Book: I Am Pilgrim
Series: Pilgrim #1
Author: Terry Hayes
A breakneck race against time...and an implacable enemy.
An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.
Review: This is one of those books that has a lot of 5 star reviews and 1 star reviews. People seem passionate about loving it or hating it. I wasn't sure what to expect and I have drastic opinions about the first half and section half, let's get started.
The first half of the book was a challenge. The writing style was very odd. It's written in first person yet we have sections written about certain characters with their personal feelings and emotions as they are about to die...written from a characters perspective who wasn't there. Or it somehow it went from first to third back to first? Not sure, it was weird. The main character is also a super spy (I will refer to him as 'super spy since he goes by so many different names)-for the life of me, I could not get a good grasp of him as a person. Maybe that's the point, to be a good spy you need to blend, he was just so 'blah.' There are several sections about the Saracen (jihadist), the big bad of the book and his background. I found these sections incredibly boring-literally, sleep inducing. There were also so many "I just don't see that happening moments." Our super spy retires at a young age and the government allows him to write a book detailing some of his cases. I realize he attempted to 'hide' his true identity as the author but I just don't see the government allowing that. Then an NYPD detective is able to figure out his true identity and the spy agrees to speak at a symposium in front of people (under an alias). No, just no. An ex-spy should be trying to keep a low profile and keep his face out of the public eye. Okay, on to the big bad, the Saracen. **minor spoiler alert** He breaks into one of the most secure facilities in the world (supposedly) using eye balls he cut out of somehow. How is it they have this advanced retina scanner but no CCTV cameras? Even gas stations have them, for goodness sake!
Okay, enough complaints, I decided to persevere and finish the book, even though at this point I was thinking I was definitely in the one star review group.
Our super spy is brought back into the fold to track and capture the Saracen, someone with no criminal record. Side note-our super spy doesn't speak Arabic and Saracen is a Saudi, I thought this would be an issue, but it wasn't. Now, once our super spy flies to Turkey to track him, the book improved 100%. I found I was immersed in the chase-imagine my surprise when i actually stayed up until almost 2am to finish the book (a drastic change from falling asleep at 9:30pm several nights in a row trying to slug through the first half). The plot was fast paced and it was interesting see how everything played out. Of course, our super spy finds the most obscure clues, but that's how these books work, right?
So-overall, while first half is def tough to get through, I'm glad I finished the book.