Sci-Fi Early Review: Lexicon by Max Barry

Lexicon by Max Barry

Egalley thanks to Penguin Press HC

Synopsis from Goodreads
At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics—at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science .Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as "poets": adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Brontë, Eliot, and Lowell—who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. 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 Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he’s done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.

As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Max Barry’s most spellbinding and ambitious novel yet, Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love—whatever the cost.

Release Date: June 18th 2013.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 I can't help it, guys. Max Barry is my author, like Chuck Palahniuk, John Twelve Hawks and I suspect, Cory Doctorow (when I finally get to read his books).

Last year I read Jennifer Government, and it blew my mind. This year Lexicon did exactly the same. It's convoluted, paranoid, bizarre and utterly men in tin foil hats material. I was walking in a haze for a couple of days totally consumed by this book, thinking about it.

If anyone ever looked into legalese, you know that the common meaning of words doesn't always mean what we think it means. Lexicon takes this idea further and creates a powerful organisation which finds young people with the ability to sway human minds and teach them the way to breach our brain defences with tailor made words for different types of personality, which will make us do and think what they want. All for the good of organisation of course.

Lexicon follows the recruitment and education of Emily, a young prodigy, who doesn't work well with the rules, and whose breaking of said rules because she craves knowledge and human touch brings a chain of events of catastrophic proportions.

Few years later, rebellious Emily is back hellbent on revenge and righting all evils the leader of organisation brought upon the people dear to her. 

Lexicon is brutal, fast-paced, shocking, heart-wrenching. It's a tragic love story where you least expect it. It's about war, betrayal, cynicism and manipulation. It's about people and incredible things we could do. It makes you think. The latter is what I appreciate most of all in the books I read.

Highly recommended.

* * *
Бесподобная, прекрасная книга! Вот мой это автор - Макс Барри, так как я обожаю всё, что выходит из под его пера.

Барри пишет о тайных организациях, мировых заговорах, политическом цинизме и манипуляции человеческого мышления. 

В прошлом году его Государственная Дженнифер  снесла мне крышу, а в этом году по тому же пути пошёл Лексикон. Барри взял теорию манипуляции массами и развил её ещё дальше.

А что если существует некая организация "поэтов", умеющая подбирать слова к каждому типу личности, которые способны взломать защитные механизмы нашего мозга и передать полный контроль над ним поэту?

В такой организации учится и работает Эмили - молодой и очень талантливый поэт, которая нарушает одно из табу - не подускать к себе никого близко. Её отправляют в изгнание в маленький городок в Австралии и забывают о ней на несколько лет, где она встречает простого парамедика Гарри и вновь ломает все правила ради него. 

Когда лидер организации разрушает любимый ею городок и превращает его в кровавую баню, чтобы проэкспериментировать с силой библейского Слова, Эмили вступает в войну с организацией, добиваясь её уничтожения и правосудия для тех, кто умер в Брокен Хилл.

Лексикон - книга странная,  параноидальная, полная драйва, и в то же время разрывающая сердце как раз тогда когда этого меньше всего ожидаешь. Она о любви. Она о войне. И самое главное, она заставляет задуматься, что я ценю в книгах больше всего.

Очень рекомендую.


  1. Sounds freaky! But then freaky is always cool. And I also see that I have not read one of your fav authors

  2. I've only read Barry's Machine Man, but it was really interesting. I do own Jennifer Government, and I'm glad to hear you loved it! Also, didn't know you were a Palahniuk fan. :)

  3. Oh this sounds really good - I'm definitely going to look into it - I love wierd books :-D

  4. Wow! Sounding awesome. I did see the cover somewhere else, but can't remember where. But sounds like a great one!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts