Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Review: Nobody

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

Ever felt invisible?  Like no one sees you or listen to you invisible?  Just a face in the crowd?  We've all felt it I'm sure--some maybe more then others, some maybe more intentionally then others.  Yet in Barnes' new scifi thriller she posits that there are people out there who are truly invisible.

Maybe not so literally--though they can do that too, but in all other ways they are essentially non-existent and she's got a whole plethora of physics related scifi babble to back this up (look I'm not a science girl so it all made sense to me, but I think that the technobabble in Star Trek makes perfect sense too).

In the ways that counted NOBODY worked better for me then EVERY OTHER DAY.  I never quite got on board with the heroine of EVERY OTHER DAY, never quite liked her or bought into the whole science of why she was as she was.  NOBODY however made a lot of sense.  The perfect killers are those you can't see so of course some shadowy agency will take advantage of that to the nth power.  The romance also made more sense to me as Claire had a good grip on why she felt for Nix so strongly and didn't delude herself into thinking it was completely healthy.

On pg. 72 (of the ARC) Claire says "...there was a difference between being stalked and being wooed."  Claire who to escape the lonely isolation of her life creates elaborate 'Situations' in which she's not alone.  Claire who reads books and watches TV to feel connected to something.  Claire who only a couple chapters before was happy to be seen even though her life was in imminent danger.  That quote above proved she had more self-awareness than most other young adult (or hell even adult) heroines.

Quite frankly her romance with Nix is not healthy.  It doesn't begin healthy, it doesn't continue in a healthy fashion and I'd be hard put to say that it resolved itself in a wholly healthy manner.  But the thing is neither Nix nor Claire are healthy people.  Claire lives inside her head and Nix was taught from cradle that if they see him they are lying to him.  Trust issues be damned, these two were gunning for who has the most pitiful excuse as to why the other won't like like them.

Together they find a way, they find a better purpose to their lives.  Together they are much better then the sum of their parts.

Nix was raised by The Society (the bad guys) all his life.  Told over and over again that he was worse then useless, worse than non-existent.  Whereas Claire had hope that one day, maybe, she would be noticed (because she grew up in ignorance of what being a 'Nobody' meant) Nix had no hope.  Nothing at all except the possibility that his tortured existence served a heroic purpose.   Barnes touches on some serious subject matter throughout the novel where Nix is concerned.  And really that's all she does is touch upon what he's done to himself and had done to him abuse wise.

Its hard to call something abuse if the premise is that they can't remember he exists though.  Its like if PETA came after you for not protecting a stray dog you saw once on the side of the road months ago.  Its not malicious, cruel or neglectful.  It just is.

I think Barnes, much like in EVERY OTHER DAY and her Raised By Wolves trilogy set up a unique, intriguing premise with a narrative outside the norm.  It was a little confusing, especially in the beginning as Claire is thinking one thing and Nix is contradicting the same thing out loud and some of the scientific explanation is Star Trek worthy, but this won't disappoint in the end.