One Word Kill is a young adult science fiction book written by Mark Lawrence. I was lucky enough to get this book from Amazon in April as part of the First Reads offer, though it was not available for purchase until May first. It is the first in the Impossible Times trilogy.
The book opens with 15-year-old Nick Hayes finding out that he has cancer and that his odds of survival aren’t good. Believe it or not things only get weirder from there when a stranger follows Nick and asks for his help. The stranger carries news about the future and needs Nick and the
rest of his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends to help make sure future events happen as they should. Is life imitating the game? Is the game dictating their life events? And can Nick and his friend help the stranger? You have to read to find out.
The book is under 200 pages, and because I just had to know what happened next, it was a quick read for me. Do not let the “young adult” label put you off from reading this. There were discussions of time travel that reminded me of Donnie Darko and made me want to learn more about quantum physics. The RPG sessions between Simon, Nick, Elton, John, and Mia made me miss my gaming friends. Their conversations and personalities all felt realistic, like people I would’ve wanted to be friends with when I was 15. The way the main characters’ lives intersect with their gaming session was well done. It was not labeled as such, but this aspect of the novel reminded me of the genre LitRPG where games can play an essential role in the story.
The story felt a bit slow at first but it was necessary to set up Nick’s illness and his life before the traveler appears. It was not until chapter 3 when the reader gets to meet Nick’s friends and see a session of Dungeons & Dragons. Just after Nick, John, and Mia meet the time traveler, something similar happens in their next gaming session and the story takes off more quickly from there. There was not anything I did not like about this book. The ending tied up all the storylines yet also raised questions that will hopefully be answered in the next book.
So if you’re looking for your next sci-fi read, give One Word Kill a try. And once you finish it, don’t worry: Limited Wish, the second book, is expected to be out on May 28, 2019 and Dispel Illusion (Book 3) is due out on November 14, 2019.
Well? What are you waiting for? Go out and get your geek on!