Series: Orphan X #2
Published by Michael Joseph on January 26th 2017
Source: From my shelves
He was once called Orphan X.
As a boy, Evan Smoak was taken from a children's home, raised and trained as part of a secret government initiative buried so deep that virtually no one knows it exists. But he broke with the programme, choosing instead to vanish off grid and use his formidable skill set to help those unable to protect themselves.
One day, though, Evan's luck ran out . . .
Ambushed, drugged, and spirited away, Evan wakes up in a locked room with no idea where he is or who has captured him. As he tries to piece together what's happened, testing his gilded prison and its highly trained guards for weaknesses, he receives a desperate call for help.
With time running out, he will need to out-think, out-manoeuvre, and out-fight an opponent the likes of whom he's never encountered to have any chance of escape. He's got to save himself to protect those whose lives depend on him. Or die trying . . .
Orphan X is not my usual style of book, but my husband bought it for me for Christmas on a friend’s recommendation, and I ended up enjoying it so much more than I expected. Although, the fact it’s about a secret government conspiracy should have clued me in, I guess. The Nowhere Man is the second book in the Orphan X series and it picks up immediately where the first book left off, but sadly it didn’t live up to the first book at all.
“Someone smarter than either of us once said, ‘If you want a quality, act like you already have it.”
My biggest problem with thrillers tends to be the lack of character depth and development, and while I found Evan Smoak a little too perfect in Orphan X, that was redeemed to some extent by the supporting characters, and my favourite parts – where Evan is thrown off in social situation with neighbours who have no idea what he does. In The Nowhere Man we lost that – the secret identity hijinks were sadly lacking, and a huge portion of the book takes place in one setting, where Evan is trapped and trying to escape. And whilst I previously found him too perfect, this book felt like Hurwitz had gone too far the other way, and made Evan still incredibly talented and skillful, and yet at the same time, somehow useless?! The Nowhere Man still has epic fight scenes and fun twists, but without the character development, they’re not enough to keep me gripped, especially as the plot line felt implausible. The ending was ultimately disappointing with a twist that made me uncomfortable with it’s implication, and an all-too-convenient resolution.
“Be one thing at a time, one thing and one thing only.”
I’m definitely not giving up on the series, and have every intention of picking up book 3, Hellbent, to see if this was a one-off, but it won’t be as high on my priority list as it was. What I’d love to see in Hellbent is more of the hidden identity conundrums, more of Evan’s backstory and about the orphan programme in general, and more character depth. Whilst I didn’t love it, I seem very much to be the exception (see the reviews below) so if you’re curious about the book or the series, give it a chance, you may love it!