is helped by Chevron Savano, a nineteen-year-old FBI agent sent to London as punishment after a disastrous undercover, anti-terrorist operation in Los Angeles. Together Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole. Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist’s knowledge. He is determined to track Riley down and use the timekey in Chevie’s possession to make his way back to Victorian London where he can literally change the world.
Eoin Colfer always delivers even if it takes me a while to get into it. I wasn't too keen on Chevie at first. She seemed too much a FBI agent stereotype but I think, in the end, that was the point of her. She was trying so hard to be a grownup and fit into the idea she had of being an FBI agent and then things get out of hand and way beyond her wildest dreams or experiences. Meanwhile, Riley is a more sympathetic character who is pretty smart for a kid who was essentially raised by a psychopath. But then I guess you'd have to be to stay alive for any length of time. I enjoyed the, as a team and I was glad that they got together quickly and any mistrust between was done away quickly. It made the story stronger.
Time travel can be hard to do but if you largely ignore the science, then it is usually fun. The Reluctant Assassin largely ignores the science and I think the consequences don't show up til the 2nd book based on the description I read of that one. This is sort of a science fiction mystery with a bit of thriller thrown in as Riley and Chevie run from the madman Garrick literally through time. Thrown in are bits of Riley's past and how Chevie got into the FBI in the first place. It was slow to start for me but then, when it took off it was really good and I look forward to the next book.
9 hours, 29 minutes
Maxwell Caulfield is the narrator who in my mind is from Grease 2 and Empire Records but that might show my age. Anyway, he also co-narrated Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell when I wondered how he'd do with an entire book and I got my answer. Pretty good it turns out. He has a good voice for the reading though his distinct voices need work. I also feel like this book would done well with a female narrator but I didn't mind Caulfied at all.