Boy X by Dan Smith


A fast-moving thriller that hooks the reader from the four dramatic single word sentences that open the story. Perfect for those who love an adrenalin-packed adventure.

When Ash McCarthy wakes up in some sort of medical facility he immediately knows something is wrong. But he doesn’t suspect just how much until he steps outside and finds himself on a remote tropical island. Then he smells the blood and begins to find the bodies. A deadly virus has been released and, to make matters worse, it’s being taken off the island to be sold as a weapon that could wipe out humanity. The antidote is being taken with it and, unless Ash can stop them within 24 hours, everyone on the island who has been infected (including Ash’s mum) will die.

This is a powerful fast-moving thriller that hooks the reader from the four dramatic single word sentences that open the story. The reader is immediately on edge and desperate to know where Ash is and how he will escape.

The plot moves on at pace with constant action that will keep readers turning the pages. This is not, however, at the expense of characterisation. Ash has a fully developed backstory and a rounded personality. I particularly liked the references to his dad through his personal mantra (I am Ash McCarthy. I am strong. I can do this), the fact Ash is scared of heights, and his confused emotions towards his mum’s work.

Ash shares his adventure with the daughter of one of the facility’s lead scientists, Isabel, and I was pleased to find a strong female character. While her bedroom reveals her to be a typical teenager, Isabel also understands how to survive in the rainforest and is an accurate shot with a rifle. Ash may save her life a couple of times but it’s clear he won’t be able to succeed without her.

The plot may be slightly far-fetched at times but I was more than happy to suspend my disbelief and, as a lover of this teen-action adventure genre, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There is a hint of a possible sequel and I am hoping that author, Dan Smith, does follow this up. I would definitely be first in line to buy a copy of any subsequent adventure. In fact, I plan to go and check out Dan Smith’s other books.

If you enjoyed this, you’ll also enjoy the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz – start with Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. There are also clear parallel’s with Horowitz’s Power of Five series of which Necropolis (Power of Five) by Anthony Horowitz is my personal favourite. Alternatively, if you’d prefer a standalone adventure, try Car-Jacked by Ali Sparkes.

ISBN: 978-1909489042
Publication Date: February 2016
Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 352
Author: Dan Smith

Madge's 5 / 5 Star Book rating

Review first published on The Bookbag

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