Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Words have power, and in this pulse-pounding thriller special people called Poets have trained to be able to use words to control others. As the book opens, Wil Parke is kidnapped by two Poets who believe he is the only one who can stop a cataclysmic disaster. (LJ 5/1/13) (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

What if there was a word that could compel anyone to do anything? That's the premise of Barry's new novel (after Machine Man), which posits a secret society of "poets" who collect and wield special words to control others. Emily Ruff, a teenager living on the street, has been recruited by the organization but leaves in seeming disgrace. Years later, Wil Parke is caught in a firefight between the factions-over him. He is the only survivor of a horrifying event unleashed by an ultimate word of power. But there is a deeper connection between Wil and Emily and the organization that comes between them. While that link isn't hard to figure out, Barry keeps the tension high as another poet, Eliot, tries to stop the unfolding destruction. Barry's fear of conspiracies and the corporatization of society are in play here, along with a new focus on his exploration of power and corruption-religion. VERDICT Lexicon isn't as satirical as Barry's other works, but it is a scary and satisfying blend of thriller, dystopia, and horror.-Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

The fate of humanity is at stake in this ambitious satirical thriller from Australian author Barry (Machine Man). Picked off the streets of San Francisco after displaying a "natural aptitude" for persuasion, 16-year-old magician/hustler Emily Ruff joins a group of prodigies at "the Academy," where "poets" learn the magic of controlling others' minds with words. Meanwhile, hapless Wil Parke, the key player in an internal war between highly trained poets called Eliot and Woolf, is the only person known to survive the infamous "bareword" Woolf set loose in Broken Hill, Australia, two years before-an event that killed thousands and wiped Wil's memory clean. Eliot believes Wil to be the only one capable of stopping this word that "can persist... like an echo," and is determined to use Wil in his quest to elucidate the word's elemental code. Emily's story and Wil's story converge in a violent denouement that amuses as much as it shocks. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Words have power to persuade, to coerce, even to kill. And so they have since the days when wordsmiths were called sorcerers. Streetwise teenager Emily knows nothing of this until she is recruited to join a clandestine international organization that seems bent on taking over the world through the power of language the reason, perhaps, that its members call themselves poets. In the meantime, a young man, Wil, is kidnapped from an airport by two mysterious men determined to unlock a secret buried deep in his brain. Yes, Wil and Emily will be brought together in due course, but in the meantime there is a great deal, some of it abstruse, about language in this fast-paced, cerebral thriller that borders on speculative fiction, but none of it slows the nonstop action that takes readers from Washington, D.C., to a small town in the Australian desert, a town whose 3,300 residents have all died mysteriously and violently. Could the cause have been the power of words at work? The poets sometimes seem a bit too omnipotent, and the book's chronology is occasionally a bit confusing, but otherwise this is an absolutely first-rate, suspenseful thriller with convincing characters who invite readers' empathy and keep them turning pages until the satisfying conclusion.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist