It should have been simple - find the kid, and take him home - and earn an unthinkable amount of money along the way. Or so Frank Pak had convinced himself. Except Jeven Jones is no ordinary young man, one without a home, and who has far too many people looking for him. Dangerous people. And Jones might just be the most dangerous of them all.
Nothing much is at it seems, nor as expected, in Frith's debut. Jones is a murderer, working his way down a list - or so Frank is told. Yet the longer they spend together, the more complicated and twisted things become. Especially the truth.
Which is kind of like the rest of the book. As a debut I wanted to like this, to give a new author a chance, but nothing is defined, the dialogue is often stilted and confusing as to who is saying what. There is far too much tell going on, minimal descriptions and little real action. The prejudice and politics are distant and vague, giving little reason for anything that is happening.
As for characters - Jones is messed up, as is his point of view, making it difficult to like or care about him. His reactions to the others adds to the confusion, though he did settle down in the second half. Frank confused me. I could never quite work out what the relationship between him and Jones was supposed to be, or how much he believed about what he had been told. He clearly was supposed to be heroic, but by the end I didn't care one way or the other what happened to any of them.
The plot needed more everything, but world-building (or universe-building) and motives would have helped most. Why do all these people want Jones? We know he's special, but how special? What specifically about his `powers' makes him so desirable? What exactly are the motives of either side? Why the conflict? Then Greely arrives, completely the opposite of what had been claimed, leaving me to wonder what else had been misrepresented. The ending is far, far too abrupt, as if there should be another hundred pages attached. Or already included to flesh everything out.
Tangled, confused and lacking, I learnt more about the plot from the back cover blurb than the 300-odd pages inside. With badly drawn characters, little description and a flat plot, I still felt there was a good story in here somewhere, it simply failed to get out.