Sunday, January 21, 2018

Lexicon by Max Berry

Lexicon was the January pick for the FLICKS Book and Movie Club (aka Rogue Book Club).    Lexicon is a thriller about a group that is trained at an exclusive school to use language to persuade people to do what they want.  They learn to identify what “group” a person belongs to and therefore what key words they need to do the persuaders bidding.  The graduates of this program become “poets” and adopt the names of famous poets.  What does this organization do exactly?  What is their purpose?

Wil Parke is ambushed by two men in an airport bathroom and is kidnapped by them.  He is not sure what the heck is going on as various people pursue them and try to kill them including his girlfriend. What is Wil’s importance?

Emily Ruff is a runaway making it as a card magician on the streets of San Francisco when she is recruited to attend the exclusive school.  She wants to know more about how it all works then the school wants to tell her. She quickly finds herself not only one of the best students, but the most troublesome one.  What is Emily’s role in the story?

Everything circles around a town named Broken Hill in Australia where an “environmental disaster” killed all in habitants. What exactly does Emily, Wil, and the organization have to do with this event?

I’ll admit I had a hard time getting into this book.  The author wants you to feel like the characters with not knowing what is going on, but after 80 or so pages of not knowing, I was annoyed.  Luckily, I chugged on as it was a book club book and got over the hump and enjoyed the story.  You couldn’t think too deeply about some items, but it was an enjoyable thriller.  It also led to some good discussion points, such as, just how much words are used to persuade people to do what you want them too.  We seem to see this each election cycle.  I also didn’t really enjoy the overuse of the F-word throughout the text, especially at the beginning.  It’s just a personal preference, I know some people don’t care, but I really don’t like excessive swearing.

I also was confused about a couple of items.  SPOILER ALERT:  Why did Eliot care so much about Emily?  Was Emily Eliot and Charlotte’s daughter?  Or was she a daughter like figure to replace the child that they lost?  Some things were implied but we weren’t given enough background to know what was really going on.  I still want to know what exactly the organization’s goal was.  SPOILER END

Favorite Quotes:

“I still don’t understand how it’s a word.  Words can’t kill people.”

“Sure, they can.  Words kill people all of the time.”

Overall, Lexicon is a unique thriller that brings up some interesting points, but it does take a while to get into the book (all seemed to agree on this at book club as well.)

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library

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