The Hit by Allen Zadoff

The Hit

The Hit, aka I Am the Weapon, aka Boy Nobody, is a fast paced action packed tale about a boy assassin whose mission in life is to befriend and kill his targets. And for the most part, it’s delivers on its promises. The first person present tense helps add to the experience, instead of hindering it, and the writing was smooth.

Ben (an alias), came home one day to find that his friend killed his family. Since then, nothing has been the same for our little hero. He’s recruited into the Program to be an assassin and now works for Mother and Father. He learns to fight, kill, and never lose focus during a mission. To think of anything else would be suicidal, in more ways than one.

His latest mission is to infiltrate a prestigious private school, where he’ll befriend Samara (Sam) and then kill her father. Normally, a mission like this takes at least a month. You need to get friend with the kid so that they trust you completely, but this time it’s different. Ben has only five days to complete the task.

What makes this case even more troubling is that Sam’s father is the Mayor. Ben isn’t like other kids, he knows how to get in and out and remain undetected, but soon memories from the past start to creep up on him making him question everything the Program stands for. And soon enough, he’s starting to wonder who he can trust, the Program, Sam, or himself.

All in all, this is actually a really fun book to read. One of my biggest pet peeves is when first person present tense isn’t done correctly. If a writer decides to use that style, then things need to happen. It doesn’t really make sense if it’s slow. Maybe it does, I don’t know, but I haven’t read a book with a first person present tense style that is slow and was good. If you know of any, let me know.

In any case, this book does this writing style justice. I zoomed through the pages and never felt like there was a dull moment. Even when there were slower moments, I still felt the same intensity so it was never boring.

The plot is also good. The idea of using child soldiers, because that’s what Ben is, to kill things with no feeling is interesting. It kind of reminded me of Gunslinger Girl, except without the overbearing handlers and prosthetics. Actually, the only thing that is common between the two is that it deals with child soldiers who are taught not to think of anything except the mission. It’s sad, but fascinating. You want the kids to have a good life, but you also want to know what happens next. It kind of makes me feel bad; but thankfully, it’s fiction.

There are great things about this The Hit, but I didn’t really believe Ben. Sure, he had some scenes where he’s a killing machine and we’re shown this, but for someone who was trained to not think but do, he seems almost too emotional for the job. I mean, the moment he meets Sam he’s smitten by her, which is fine. Really, it’s fine. But he falls hard and fast and starts to think about running away with her. When this happens, he stops thinking clearly. Like when he finds out that Sam has a crazy ex-boyfriend who sometimes gets a little stabby when Sam is involved with a guy, he just shrugs his shoulders and accepts Sam’s affection. After three days together, Sam takes off her clothes in front of him and they have sex.

Not saying this is wrong or right, but for someone who is trained to be a machine you’d think that they’d stop thinking via their nether regions and use their brain here. Something is clearly off here, but he refuses to see it. And when the Program tells him that the Mayor is no longer the target, but Sam is, he starts to question everything.

I get that he sees a bit of himself in Sam and he likes talking to her, but whenever she was around he stopped being a badass assassin.

I was a little disappointed by this.

Overall: By the end, I was happy again and will read the next book to see what happens next to our little Ben. The writing is great and the plot, thankfully, didn’t go into predictable political clichés. The political plot deals with Israel and the Mideast Conflict, so I was extremely nervous while reading this. Thankfully, it’s okay.

Ben is a bit emotional, but if you can get passed this I think you might like it.

The Hit was provided by netgalley

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