Title: Project Pandora (Assassin Falls #1)
Author: Aden Polydoros
Publishing Company: Entangled Teen
Publishing Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: YA/ Thriller/ Suspense
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31450642-project-pandora
Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.
Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?
In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass.
Rating: 3/5 stars
This book was a fast and easy read. I finished this is about 2 ½ days.
In the beginning, it was quite confusing to follow the characters. They had ‘real names’ and then there was the code name, but they also had identification numbers. Everything was a little jumbled when I started reading.
Another issue I had was that this story was told from the Point – of – View of four different characters. I typically don’t enjoy multiple POVs in books, it just confuses the reader if the characters are not different enough. One example of this is Allegiant by Veronica Roth, Tris and Four started to sound the same and I felt like it didn’t bring anything extra to the story.
As one of the POVs, she didn’t really feel very relatable. She is the daughter of a powerful man but she lives a life full of rules and regulations. Throughout the story, she talks about a car accident and how she was different before that. I wish the author wrote more about that event, maybe how is effected how she interacts with people differently now.
Her parents were very one-dimensional, and didn’t really have a role to play except to get her angry. I wanted a more dynamic relationship in the family.
She is paired with Hades. I didn’t like how the Greek Codes names matched with the romantic pairing in this case. It was like we already know what’s going to happen when we meet the characters. She comes off as very passive. Even when Hades does things that would be considered appalling, i.e. beating up her classmates for something they said to her, she defends him. She keeps talking about how violent and irrational he is but she also says that he only does that to protect her. I really didn’t like this about the character’s personality. I believe that YA books should not romanticize unhealthy relationships. This just creates a warped understanding of how relationships work.
He was the one character that was interesting to read about. I would consider him to be the anti-hero of this story. He is violent and impulsive but he also deeply flawed. His character arc was the most interesting to read about. He was abused and brainwashed from a young age but at the same time he can resist the brainwash to a certain extent. He also suffers from memory loss. His dialogue was enjoyable to read as well, he had a few witty remarks sprinkled throughout the novel.
He also has many aspects I didn’t like. For example, the previous mentioned classmate fight. I didn’t think he had to be so impulsive and violent to create this interpretation of the Greek God Hades. He could have been effective and efficient in all the missions he was assigned and it would have still conveyed the same message. Toward the end, he became strangely obsessed with Persephone. I think the author was trying to add some of the Greek myth into the story. But it was feeble attempt and just made Hades look like a possessive stalker – like character.
But having said this, I think Hades was the most dynamic of all the characters. Not really a spoiler, but Hades has a long history with sensory deprivation tanks. I really liked the description of what happens to him when he is forced to spend extended periods of time within the tank.
Artemis and Apollo –
These were the other two character’s POVs we read from. It was really had to separate the two characters. They followed the same plot line and their internal dialogue was similar as well. I also thought that the romantic pairing of Artemis and Apollo was a little too Game of Thrones-esque; Artemis and Apollo are twins. This couple lacked dynamic dialogue which made their chapters a little difficult to read about. I had a slight issue with how amnesia worked in these characters, specifically Artemis and Apollo. It seemed that if they think really hard, they can remember key information. I’m pretty sure amnesia doesn’t work like that. It made the character arcs a little hard to relate to.
I did enjoy reading about the times both Artemis and Apollo are given missions. Sometimes they can break away from the brainwashing but at other times they are compelled to do certain things, even if they don’t understand why. The shifting back and forth of their true selves and their brainwashed robot selves was fascinating to read about.
I think he was supposed to be the “father” figure, or at least the main villain of this story. He didn’t feel very villainous to me. He is violent and treats the teens quite awful. But I felt like he needed a stronger presence. His dynamic with Hades was really well written, I enjoyed their banter but they also had tense moments too. Zeus’s interact with the other characters was not as appealing to me. It was hard to see the relationship with him and the other characters when he only speaks to them over the phone.
Overall, I would say the plot was decent. It kept moving forward and something dramatic was happening every chapter. It reminded me a little of the manga and anime Gunslinger Girls, a group of brainwashed young girls that are trained as assassins. But unlike that manga, the assassins in this story are reintegrated into society. I didn’t understand why the assassins had to be teenagers and why they had to be a part of society. It just makes it harder to relate to the characters.
My other question was, why was the Pandora Project created? It’s mentioned a few times that it was created to make a better world. I don’t really know what that means. I wanted a more concrete reason. I think a specific goal would have helped to anchor the whole plot.
Final decision: 3/5 Rating
It was a fast, action packed read. The book ends abruptly, and it makes me want to read the next book to find out what happens to the characters.
* Thank you Entangled TEEN and NetGalley for providing me
with an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion*