ARC Review: One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1) by Mark Lawrence


In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.


I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to receive this ARC in exchange of an honest review!

Genre: Science Fiction

Page count: 201 (Kindle Edition), 204 (Paperback Edition)

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book is hilarious. I highly appreciated it because of that.

I have a thing for books with strong British wit. It is a guilty pleasure of mine. And One Work Kill by Mark Lawrence is full of it. Sometimes, I couldn’t help but crack up with laughter, because it amused me so much! I loved that.

All you need to know about this book is that if you’re not a quantum mechanics genius or at least decent in maths or physics or at least a spaceship engineer like meself (I am absolutely joking, of course, I struggle with addition on a daily basis, don’t take me seriously) this book is going to make you feel dumb on a superior level. I felt highly dumb reading through this book, but I approve of my dumbness because the book enlightened me (in a very small portion because I am hopeless).

Nerdiness is a great word to describe the structure of the book. Some maths enthusiast teenagers gather to talk about time travel and play Dungeons and Dragons in the ‘80s. Come on, it sticks to it!

Honestly, I’ve never played D&D or anything like that, but reading how a game like this goes, it just made me curious. It sounds like a serious experience. Nerd aesthetics at its finest.

It gets intriguing when Nick, one of the boys and the main character, finds out that he’s dying of cancer and his whole world seems to shatter at first, but the D&D sessions with his friends, John, Elton and Simon, a crush, Mia, and some weird figure from the future seem not to agree with his self-pity and make him play an even bigger role that his character in the game.

The characters are lovable. And I mean it. I think it is one of the most important aspects of the book. They are just so cool and witty and cute and smooshy. Love ‘em all. And the cutest of them all is Nick. Maybe it’s the fact that the story is narrated from his point of view and we have this way access to his thoughts (which are brilliant I might add), but I feel like if we were to be in any other of our characters’ minds, it would’ve been equally great.

Even though it’s short (only 200 and so pages), this book is eventful. It’s actually so packed with events that one hardly can get past a chapter without something notable even happen. Which, in my opinion, it is good. Great actually. Me loves and eventful book. And, anyway, it is only the first book of the Impossible Times trilogy, so there is plenty of events comin’ for us.

Time travel, the peril of death, Dungeons and Dragons, quantum mechanics laws, plotting against the time itself, all is there to serve a high purpose – entertaining you with facts and brains.

All is there left to say is this:

  • a great, readable book;
  • cancer can suck it;

Thanks for putting up with my shit today, read the book!

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