YA SF | WARP The Reluctant Assassin | Eoin Colfer
So, last review I said I'd tell you about a coincidence. The last book had a protagonist named Rylee, and this one has a protagonist named Riley. How's that for coincidence between two YA thrillers? Oh, so the title says YA SF? Big deal. Can't an SF book be a thriller? Usually, they all are. Thrilling, I mean.
Let's get on with it. Riley is an orphan from Victorian London. Chevie aka Chevron, is a teen FBI agent (it's an experiment by the FBI, being abandoned). How do they meet, you wonder. Not so tough. The FBI has a top secret program called WARP, in which witness protection is done by hiding the witnesses in the past. Chevie, in some kind of disgrace for saving some people she was watching over (yeah, yeah, you know how it goes), is sent to London to mind the WARP machine, but not told by Agent Orange what it's all about. (Please groan along with me if you get the Agent Orange reference, since we soon enough find that's not his real name).
Just to get some things sorted out for you, Agent Orange's dad invented WARP, and is sulking in the past, along with the timekey. Which means nobody else can go to the past, and the people there are stuck.
Now, someone wants to assassinate the dad, and pays our friend, the evil villain Albert Garrick, to do so. Albert in turn wants Riley to do so. Somewhere in the process, Riley tumbles out in our century. Garrick, an erstwhile stage magician and enthusiastic assassin, realises that something is afoot and he can gain power, maybe even rule the world (muwahahahahaha!) Somewhere in the transfer when Garrick hits our century, he gets super powers as well as a lot of information about the present. (Not telling you how; that would be a spoiler).
So, you have a story with a supervillain, and ordinary teenaged heroes, each with his or her own weaknesses and strengths.
Eoin Colfer never promises a smooth ride, or even a happy ending. The process of beating the villain is complex, nail-biting, and never to be taken for granted. You may even find that the villain is not fully beaten, but only a temporary truce has been formed. Other villains pop up and help or hinder, depending on their own needs and outlooks.
If you liked the Artemis Fowl books and The Airman, the chances are good you'll like WARP. There's more historical reference and less fantasy in WARP than in Artemis Fowl, and more fantasy and less historical reference than in The Airman. Just so you know.