Lexicon Review

Review: Lexicon
by:Max Barry

Hello Everyone! So I know that this review and post for today, Wednesday August 10th is going up a little late; however rural Vermont's weather hates me right now. We live at the end of a power-line and every time it rains the power usually will cut out, and that happened this morning at 6AM EST when I woke up originally to post this review, so I had to wait for them to fix it before I could continue to write. Regardless of the weather I read Lexicon by: Max Barry for a book club I am in and I thought it was wonderful! Without further ado lets get to the review!

When I began this novel many years ago I did not read beyond the first chapter because I was confused and frankly frightened that the main character spelt his name the same way I spell mine; Wil. I dont know what is more eerie, the similar spelling of a name or the fact that the relationship he has uses the same "abbreviated name" as my current relationship. I just find this book is so much fun to read  and think about, while providing some scary parallels to my own life. 
PC: Me

"At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren't taught history, geography, or mathematics--at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as "poets", adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization's recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school's strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Bronte, Eliot, and Lowell--who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.

Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he's done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.

As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Max Barry's most spellbinding and ambitious novel yet, Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love--whatever the cost." (Goodreads.com)

General Thoughts: 
PC: Me
  • I loved the fast pacing of this book!
    • The book has two plot lines that weave together in order to create a perfectly blended story that will enthrall any reader. 
  • The plot twists were mildly predictable. 
    • The big twists I did guess, however that did not change the enjoyment of the book for me. I enjoyed the characters and plot in general enough to make up for the fact that I guessed the twist.
  • The writing is easy to comprehend and each voice is very distinct. 
  • It really had some scary parallels to my life! 
    • between spelling Wil the same and using the same abbreviated name for Wil's girlfriend as I use for my current girlfriend, YIKES too many parallels!
  • The idea and premise behind this book is brilliant!
    • Words having literal POWER! Mind blowing repercussions occur when some words are used! 
    • Honestly if words worked this way in the real world maybe we all would learn that restraint is necessary.
  • Wil: Wil has a confused and muddled haze over his character for much of the novel, however I believe that this was an intentional haze placed by the author. The hazy and muddled feeling that is cast over Wil really adds to his character development because as he understands what is happening we the reader can see the "smoke" clearing. Wil has an aloof personality, being skittish around new people and often times guarding himself from unknown adversaries; this is a trait I too share and can relate with. He begins with a haze surrounding him, and ends with a clear and sure path to the future! Barry can write a realistic character, especially when it is in a high stress scenario. 
  • Emily: Emily has an inquisitive nature that drags the reader in and does not let go until she has discovered what she was searching for. Beginning the story as a street Urchin, Emily goes throughout a complete transformation by the end of the novel. She is able to develop trust, love, and loyalty which are all things that as an Urchin she pushed aside for her fight or flight instincts. Emily is not entirely good or evil she acts as a very morally ambiguous character at times. This nuanced Urchin caught my attention from the first scene we saw her in!
  • In general the characters are likable, however when put under pressure each one reacts in their own unique way. This reactions differentiation is what allowed me to believe that these characters were "real" as not everyone will see a scenario the same way. 
  • The writing in this book is not especially beautiful or elaborate, however its stunted and varied syntax (sentence structure) adds a great atmosphere to the chaotic thriller plot that Barry has created. 
  • His word choice is simple and easy to read.
  • The pacing is done perfectly, allowing the plot and characters to carry you along the way.
  • All in all good writing, yet still not the best I have read.
Recommended for: 
  • Especially those who appreciate the written word, and the "power" words can have. 
  • Anyone who likes poetry and satire would love the twist that Barry does with famous dead poets. 
Rating: 4.5 stars!

Fan Art: I drew this after I finished the book because I was so inspired by the idea behind words and their power to evoke emotion. I wanted to capture heavy hitting words, and let you all think about what a word is an how we have associated a meaning behind it!

My Favorite photo and artwork I have done in a long time!

Happy Reading! 

Everyone, if you get a chance to pick up this book please do! The themes of the power of words and their inherent meaning is incredible!


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