I don't know what's going on with Allen Zadoff's I Am the Weapon series. The first one was published under Boy Nobody a while ago, and now maybe it's being republished under The Hit, I guess? Or maybe that's overseas; I'm unclear. Anyway, I read I Am the Weapon and got really into it--slam, bang, boom.
So now we have I Am the Mission, and again, lucky enough to get an ARC. In fact, I was sitting there on Netgalley waiting for it to come out, and I almost peed myself with joy when I saw it, requested it, and got it, right away. And then I gulped it down, and now all I want to know is what the next one will be called and when it will come out.
I'll admit, Mission isn't as good as Weapon. The second in a series rarely is, and my theory is that, even when the book is great, it can never surprise you like the first one did--finding a new author/character/series to love is a big part of the thrill, and that New Series Energy is not going to be there for books two through &c.
So Mission didn't get to surprise me as much. Also, the author challenged himself here--this time our narrator is up against a paramilitary organization, which means he's not the only guy with training in the game. There's also some internal strife at the Program, which, given the fact that things already operate on a Really, Really Need to Know basis, means he's pretty confused and adrift, support-wise.
This time, his name is Daniel, and he's being sent in to kill the leader of a militia-style camp/cult of young people. It's a short term job; he's to strike at a recruiting event, not to go inside the compound. These people have already taken out one Program kid, and they're not risking Daniel.
But a plan never survives first contact, and Daniel finds himself inside, cut off, and trying to fulfill his mission and navigate the fraught politics of a paranoid military organization. On the way, he finds and figures out more about his own organization, and maybe even his own past.
I'm usually not one for the broader story arc, preferring the mission on the table for the day. But honestly, the camp parts dragged--it was a lot more waiting for an opportunity than acting, and the real drama of the story wasn't there.
It was with Daniel, cut off from the Program, examining his own motivations. I'll admit that I guessed some of the twists and turns early, but it didn't take away from them. This is a solid middle book, and I am completely set up for the third one. We're going to find out about Daniel's father, and the moral ambiguity of being an assassin for the good guys is going to wash out in the end. Allen Zadoff, get writing!