Vince Flynn – American Assassin

Expectations before reading

Blurb:

Two decades after the Cold War, Islamic terrorism is in the rise, and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield forms a new group of clandestine operatives – men who do not exist – to meet this burgeoning threat abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield’s protégée, Irene Kennedy, finds the ideal candidate in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Among the thousands grieving the victims is Mitch Rapp, a gifted college athlete, who wants only one thing: retribution. Six months of intense training prepares him to devastate the enemy with brutal efficiency, leaving a trail of bodies from Istanbul and across Europe to Beirut. But there, the American assassin will need every ounce of skill and cunning to survive the war-ravaged city and its deadly terrorist factions.

I am very curious about this plot. There are two options: Either this book sees the actions of the CIA and Mitch Rapp critical or it presents those actions as the only right and effective way to fight terrorism. We’ll see. I am sure either way this will be a very interesting novel.

I am very curious about this plot. There are two options: Either this book sees the actions of the CIA and Mitch Rapp critical or it presents those actions as the only right and effective way to fight terrorism. We’ll see. I am sure either way this will be a very interesting novel.

The Book

4,25 stars

…This is the first time I am wondering about my rating system.. because I was really surprised how many stars this book in the end. 😀
But read for yourself.

Plot ★★★

I am a bit torn  how to rate this. On the one hand I liked the story a lot. It is so exciting and thrilling. It is so interesting to see how they plot and then how this plan actually works out. But then on the other hand you always wonder “is this really the only way?”. Yes, the guys they assassinate are terrorists or at least supporting terrorist organizations. Yes, they have their codex that they don’t harm women, children or pets – just that one person that is their target.  And yes those terrorists have killed innocent people. But does this justify just to kill a person?  I am not so sure. Also at some points this plot was really bloody and I wished I hadn’t read those parts. So overall I’ll rate it with 3 stars, I guess that’s a good compromise.

Characters ★★★★

At first I was quite confused by the different characters. You didn’t know much about each of them, except for the names of course. And then there were quite some changes in perspective. But this was only in the beginning and as soon as I got this sorted out it got better. The story is told from 3 main perspectives: The American, the Russian and the Arabic (there is more than one country involved). And this is what makes the whole story really interesting: To be omniscient and see all the plans and reactions and everything.

What I like a lot is the development of the characters. Or rather the development how you as a reader get to know these characters. At first they are only described quite vaguely. Which is another reason for the confusion at the beginning.  But this is also fitting because when Mitch Rapp and the others first come to the CIA training they aren’t allowed to reveal their identities because it is some kind of selection process. Later they are allowed to reveal their real names. The reader gets to know most of the characters better and also gets some insights but for a long time many characters remain a mystery. The biggest mystery is probably Mitch Rapp. Even though you collect some details from his life, his feelings stay kind of hidden. Until a certain point. And from that point the whole story becomes even more interesting.

Also I like the different characters and the way they interact with each other. This “love-hate” between Mitch Rapp and Stan Hurley is so much fun.  Even though most of the characters are probably not the easiest people to get along with you kind of start to like them.

Setting ★★★★★

The whole story is based on real facts and events. For example the Lockerbie terrorist attack where Rapp’s girlfriend died really happened. This makes the story really realistic.

I also love how they visit different cities. I especially enjoyed the part in Hamburg. Because I know Hamburg quite well and I was able to recognize few things from the description there.

Style ★★★★★

I totally love the style. I loved it right from the beginning. Writing such a serious and brutal story and still maintain such a humorous style – just brilliant. Also I love the use of rhetorical devices.

Opinion after reading

I am not entirely sure how I feel about this novel. On the one hand I liked it. I liked the setting, I loved the style, I also liked parts of the plot. Especially the last part of the book which was even more thrilling than the (very thrilling) rest of the book. I also liked the characters. Grumpy Stan Hurley. And also especially Mitch Rapp despite his wish for retribution.

And then on the other hand I don’t really understand the purpose of being an assassin when you want to be the good guy. In the end the plot makes a lot more sense to me. When they are in a very difficult situation and try to get out. But before.. I am really not sure. But due to my rating system here it got a quite high star-ranking as you can see.

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