Review of: Lexicon


Lexicon by Max Barry

*** Book description as appears on Goodreads ***

At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics—they are taught to persuade. Students learn to use language to manipulate minds, wielding words as weapons. The very best graduate as “poets,” and enter a nameless organization of unknown purpose.

Whip-smart runaway Emily Ruff is making a living from three-card Monte on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. Drawn in to their strange world, which is populated by people named Brontë and Eliot, she learns their key rule: That every person can be classified by personality type, his mind segmented and ultimately unlocked by the skilful application of words. For this reason, she must never allow another person to truly know her, lest she herself be coerced. Adapting quickly, 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 Parke is brutally ambushed by two men in an airport bathroom. They claim he is the key to a secret war he knows nothing about, that he is an “outlier,” immune to segmentation. Attempting to stay one step ahead of the organization and its mind-bending poets, Wil and his captors seek salvation in the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, which, if ancient stories are true, sits above an ancient glyph of frightening power.

A brilliant thriller that traverses very modern questions of privacy, identity, and the rising obsession of data-collection, connecting them to centuries-old ideas about the power of language and coercion, Lexicon is Max Barry’s most ambitious and spellbinding novel yet.

My review

Finished reading on March 30th 2013 and gave it 4 stars.

The following contains spoilers!

Imagine a group of people who can get you to do anything they want just by feeding you a few words. That’s what to poets have been trained to do.[ Of course this secret group has rule in place to protect it’s own people. Never use their abilities on one another, never let anyone know anything personal. These rules are all well and good until you find someone willing to break said rules.

The beginning of the book was somewhat disorienting, which helps to put the reader in the place of Wil Parke. Wil gets abducted by two men who believe him to be the person they’ve been looking for. The book jumps from there to the past and stitches together crazy story of deceit and manipulation that had me on the edge of my seat.

The added pieces at the end of the chapters added more depth to the situations taking place. These people were just controlling each other or a small part to society, they had their hands in everything. They added a creepiness to the book as a whole because some of the tidbits referred to everyday activities that people partake in everyday. I’ll never look at an online poll the same way again.


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