Author: Tom Hoyle
My rating: 2.5 / 5
Setting: London, UK
Born at midnight in London, on the stroke of the new millennium, Adam is the target of a cult that believes boys born on this date must die before the end of their thirteenth year. Twelve boys have been killed so far.
Coron, the crazy cult leader, will stop at nothing to bring in his new kingdom. And now he is planning a bombing spectacular across London to celebrate the sacrifice of his final victim: Adam.
-- As seen on Goodreads
I received this book via a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
For a Young Adult book, I’m pleasantly surprised with the subject matter and how it was handled. It’s pretty full on for a book at the younger end of the YA scale – the characters are thirteen. Cults are something I’ve never read about fictitiously before, so I thought it was a very interesting story.
My gripe is not with the actual story, which I think is relevant and really good – it’s with the style. It reads very stark and clinical -- I like complex and emotional. Straight off I’m at a disadvantage. I want to root for the characters; I want to connect with them and feel what they feel, and when I don’t experience anything toward them, this has a huge influence on how much I enjoy a book.
There is a lot of POV switching which I don’t particularly like either. I prefer a book focusing on a couple of characters and getting to know them really well, rather than knowing a little about lots of characters. At one stage, it felt like the story was being told from every character we came into contact with. I’m taking Adam to be the main character, as we see the most of him throughout but he sort of blends together with all the other point-of -views.
The story is very fast paced which I loved. The insanity surrounding the cult leader, Coron, and his followers is excellently portrayed and chillingly realistic. I definitely enjoyed the second half a lot more compared to the first. The ending was a tad anti-climactic, and there is a short build up for a sequel, which gives the impression of lots of creepy things to come. I think Thirteen could be a Marmite kind of book: if you like the writing style, you will adore it. If you’re more like me, then you might not enjoy it as much.