“The most fundamental thing about a person is desire. It defines them. Tell me what a person wants, truly wants, and I’ll tell you who they are, and how to persuade them.”
What is this book about?
The power of words! Lexicon is all about how words can be used to compromise people and to coerce them into doing your bidding. On the one hand we have Emily, a young orphan who gets swept up into the life of the Poets which is an organisation that uses the power of language to get shit done. All these Poets get stripped from their identities and take on the name of famous Poets to hide who they are. They are right to do so, because we will learn that knowing someone means you can control them. On the other hand we follow Will, a strapping young lad from Australia who finds himself haunted by this group of people he knows nothing about. They keep interrogating him about Broken Hill, a small city where the entire population mysteriously died during one single day, but he has no recollection of ever being there. What do they want from him and what is going on in that city?
Why is it boring?
I lied in that previous paragraph. This book is not actually about the power of words. It’s much more about the power of love and that is something I have seen done a thousand times before. I wanted a novel about the power of language, dammit! Words are awesome too! You cannot do this to me Max Brooks!
Who would you recommend it to?
Word nerds, lovers of poetry and aficionados of people with special abilities. The entire first part is one big exciting mystery and focuses mainly of the use of language and their effect on different types of people. It’s about profiling, but then instead of crazy psychopath behavior they use a like and dislike of words. I also think that students of poetry would have a blast making a competition out of recognizing all the different Poets mentioned. Most of them are pretty famous, but there are some obscure ones mentioned in there. Four points for anyone who can name Raine’s first name, date of birth and death AND recite a line or two of poetry!
Why should I read it if it’s boring?!
I was so excited when I read about this book. Of course it helps that it is blurbed by Lev Grossman, but a novel about some type of academy where teens learn to use words as weapons? It looked like I was going to have superpowers after all! I love books that explore the idea of language and how powerful it can be and Lexicon does a great job setting up this world and the way the Poets use their abilities. There is even an awesome aptitude test for Poets that ends with the harrowing question of ‘Why did you do it?’. This question is asked several times in the book and the answers that follow are pretty darn good! The Poets themselves are scary and strong, being able to control you by simply figuring out what type of person you are and then using your words against you. It’s every nerd’s dream! There is also one frightening scene during an experiment that I can’t get out of my head. However, I do suggest that you stop reading before the book is actually finished. I found the ending dreadful and cliched which I hadn’t seem coming following such a strong start. To me it ruined the book a bit and it felt like a weak choice to resolve the problems in this manner. So just simply rip out those final chapters, make up your own ending and enjoy!