Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 39: Lexicon by Max Barry

Unknown-4About 8 years ago, when Bunnybean wasn’t even a year old, we moved from Boston to the Washington DC area. And I went from being a working mom to a stay-at-home mom. And at first, I wasn’t very good at it. I couldn’t get Bunnybean to sleep when she was supposed to, and spent a lot of time driving around so that she would nap in her car seat. And then, randomly, one day, I saw Christa Miller (we loved her from Scrubs!) on the Ellen show talking about the book she had written the introduction to that was about helping your baby develop healthy sleep habits. I ran out to Borders the very next day and bought the book. And soon, Bunnybean was sleeping like a champ.

But I digress…because of this book, I started to pay a bit more attention to Christa Miller. I realized she was really smart and funny and watched CougarTown just because of her. She was one of the first people I followed on twitter. And she gives great book recommendations, too. She recommended Where’d You Go, Bernadette? months before I had heard of it. and so, a few weeks ago, when she said that she stayed up all night reading Lexicon, I knew I’d be reading it next.

Thanks, Christa. Another great choice.

Lexicon starts out with a man named Wil being accosted by two strange guys in an airport bathroom. They ask him a bunch of non-sensical questions and then inject a syringe into his eyeball, with no explanation. Bang — all of this in the first page or two, and the book barely lets up from there.

Told in alternating narratives and timelines, Lexicon is about a secret government agency that monitors the power of words and the persuasion that certain words have over certain people.  The bulk of the plot is centered around an ancient and powerful word that is let loose in Broken Hill, Australia, provoking the citizens of the small town to commit unspeakable acts. Who brought the word there? And why?

Max Barry brings this crazy world alive with a lot of humor and action. I haven’t enjoyed an action book like this in quite a while — I hate to compare it to The Rook (because that book really does stand on its own), but Lexicon did remind me of it several times. But all in a good way. I really enjoyed it and will look forward to reading more Barry in the future.

 You can read more of my reviews (as well as Bunnybean’s!) on my blog.

Lady Cordelia #CBR5 Review #73: Lexicon by Max Barry

imagesI 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.