I can’t remember the last time I was this pleasantly surprised by a book. I picked it up out of a sense of duty to the fact that the writer is based in Melbourne, Australia. The jacket copy didn’t exactly thrill me, but the story soon had me and I found myself completely entranced.
Set a few years from now, a secret school in Virginia is instructing students in persuasion – the ability to control others through language. The few who graduate are classified as “poets” and enter the service of a mysterious organisation. Emily Ruff is a homeless teenager when a recruiter for the organisation spots her talent in a street hustle, and sends her onto the school for testing. But Emily is a little different to the other students and is soon sent to perform a particularly ominous mission in Broken Hill, Australia.
For some reasons, this book gave me serious flashbacks to the movie Wanted. No, there’s not a mysterious loom printing out names to be assassinated, but the aims of the organisation and the manner in which its operatives work feels quite similar. Add in some nice connections and plot twists that didn’t feel over-laboured, this is a story of control, identity, coercion, linguistics and love –a really enjoyable read.