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on 3 December 2015
Loved this book. Really lucky to get it on a weekly deal at £1.50 from the kindle app (the offer was a big part of the reason I bought) but having read it would have happily paid full price.

Darkly clever with a intriguing riff on our current connected lives. Pace and balance well judged - just don't start this if you need a good night sleep - you won't want to put it down.

Answers to most if not all loose ends are hidden in plain sight, the only one I am not sure about is 'who found it?' ... better read it again :D
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on 25 May 2017
I never got a decent grip on this tale. No sooner did I feel I had settled into the plot it dodged the path, appeared on a road I'd not traveled and my confusion returned. The characters are great. Deep and disturbed. The plot fast paced, but the twists and turns left me spitting dust. I couldn't keep up.
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on 11 July 2013
This is Max Barry's best novel to date - a real page-turning thriller and mystery all in one. The book follows two strands, separated by time and distance and deals with the concept that the human brain can be "unlocked" by those with the talent, the words and the political will to allow them to control people to do whatever they say. When one of these wordsmiths or, as the book refers to them, "poets", uncovers a single all-powerful "bareword" from history, the fight is on for control of the world. This would make a great movie.
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on 12 March 2017
Brilliant Book. Well worth a read
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on 2 May 2016
Like another reviewer, I couldn't immediately make my mind up about how I felt about this book after I'd finished it. I thought I needed a couple of days of reflection before I finally rated it.

The synopsis of Lexicon has been explained rather well in a number of reviews, so I'll just briefly give my take on this high-concept thriller by Max Barry. Although it has science fiction elements to it, the story is set in the present-day and, on the surface, the world pretty much operates as it does in real-life. However, beneath this perceived normality there lurks a shadowy organisation. It comprises folk who are able to conjure up superhuman persuasive powers via their use of words. These abilities can be used to subvert free will and compel law-abiding citizens to actually carry out foul deeds - even kill. The individuals who are capable of these manipulations are known as 'poets' - each one given a code name that relates to an actual dead poet. Their 'skills' are learned at an exclusive school which is located on the fringes of Washington DC. As our American friends would say "enough already" - yep, that's as much of the plot as I think I need to divulge.

The author obviously has an amazing imagination and has come up with some really interesting concepts which I thought he explained very well throughout the narrative. For two hundred or so pages I was totally captivated by this intriguing story and was excited about where the diverging plots were going to take me. At this stage in the proceedings, I was already primed for giving Lexicon a solid 5 star rating and thinking to myself that this could be my favourite book of 2016. So, it was a shame that, for me, the second half of the book didn't live up to its initial promise. It was as though the author had all these great ideas but then ultimately didn't know how to bring them all together in order to provide the reader with a cohesive, satisfactory conclusion. That said, this was a fun ride and I liked Max Berry's inventiveness and would still like to read further works by him. I'm going to give this one 4 stars because, regardless of certain reservations, it's a book that has left a positive, lasting impression on me.
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VINE VOICEon 28 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Wow! What a book! This guy can write! Even though I had no clue at all what was going on in the beginning I was sucked in and gripped from the very first page. The story is completely unbelievable and yet I believed every single word. It's genius! It's scary how easily something so far fetched can be plausible but that's exactly what I felt...scarily plausible.

Words are powerful, we all know that but in this book powerful words take on a whole new meaning. It's really hard to say why or how I liked this without giving huge plot spoilers but I'd hate to ruin such a terrific book for any new readers so I won't go there. What I can say though, is that I urge everyone to at least give this one a whirl and try it out. It's really hard to pinpoint a genre as I've not come across anything like it before but 'Thriller' probably comes closest...maybe...I think. It's sooo much more though. This would definitely make a fantastic movie and I'd go to see it in a heartbeat! Try not to read any spoilers for this before you go into it as I think it was the complete mystery surrounding everything that made it so exciting for me. I enjoyed it so much more not knowing what was coming next as I hurtled at breakneck speed though it. It's better to find out what's going on as the characters find out.

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on 15 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The pen is mightier than the sword, and according to Max Barry; the word is mightier than the pen. `Lexicon' is a book all about language, how it can be used to manipulate those around you without their knowledge. This goes beyond the suggestive language of `The Game' and into the science fiction realm where a shadowy group of Poets use their power of words to control the general population. Wil is a normal Aussie bloke on the run from the murderous Poets and in particular Virginia Woolf, but is everything as it seems?

Barry has done a brilliant job with `Lexicon' of both creating a strong idea, but also creating an interesting story. The plot is split in two; you follow Wil in the present day as he runs for his life, but also follow a young woman called Emily who is taken in by the Poets and trained in the art of language. This structure works wonderfully as it allows Barry to introduce us to the concepts, but also keep the thrills coming. If the book borders on `Hogwarts' style teen angst, it is soon disbanded with a thrilling action sequence where people are forced to act against their nature.

With the concepts of mind control `Lexicon' could have been very heavy handed; an all-out action thriller, empty of intelligence. This is far from the case as there is a story within a story; what is actually going on - who are the enemy? The power of language is explored not only as a tool for power, but how it is used in everyday life by ordinary people. `Lexicon' is thought provoking, but also full of great action sequences, a wonderful slice of near future thrills.

Sammy Recommendation
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 June 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a fast paced thriller with an intriguing and chewy premise. Something very bad happened two year ago in a remote Australian town, and as a result, Will finds himself being hunted down by a crazed sect. They believe he has answers, but he doesn't know anything.

What if the right words could turn keys in the mind, establishing control over others? What if the secrets of influence, manipulation and charisma could be made systematic, taught, and employed over generations by a secret organisation of what would, five hundred years ago, have been called magicians? And what if one of those dedicated, talented, highly trained individuals came to resent the level of control and discipline imposed on their life, and wanted power instead?

Barry keeps the reader guessing throughout this book, gradually revealing the secrets of "The Organization" but keeping its role satisfyingly ambiguous. The linguistic background to its tricks goes a long way to a convincing, almost scientific explanation for weird, superhuman powers that would otherwise be labelled magical, or even divine - but there re aspects of human nature that The Organisation doesn't understand and can't control, just as there are older secrets that should be left to lie...
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 12 October 2013
"Here we go, hey-o, diddle diddle!"

This is a book which I slightly mixed feelings about when I finished; I enjoyed the read, definitely, but felt when I finished it that I had to leave it for a while before reviewing it, because there was something about it overall that nagged at me a bit.

The book has a fascinating premise; straight into the action, we read of Wil Parke, ambushed in an airport bathroom and brutally kidnapped by men he doesn't know for reasons he has no idea about; then we skip to the life of Emily Ruff, street-smart and ready for a new adventure when one offers itself to her. It took me a bit of the way into the book to realise that Emily's narration was chronologically a lot earlier than Wil's, which was a bit unnecessarily confusing, and could have been cleared up by dates at the chapter headings just to clarify that. I liked the concepts that were thrown up in this book, and I liked the character of Wil, but I really didn't care for Emily at all, so found it a bit harder to feel empathy for what her character was going through.

There are very clever and pertinent observations on the modern society and its fascination with digital knowledge, and with conspiracy theories. The manipulation of knowledge and its ethical connotations is signposted, but I would have liked to have seen more made of this, as of the society of `poets' and their involvement in world affairs.

The first half or so of the book we see things very much from the `narrow' perspective - that of Wil and Emily (and a little of Elliott).. In the later part of the book, the action broadens to take in the `wider' perspective - that of the `poets' and Yeats' actions in particular. But what stopped this being a total success for me was that we never really got to `see' more of the wider perspective, and so missed some of the nuances I'm sure the author had in mind for his broader character base.

This is a great book; I think what nagged at me and stopped me from giving it five stars is that while it was a well-put together, sharp book, sometimes it was almost a little bit too sharp for its own good. I definitely will look out for more of the author's works; there are clearly great novels waiting to get out from in his head - innovative, original and definitely modern narratives.
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on 28 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The premise of "Lexicon" is that humans can be categorized into various personality types, and for each of these types there is a combination of words which can cause total compliance. One word, however, is so primal, so powerful, that the consequences of it getting in the wrong hands are unthinkable.

In "Lexicon" Max Barry juggles several plot strands, time frames, and characters to great effect. The result is an imaginative, intelligent, and enjoyable thriller.
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