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One Word Kill (Impossible Times Book 1) by…
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One Word Kill (Impossible Times Book 1) (edition 2019)

by Mark Lawrence (Author)

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193995,934 (3.71)19
Ready Player One meets Stranger Things in this new novel by the bestselling author who George RR Martin describes as "an excellent writer." In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he's dying. And it isn't even the strangest thing to happen to him that week. Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange--yet curiously familiar--man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn't exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia's in grave danger, though she doesn't know it yet. She needs Nick's help--now. He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics. Challenge accepted.… (more)
Member:stevepugh
Title:One Word Kill (Impossible Times Book 1)
Authors:Mark Lawrence (Author)
Info:47North (2019), 201 pages
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One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This was way better than I expected it to be. The fast pace was refreshing compared to some of my usual fare. Early on, with Nick's diagnosis, I really felt emotional seeing how he was affected by it which is an impressive talent on Mark's part seeing as there had been very little time to try and build a connection between character and reader. The plot was better than I expected from the little I knew about the book going into it, and the side characters were pretty interesting despite not a huge amount of time to build them up and develop them. ( )
  EdwardL95 | Jan 7, 2020 |
Nick has been diagnosed with cancer. At the age of 15, he must come to terms with the fact he may never live to be an adult. Nick spends his weekends playing D & D with his best friends, trying to escape the harsh reality his life has become. Until one day he meets a man who is oddly familiar. One who promises that if he helps him, Nick may just live to see adulthood.

Mark Lawrence has been one of my favorite authors since Prince of Thorns. Now, this is no brutal and dark fantasy like Thorns, but it was still entertaining. Being the geek I am, I loved reading about the D & D adventures that paralleled what the kids were going through. I do have to admit the whole concept of quantum physics went over my head though. The entire explanation about paradoxes and branching timelines through me for a loop. Not my cup of tea.

Time travel. Yes, the appropriate cracks were made about Back to the Future. In fact, it takes place during the same year the movie came out. But even with the concept of multiple timelines and the fear of messing up the one timeline they needed to follow, this one also seemed a bit slower in pace. There was a lot less conflict than the typical books I read, but given it is the first in a new series I can let it slide.

I didn't feel as connected to Nick as I have with the rest of Lawrence's characters, but it may be due to the fact he wasn't an anti-hero. I still look forward to the next book, as it seems there is going to be some issues with the timeline. I'd like to see how far into the realms of impossible this series will go. ( )
  Letora | Aug 23, 2019 |
Mark Lawrence can do no wrong.
I devoured this story, it was just so much fun.

This story follows Nick, a young boy who at the start of the story, find out he has leukemia. He and his friends are avid Dungeons and Dragons players and you follow them on masterful D&D sequences that absorb and enchant you.

The story is set in 80's London and feels authentic and nostalgic with callbacks to my own (slightly later) childhood. The pace of the story does not let up and keeps you hooked all of the way through.

I really really enjoyed this and can't wait to read the next one.
( )
  SaraChook | Jun 19, 2019 |
One Word Kill (2019) is a tale of 1980s British teenagers, time travel (bonus: with branching universes), Dungeons & Dragons, and cancer. As the first book in Mark Lawrence’s IMPOSSIBLE TIMES trilogy, it sets things up nicely, and we’re all three looking forward to the next two novellas.

We know that the first-person narrator of the story has cancer ― leukaemia, to be precise ― from the very first paragraph of the story. Fifteen-year-old Nick is something of a genius, though his smarts don’t show much yet except in his choice of reading material during chemotherapy sessions. He has a group of close friends with whom he plays Dungeons & Dragons every Saturday, which group has recently been augmented by the addition of ― gasps of astonishment, everyone! ― a girl, Mia, to whom Nick is immediately drawn. He also has a couple of enemies, like Ian Rust, who is at least viciously cruel and at most seriously mentally disturbed, and Michael Devis, who is simply a garden-variety bully. He also has a devoted mother; his father, a brilliant mathematician, died some years before the book begins.

One Word Kill gets off to a slow start, and it isn’t until about page 50 that we officially meet Demus, a bald man who appears out of nowhere to slug Michael Devis in the mouth just as Devis is about to empty Nick’s backpack into a pool of vomit. Demus looks troublingly familiar to Nick, and the reader figures out why pretty quickly (the clues aren’t exactly subtle). Soon Demus is explaining time travel to Nick, setting out a rationale for it in quantum mechanics, and giving Nick puzzles to solve to make his future ― and, significantly, Mia’s ― possible.

Things grow ominous when Ian Rust is expelled from school and takes up with a local drug dealer to whom Mia owes a debt. Demus makes things even more difficult by asking for a piece of technology that doesn’t exist except as a prototype in Nick’s time.

The ending of One Word Kill is left open. Though it could be a stand-alone novella, most readers will want to know what happens to these characters in the future and we’re glad that the story continues in Limited.

In Terry’s opinion, there is quite a lot of blood and vomit and death in One Word Kill, but a strange lack of urgency. It was decidedly not a page-turner for her, and surprisingly so, given the conflicts Lawrence has set up for his characters. But she finds Nick and Mia to be compelling characters, enough to make her want to keep reading the trilogy.

Kat listened to Brilliance Audio’s edition which was nicely read by British narrator Matthew Frow. She liked One Word Kill better than Terry did. Quite a bit of this is probably due to nostalgia: she is only two years younger than the author and exactly the right age to relate to Nick and his friends as teenagers in the 1980’s. For that reason, One Word Kill felt more cozy than slow.

She also liked the characters, the way that Nick tried to process his diagnosis and treatment, the way his friends had trouble dealing emotionally with it, and the way that Nick interacted with a girl in the chemotherapy ward at the hospital.

Kat loves time-travel /possible-future themed-stories and, though there are a couple of plot details in One Word Kill that feel a bit shaky at this moment, she is trusting Mark Lawrence (who has a degree in math and a PhD in physics) to bring it to a tight conclusion.

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsTadiana’s rating lands at 3.5 stars, right between Kat’s and Terry’s. She found the plot intriguing (like Kat, Tadiana is a fan of time travel tales and strongly predisposed to approve of them). Mark Lawrence’s writing style is also a noticeable step up from the usual:

A decade seemed like forever, and it would take three of them just to reach the age my mother was right now. Cancer had closed that down. Like the big C, curling in on itself, my view of the future had narrowed to tunnel vision, aimed squarely at the next week, next month … would I have a next year? I was carrying not only the burden of my sickness but the pressure of making something worthwhile of each day now that my towering stack of them had fallen into ruin and left me clutching at each hour as it slipped between my fingers.

The characters also appealed to Tadiana (well, except for the psychopathic Rust, with the “hole in his mind that needed to be filled with other people’s pain”) and the plot kept her engaged and interested. When all was said and done, though, the motivation for Demus’ trip to the past seems clearly insufficient, given the high price that Demus knows it will cost. To say more would get us into spoiler territory, but perhaps the next book will clarify why it was so vitally necessary. As it currently stands, it was a big enough plot hole for Tadiana to knock down her rating by a star, especially when combined with too many logical questions being sidestepped with the rationale that Demus has to take certain actions simply because that’s the way it happened before.

Lawrence’s choice of “One Word Kill” as the title of this novel plays out in at least a couple of ways. A key point in a couple of the characters’ D&D games is a spell named “Power Word Kill”; Nick points out how “lame” he thinks this spell is because with every other bad thing that happens, there’s some chance, however small, that you can escape. But with Power Word Kill, there’s no chance at all to escape the spell if it’s cast at you. That same sense of inexorable death looms over Nick personally because of that “one word” every human dreads to hear: “Cancer.” But perhaps there’s a narrow way out for Nick after all…

The next book, Limited Wish, has just been released and we expect that the final book, Dispel Illusion, will be out later this year. We’ll let you know how they go.

Originally published at http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/one-word-kill/ ( )
  TerryWeyna | Jun 11, 2019 |
One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence and narrated by Matthew Frow is an awesome fantasy that also mixed heavy real world subjects into the plot. The main character is a teen that plays D&D with friends, has a crush on a girl, deals with a wicked bully, and just got diagnosed with cancer. Then he sees a guy following him around, then protecting him, then predicting the future. It really gets wild! So much happens with each of the items or issues of his life. This is so unpredictable and totally awesome! I didn't see most of this coming! A wild ride!
The narrator was terrific in keeping all the voices separate and distinct. Well done! ( )
  MontzaleeW | Jun 9, 2019 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To everyone I’ve ever played D&D with. May all your hits be critical.
First words
When Dr. Parsons finally ran out of alternatives and reached the word 'cancer', he moved past it so quickly I almost thought I'd imagined it.
Quotations
Know thyself. Philosophers have been urging us to do that since the ancient Greeks. I don’t think anyone really does, though.
They say it’s good to share, but in the end, whatever anyone says, we face the real shit alone. We die alone and on the way we shed our attachments.
I was for the first time, in a short and self-absorbed kind of life, starting to really see it for what it was. The beauty and the silliness, and how one piece fitted with the next, and how we all dance around each other in a kind of terror, too petrified of stepping on each other’s toes to understand that we are at least for a brief time getting to dance and should be enjoying the hell out of it.
Truth may often be the first casualty of war, but dignity is definitely the first casualty of disease.
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