One Word Kill

One Word Kill

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,...

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Title:One Word Kill
Author:Mark Lawrence
Rating:
Edition Language:English

One Word Kill Reviews

  • James Tivendale

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of One Word Kill in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Mark Lawrence and 47North for approaching me to read this early.

    Starting on the 8th January 1986, Nick a gangly 15-year-old who is extremely intelligent is diagnosed with leukaemia. The doctors advise that he may only have up to 5 years to live. In the local hospital, he goes through Chemotherapy and shares a children's ward with many other suffering youths as they weaken and essentiall

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of One Word Kill in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Mark Lawrence and 47North for approaching me to read this early.

    Starting on the 8th January 1986, Nick a gangly 15-year-old who is extremely intelligent is diagnosed with leukaemia. The doctors advise that he may only have up to 5 years to live. In the local hospital, he goes through Chemotherapy and shares a children's ward with many other suffering youths as they weaken and essentially fade from health and normality. He has to visit the hospital weekly yet when he is not there he is living the life of a normalish geeky teenager. Going to school, dealing with bullies, scared to talk to girls but what he looks forward to the most is the weekly D&D meet-ups he has with his best friends. They can forget about the monotony and hardships real-life presents and lose themselves in a fantastical adventure where their imagination is the only limitation. When he is playing, even Nick forgets about what ails him. It all seems pretty straightforward until intense deja-vu affects the protagonist, a shadowy stranger starts stalking him, certain events that happen in their sessions are scarily close to some real-life events and what's even scarier than all is that a young lady has joined the group's D&D party!

    It's no secret that in my humble opinion Mark Lawrence is one of the finest and most consistent fantasy authors currently writing. By profession, Lawrence is actually a scientist so it seemed like only a matter of time before he made the foray into the science fiction genre. This is completely unlike anything Lawrence has published before. This isn't like any science fiction stories I've read previously and for all the elements of time travel, parallel universes, complex mathematics and quantum mechanics, it features drug dealers, local psychopaths and the D&D group trying to learn how to dance to impress the ladies. It's a peculiar mix but I'm happy to say it works expertly.

    The story is presented through Nick's first-person perspective and he is a very likeable character who is a joy to follow. The accompanying cast is surprisingly deep and well fleshed out to say that this is quite a short book. I'd estimate it's approximately 90,000 words. In addition to Nick, My favourite characters were Mia, the goth girl who joins the boys games, Elton, who adores his kung-fu practising, and John, the cool dude who loves D&D but doesn't mention it to any of his school friends. Also, a character called Demus who I will say nothing about but who is hugely important and influential to the overall narrative and progression of the tale.

    It is difficult to summarise and this probably won't be accurate enough but this is the best I can come up with. This seemed like a mix of Stranger Things, Donnie Darko, the Xbox game Alan Wake mixed with the youthful antics and awkwardness seen in comedy shows The Inbetweeners and The Big Bang Theory. Some of the scientific language written does come across occasionally as confusing and very hi-tech and knowing Mark's profession I imagine it's all legit and accurate. Although the story is complex, multi-layered, unpredictable and ultimately enduring it wasn't too difficult for me to follow as Lawrence is an excellent writer. The writing is sometimes intoxicating and addictive however surreal and bizarre certain events may be and I loved the humourous flow and banter between the friends. Mark's prose is poetic and sometimes, in a good way, hypnotising. I read One Word Kill within 24 hours and it was all I could think about to the extent where I dreamt about the shadowy character who stalks Nick!

    The world building is admirable whether describing the suburbs in London, a friend's council flat or describing the London underground service. There are lots of brilliant references to the mid-80's such as the fact Back to the Future had just been released, kids play on their Commodore 64's and that everyone believes Hoverboards will be the obvious invention that the future will present. I really enjoyed, and I bet Mark enjoyed writing the descriptions of the D&D ventures. These sections are closer to what he has written before but with more humour, teenagers innocence and tropes including typical creatures like orcs, vampires, mages, clerics, warriors that will probably prompt a sense of nostalgia for his readers and the target audience. I regret that I've never played D&D. :(

    This is not released until April 2019 but already in August 2018, this is one of the finest uncorrected proofs I have ever read. I did not notice a single error which is exceptional and shows the hard work Mark, Agnes and 47North have put into this tale. This works perfectly as a standalone. The ending is absolutely spectacular and wraps everything up perfectly. I loved the setting, the protagonist, the characters including the supporting and very minor players, the thrills and spills and emotions. To be honest, the very minor and possible negative that I have is that some of the terminologies threw me off balance very occasionally. 47North enjoyed this book so much they asked Lawrence to turn it into a trilogy of which all the books will be released in 2019. A note to his current fans, although a few scenes are dark and gruesome this is very different to his previous works. An exceptional time-travel adventure featuring a gang of geeks that's cleverly composed, thrilling and will hopefully aid Lawrence's to rise to the top of the game in another genre. I loved it.

  • Mary S. R.

    ✨ :)

    is now out there on shelves! Or on tables getting used as a coaster for the overflowing coffee mugs...though I prefer hot dark-chocolate ☕

    Just a friendly advice: Don't use it to kill flies, it's a little small, tiny, and short for that. You might find the flies are suddenly invincible 😁

    I count it a shortcoming of Goodreads that there aren't enough stars available.

    />999

    ✨ :)

    is now out there on shelves! Or on tables getting used as a coaster for the overflowing coffee mugs...though I prefer hot dark-chocolate ☕

    Just a friendly advice: Don't use it to kill flies, it's a little small, tiny, and short for that. You might find the flies are suddenly invincible 😁

    I count it a shortcoming of Goodreads that there aren't enough stars available.

    The paradox of this book hooked me so bad I spent a great deal of time just staring at a blank page thinking,

    There are so many platinum points in

    that I was left trapped in a loop, with so much to say and not enough words. This book was simultaneously

    In truth, Mark Lawrence and Sci-Fi are one of those old couples that just belong together. Seriously. From his fantasy world of Broken Empire I knew

    the world needed a sci-fi book from him!

    —it's impressive what a bewitching tale he can weave in these few pages. And I'm always left needing more (why I binge read his other series like an addict, mind you. Yes, I'm an ML addict. There you have it)

    Talk about making a famous quote better...the original Casablanca quote was, of course:

    . But I know that Mark Lawrence's version will probably be my new favourite quote, and one that will be sitting in my brain for a long time, at the front row—I should probably go build a cottage for it so it's comfortable there :|

    You hold the twenty-sided die. Weigh it.

    , you think,

    . Four pairs of eyes are glued to your hand, fingers playing with the nearly ball-shaped object. You throw it.

    It's in the air.

    If it rolls seventeen, you survive. Any other chance...you die.

    The die hits the ground. It's rolled seventeen.

    In London, January

    , fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he has cancer. He's dying, and it's not even the strangest thing to happen to him that week. Because

    Knowing things he shouldn't.

    Nick and his

    -playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and

    , none of them are prepared for what comes next.

    , 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

    .

    I've been obsessed with

    and its implications since I was 14—I'd abandon my school lessons in favour of reading books and articles about it and trying to understand them step by step (the teachers were no help, I guarantee you).

    After about two years of that routine, I was seriously told off by my parents and teachers to focus on school and postpone those extra readings to when I'd entered university.

    Anyways, I'm entering university this September (of 2019) and am gradually going back to deciphering texts of quantum mechanics. And this book was exactly what I needed to get in the mood :)

    focuses on the

    The author puts the science of the science fiction into words very easily and you shouldn't be worried. Anything you need to know is in the book, but I'm gonna tell you a little more about it (in simple words)—it's not necessary to read this but it's

    I'll put in spoiler tags even though it's

    a spoiler:

    the idea of Many Worlds Interpretation is that when you roll a six-sided dice, your reality branches and

    In one reality the dice rolls one, in another two, and so on. And time, as a result of quantum mechanics, shows itself to be nonexistent and an

    So it is no longer an arrow that goes only forward and can't be moved about.

    He can make you feel a thousand things after another, he can make you care with one sentence and break you with one word—one word kill indeed.

    And never forget his wit or

    ! I would laugh and laugh until the occupants of the house and even the neighbours considered taking me to a mental asylum. He'd also sneak little lessons of friendship and living into his story, and he'd

    , tear them into pieces:

    Now, this isn't a cancer book. Yes the MC has cancer. Yes we spend 4 or 5 scenes in the hospital. Yes, we read his fears hopes and acceptance. But this has a different outlook on it—and a perfect one. Mark Lawrence

    Yes, he gets the truth of cancer raw on the page (my very dear grandfather who I love with all my heart has cancer, and we've been with him every step of the way, so I say that with certainty) but his words will hit you whatever type of pain you've seen or experienced.

    That, of course, does not surprise me. As

    with a disabled daughter, I'm sure Mr. Lawrence understands pain deeply, and I wish for nothing more than steadfast strength, patience, contentment and a loving life for both him and his precious girl Celyn :)

    Meet the 5 main aka the gang ⤵

    aka

    ; has a deceased relatively famous mathematician father—or as famous as any mathematician not named Einstein can get—who

    died

    cancer but of being crushed by a train. Not pleasant, you might say, but he at least got “cured” of his cancer *shrugs*. With him, Mark Lawrence perfectly captures

    (myself included). He's a genius who tries not to declare that he's a genius. Is also scared of dancing.

    aka

    ; has

    , got a brother in jail, is deep in contact with the

    . Absolutely amazing. You don't wanna get on her bad side, cause while she might get punched in the eye, she'll leave

    bloodied on the ground. Warned ya!

    aka

    ; has too many brothers and an amazing and inspiring dad. A family of martial arts masters.

    .

    . Hilarious and one of a kind.

    Very not up to doing criminal related stuff, doesn't believe in time travel.

    aka

    ; not wired like regular people, emotions go above his head. Not great with change. Very precious. Adorable. Petrified of dancing and parties. A

    that could

    with a number like four million one hundred and forty-seven thousand two hundred, not even considering the calculations and

    . Sure peace of cake, right?

    aka

    ; very charming, supposedly confident but also very self-conscious, takes centuries to get ready for a party and dances terribly (but don't tell him that) 😂 in summary, he's more than he seems at first glance, so no judging! Specially not for having

    !

    This

    fails to make me howl with laughter 😂 ⤵

    not of the main 5 but I just had to mention her because

    I need her in my life. The

    opposite of Simon—the closest he can come to swearing is “damnation”, but his mum can make sailors blush!

    which'll make you realise what I'm talking about (note that Simon's straight 😂):

    Complicated friendships have always been something I've considered to be one of Mark Lawrence's specialities and strongest points. He has a way of

    I have felt and seen that in every single one of his books—between murderers and honourable men alike.

    Now trying his hand with teenagers of the 1980s, Mark has done it again :) One of the reasons this review was so hard for me to write was exactly that—

    Suffice it to say, Mark made me care so deeply about their friendship in such few words that I felt any small crack in their bonds in my heart.

    Now what I didn't expect was

    —and oh did I love it... To be honest, in both The Broken Empire or Red Queen's War series, the romance was always a subtle background presence that was felt in different ways and on different levels by the characters; and while I loved it and treasured it in those books, this was so exquisite and unforgettable, and man I had no idea how I'd been missing Mark Lawrence's delicate romance in my life.

    *grabs a tissue, turns away, sniffles, loudly, cleans tears, sniffles a little more, turns back* where was I?? Oh, I was talking about

    , YA or Adult. I'd move Mark Lawrence higher on my favourite authors list if he wasn't already sitting on second place after George R.R. Martin. So there you go.

    Now don't panic—and open your eyes.

    I can only tell you this: read this book—you won't regret it!

    [

    ]

    • “Dream Is Collapsing” by Hans Zimmer (main song, suspenseful, D&D, breaking and entering)

    • “Allow Me” by Kilgore (funny/gathering scenes)

    • “Carry You” by Ruelle & Fleurie (emotional/touching moments, in hospital, the end, friendship scenes)

    • “Daydream” by Ruelle (mysterious, suspenseful, dabbling in time)

  • John Gwynne

    I absolutely loved this book. A fantastic sci-fi reminding me of Stranger Things and the time-bending concepts of the Terminator. I was a teenager through the 1980’s and I loved the sense of nostalgia Mark’s story evoked. It’s a rollercoaster of adventure, wrapped up in nuanced characters and a tight, twisty plot. This is a book that gripped me and didn’t let go until the last page. It’s everything that I look for in a book, and like the best of reads one that has stayed with long after I finish

    I absolutely loved this book. A fantastic sci-fi reminding me of Stranger Things and the time-bending concepts of the Terminator. I was a teenager through the 1980’s and I loved the sense of nostalgia Mark’s story evoked. It’s a rollercoaster of adventure, wrapped up in nuanced characters and a tight, twisty plot. This is a book that gripped me and didn’t let go until the last page. It’s everything that I look for in a book, and like the best of reads one that has stayed with long after I finished it.

    Highly recommended.

  • Robin Hobb

    I've giving One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence six stars.

    Oh. You think I can't do that?

    Well, yes, I can. Even if you don't see them up there.

    Because while a five start book is a good solid read, one that I truly enjoy, there are some books and stories that are more than that. They are the stories that stay with you for a lifetime.

    My six star stories are likely different from yours. A story gets six stars when it doesn't waste a word. It opens the door, I enter the tale, and for that

    I've giving One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence six stars.

    Oh. You think I can't do that?

    Well, yes, I can. Even if you don't see them up there.

    Because while a five start book is a good solid read, one that I truly enjoy, there are some books and stories that are more than that. They are the stories that stay with you for a lifetime.

    My six star stories are likely different from yours. A story gets six stars when it doesn't waste a word. It opens the door, I enter the tale, and for that time, I'm in that world. It's a story that works perfectly for me. Other examples of my six star stories would be Smith of Wooton Major by J R R Tolkien. Or the Ugly Little Boy by Isaac Asimov. These stories have nothing in common, except that they worked perfectly for me.

    Anyone who has read my books may have guessed that I have a few things that utterly fascinate me. The information we carry in our blood. The nature of memory. The possibility of myriad futures. The absolute wonder of suddenly seeing the world from a different perspective. The stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world.

    Now it would be a spoiler if I told you which of those fascinations One Word Kill dances with. But I will say that it treads the measure perfectly. It's not a very long book, especially by today's standards. But it's the perfect length for the tale it tells.

    Buy it. Read it.

    The usual Caveat. Mark Lawrence is someone I know as a fellow writer and consider a long distance friend, even though we've never met face to face. I got this story from him for free. I also have to admit that it took me awhile to figure out how to get the file to open on my phone, and then I misplaced it on my phone for several months and didn't even read it until he asked me if I'd liked it, and reminded me that I'd told him I'd managed to put it on my phone.

    The wonders of modern technology!

    I don't particularly enjoy reading things on a tiny screen. But a serendipitous 14 hour power failure left me with my (luckily) fully charged phone as my only toy. I started reading, grumbling over how small the font was, and soon forgot entirely about that as I was pulled into the world and the tale.

    So. My usual spoiler free review. Go find it and read it. I think you'll love it. I now need to get several real copies of this book, because I know people who will love receiving them from me.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I snagged this book so fast when it was on the Kindle First list! I mean the wonderful Mark Lawrence was kind enough to offer me a chance to read it awhile back but I don’t do pdf or mobi downloads. 😫

    Anyhoo! I loved this book and it’s set in the freaking 80’s! I mean, I was born in the 70’s but the 80’s and 90’s rocked! Well, mostly......

    I don’t usually like time trave

    I snagged this book so fast when it was on the Kindle First list! I mean the wonderful Mark Lawrence was kind enough to offer me a chance to read it awhile back but I don’t do pdf or mobi downloads. 😫

    Anyhoo! I loved this book and it’s set in the freaking 80’s! I mean, I was born in the 70’s but the 80’s and 90’s rocked! Well, mostly......

    I don’t usually like time travel books but there are a few that I love and this is one of them.

    One Word Kill is about a bunch of cool friends that sit around playing D & D <—- I never had those kind of cool friends to play that with! Sigh...

    Moving on...

    One of the characters has cancer and it did make me cringe a bit as I still have some PTSD from my own cancer treatment. But I digress.

    There is someone that comes from the future to help save the life of one of the kids. You think it’s the cancer patient don’t you 😉

    This great group of kids go through some things, good and bad, and it’s just awesome!

    I’m ready for the next one! Where is it? Good ole Mr. Lawrence can slap down another short book, ami right?! Or a long one, I will read it either way!!

    Overall, a great little sci-fi book!

    Happy Reading!

    Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  • Khurram

    A great book that hit all the right cords. It is heart wrenching in places and nostalgia in others with likeable characters that I could not help cheer for.

    The book starts with the world's worst gut punch possible. The story is great mixture of emotions and scifi. The nostalgia of the story for me is the era the book is set in, 1985 as well as the places and landmarks. It is a great reminder of how far we have come technologically since then. How life was before

    A great book that hit all the right cords. It is heart wrenching in places and nostalgia in others with likeable characters that I could not help cheer for.

    The book starts with the world's worst gut punch possible. The story is great mixture of emotions and scifi. The nostalgia of the story for me is the era the book is set in, 1985 as well as the places and landmarks. It is a great reminder of how far we have come technologically since then. How life was before the internet and mobile phones.

    I was not sure I would like this book as youngers with terminal disease is usually a turn off for me. Though the story of the human coping mechanism and a little help from friends, the bonds formed, and possible the likeliest band of heroes since the Goonies.

    This is a great read and a trip down memory lane for any one growing in the 80s London. From places to peoples technology and tolerances. I would definitely like to know what happens next.

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء

    which is a fast and fun read about time travel, quantum mechanics, Dungeons & Dragons and planning a heist with your best friends because a sketchy and secretive man from the future essentially told you so...

    Full disclosure though: the ending is a heartbreaker.

  • Teodora

    4/5 ⭐

    🐺

    All you need to know about this book is that if you’re not a quantum mechanics genius or at least decent in maths or physics or

    (I am absolutely joking, of course, I struggle with addition on a daily basis, don't take me seriously) this book is going to make you feel dumb on a superior level. I fe/>/>Full

    4/5 ⭐

    🐺

    All you need to know about this book is that if you’re not a quantum mechanics genius or at least decent in maths or physics or

    (I am absolutely joking, of course, I struggle with addition on a daily basis, don't take me seriously) this book is going to make you feel dumb on a superior level. I felt highly dumb reading through this book, but I approve of my dumbness because the book enlightened me (in a very small portion because I am hopeless).

    is a great word to describe the structure of the book. Some maths enthusiast teenagers gather to talk about time travel and play Dungeons and Dragons in the ‘80s. Come on, it sticks to it!

    The characters are lovable. And I mean it. I think it is one of the most important aspects of the book. They are just so cool and witty and cute and smooshy. Love ‘em all. And the cutest of them all is Nick. Maybe it’s the fact that the story is narrated from his point of view and we have this way access to his thoughts (which are brilliant I might add), but I feel like if we were to be in any other of our characters’ minds, it would’ve been equally great.

    Even though it’s short (only 200 and so pages), this book is eventful. It’s actually so packed with events that one hardly can get past a chapter without something notable even happen. Which, in my opinion, it is good. Great actually.

    All is there left to say is this:

    - a great, readable book;

    - cancer can suck it;

    - GEEK POWER!

    Thanks for putting up with my shit today, read the book!

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    3.75 stars for this mix of 1980’s Dungeons and Dragons (with a British teenage cast) + cancer + time travel/multi-universe aspect. Final review, first posted on

    (in a different, collaborative form, with a couple of my co-reviewers at FanLit).

    Nick, the 15 year old narrator of the story and a math genius, who's a wizard named Nicodemus in his D&D games, finds out that he has leukaemia right at the start of the story. His group of D&D-playing friends sticks behind him,

    3.75 stars for this mix of 1980’s Dungeons and Dragons (with a British teenage cast) + cancer + time travel/multi-universe aspect. Final review, first posted on

    (in a different, collaborative form, with a couple of my co-reviewers at FanLit).

    Nick, the 15 year old narrator of the story and a math genius, who's a wizard named Nicodemus in his D&D games, finds out that he has leukaemia right at the start of the story. His group of D&D-playing friends sticks behind him, including the girl, Mia, who recently joined the group. She's probably too cool for the nerdy Nick, but he's still interested in her. :) Nick also has a couple of pretty scary enemies from his school: the bully Michael Devis and the even more vicious Ian Rust.

    One day, while Devis is picking on Nick, an older, balding man named Demus (hmmm) 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 strangely 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 highly-secured prototype in Nick’s time.

    I found the plot intriguing (I have to say I'm 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:

    The characters also appealed to me (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 me 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 me to knock down my 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,

    , has just been released. It takes the plot in some interesting new directions!

  • Mark Lawrence

    The One Word Kill signed and numbered special edition hardback is available from Anderida Books.

    -

    Any of you who've looked for a Red Sister hardback recently will know this has the potential to be a sound investment and not just a lovely object!

    Hurry, befor

    The One Word Kill signed and numbered special edition hardback is available from Anderida Books.

    -

    Any of you who've looked for a Red Sister hardback recently will know this has the potential to be a sound investment and not just a lovely object!

    Hurry, before they go.

    My first science fiction book! The whole trilogy released during 2019.

    Read about it on ThatThornGuy.com

    .....

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