Review: “Children of Paranoia” by Trevor Shane
Reading Level: Adult*
Description from Goodreads:
ALL WARS HAVE RULES
Rule Number One: No killing innocent bystanders.
Rule Number Two: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen.
BREAK THE RULES, BECOME THE TARGET
Since the age of eighteen, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn’t fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden in the shadows, governed by a rigid set of rules, and fought by two distinct sides-one good, one evil. The only unknown is which side is which. Soldiers in the War hide in plain sight, their deeds disguised as accidents or random acts of violence amidst an unsuspecting population ignorant of the brutality that is always inches away.
Killing people is the only life Joseph has ever known, and he’s one of the best at it. But when a job goes wrong and he’s sent away to complete a punishingly dangerous assignment, Joseph meets a girl named Maria, and for the first time in his life his singleminded, bloody purpose fades away.
Before Maria, Joseph’s only responsibility was dealing death to the anonymous targets fingered by his superiors. Now he must run from the people who have fought by his side to save what he loves most in this world. As Children of Paranoia reaches its heart-in-throat climax, Joseph will learn that only one rule remains immutable: the only thing more dangerous than fighting the War…is leaving it.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Children of Paranoia” tells the story of Joe, a front line soldier in the secret War. The world in which Trevor Shane has created: the Wr, the people, the rules…it’s fascinating. He accomplished the impossible; he made me give a damn about a killer.
It took me a few chapters to fully enjoy the story, but once I did it was hard to put down. Joe is a well written character. You can feel his conflict, his pain, his happiness. All of it. When he first meets Maria, you’re rooting for things to work out for him, but you know that it probably won’t. The War that’s occurring through out the book is a war between good and evil. Although you can never really be sure who is good and who is evil. Certain children, picked for various reasons, are taught about the War near their sixteenth birthdays. The children then prepare over the next two years, as once they turn eighteen: they become a part of the War. It’s a kill or be killed world, so they must be ready to kill. There are two rules: no killing innocent bystanders, and no killing anyone under the age of eighteen. Joe’s been fighting on the ‘good’ side since he was younger, having decided when he was sixteen that he wanted to be a soldier. Killing is his job, is what he does, it’s who he is, but it isn’t all he wants. He begins questioning what they do and why they do it. After falling for Maria, a girl he meets while on a hit, everything changes.
I expected what happened to Joe, but I didn’t expect the ending with Maria. After that letter to Chris, I’m eager to see where the story goes next (as this is the first book in a trilogy). I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would. It’s wonderfully written with a main character that you can’t help but feel for, and it has a plot that will keep you guessing. I would recommend this, definitely.
A random quote from “Children of Paranoia”:
As I stared at the picture, Dan’s voice echoed in my head, reminding me, “Too much hate will ruin you.” “But not enough and the world falls into chaos,” I whispered to myself. I sat down at my desk, opened up the envelope, and began to study the man whose life I was supposed to end.
Taken from page 158