Invincible Assassin

IA 2.5

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
138 Pages
Reviewed on 09/09/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Invincible Assassin: IA 2.5 is another thrilling supernatural adventure from the pen of John Darryl Winston. Slotting in between the events of IA B.O.S.S. and IA Union, I’d strongly recommend that you read this entire young adult series to follow Naz’s journey as he uncovers his paranormal gifts. In this installment, Winston focuses in on Harvis, our other young protagonist, in the wake of the death of a pivotal character from book two. Naz is determined to seek vengeance, but it’s Harvis’s time to shine as he attempts to gain intel and protect his friend. But Harvis takes on much more than he expects, as dark secrets from his own family are exposed and danger lurks around every corner.

It’s been a long while since I delved into the IA world with John Darryl Winston, but I was thrilled to be back from page one. Though the story line is as complex and exciting as ever, Winston paints a world with such clarity that I walked back in with ease, and was at once enraptured. Naz’s character development intrigued me particularly in this volume as he experiences deep grief and frustration, and it was delightful to watch Harvis grow in both intellect and ability. Young readers will be wowed by yet more twists and excitement in Invincible Assassin, but I think the characters’ friendship and their personal journeys also offer a meaningful and moving investment for any reader. Once again, Winston hits the mark with skill.

Charity Tober

Invincible Assassin (I.A. 2.5) by John Darryl Winston is the third installment in the YA urban fantasy series. This book follows the character of Harvis as he embarks on a personal mission to help his best friend Naz Andersen with his quest for justice as well as to find answers within his own family. Naz's sole purpose is to avenge the death of his beloved sister, Meri, and Harvis is determined to help his friend find closure so he can move on with his life. The tricky streets of the Exclave, riddled with dangerous gangs, provide a challenging obstacle in the pursuit of answers, but Harvis, like Naz with his unrelenting focus, is not about to give up.

Invincible Assassin is a quick and interesting read. It provided more insight into Winston's world of the Exclave. Harvis was a good character for readers to follow. He provided a voice of reason and, even though things got tough, he wanted to see it through to the end. His mom taught him that everyone is here to help someone else, which is a great principle to live by. I think I might have enjoyed Naz as the main narrator in the prior books a bit more than Harvis, but that's just my personal opinion. I would recommend Invincible Assassin by John Darryl Winston to fans of the prior books as well as readers of YA urban and coming of age fantasy stories. And because of Naz's abilities aspect, fans of science fiction/superhero stories should also find a lot to like in this series.

Jack Magnus

Invincible Assassin: IA 2.5 is an urban fantasy/coming of age novel for young adults and preteens written by John Darryl Winston. While the author gives enough background for this book to be read as a standalone novel, I would strongly recommend reading these books in order to get the full impact of the series. Naz seemed to have left the world behind after his sister, Meri, was killed. She had been everything to him, and he had felt so deeply his role as her protector, so losing her seemed a mortal blow to Naz’s very identity. Harvis knew probably more than anyone else could just how deeply Naz had been wounded, and he was also more aware of Naz’s latent and frighteningly powerful abilities. The self-styled Wordsmith knew he had to act to save Naz from himself, and only he could do this for his best friend. His dad, the General, seemed to instinctively know these things, and he was quite eloquent in his own way about supporting whatever Harvis would have to do.

Invincible Assassin: IA 2.5 is a little bit different from the other books in this most remarkable series in that the story is presented from the perspective of Harvis aka Wordsmith, and his perspective is a marvelous one indeed. I love the crazy contradictions and inherent strangeness of this young man whose strict military-style training only seems to enhance his ability to think outside the proverbial box. His role as Naz’s erstwhile support system and guardian enhances this compelling story, which has grand, fast-moving and glorious fight scenes that even readers who don’t normally care for extended descriptions of battles will enjoy. Harvis is a complex, multi-faceted and infinitely appealing character whose penchant for writing poetry and his effortless ability to put down opponents who far outnumber and outweigh him work synergistically to create a dynamic character worth following. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Naz and Harvis in future stories. Invincible Assassin: IA 2.5 is most highly recommended.

Kim Anisi

Invincible Assassin by John Darryl Winston is a shorter in between book of the IA series, and is told through the eyes of Harvis. You will need knowledge from the previous two books to truly understand and enjoy book 2.5 in the series! In this little novel (it will take you 2-3 hours to read), you follow Harvis as he tries to help Naz through the time after Meri's funeral. Naz has disappeared, but Harvis - knowing his friend - finds him at Meri's grave after the funeral. Naz is out for revenge and wants to find out who the boss of all the gangs truly is. Harvis, however, manages to convince him to wait three weeks; he will try to find the information his way. But three weeks pass, and Naz turns into the Invisible Assassin, causing fear amongst the different gangs. Harvis decides he can't let Naz do this alone, and soon both find themselves in danger: outnumbered and surrounded by what’s left of the Incubus Apostles.

I enjoyed reading Invincible Assassin by John Darryl Winston because I liked the characters from his previous books but I was disappointed that it was short. It's more of a novella than a full length novel. I can see that the actual plot wouldn't work for anything longer. So, in the end, a short version with excitement is a lot better than a drawn out version that would make you yawn. I truly enjoy the author's writing style, and even though it has been a while since I read the first two books in the series, it was incredibly easy to reconnect with Harvis and Naz. Naz isn't someone you forget that easily. They go through quite a dark time in this part of the series, but then, life hasn't been easy for them. I liked how Harvis changed within the story, and how this caused Naz to change in a different direction. For a while, I was a little bit concerned about the path he was taking. Fans of the series will love this little book and it makes you understand a bit more about the development of those two interesting characters, but also sets up a few questions that can be answered in the future.

Kayti Nika Raet

Invincible Assassin by John Darryl Winston is a middle grade/YA novella billed as 2.5 in the IA series. Told from Harvis's point of view instead of Naz's, Harvis watches as the death of Meri shatters his friend to the core, and tries to help him on Naz's quest to find out the truth and avenge his sister's murder. While trying to keep Naz from using his superpowers for evil, Harvis wants to find the answers to Meri's death within three weeks, but that ends up being far harder than he expected, and dark secrets may come forth to shake Harvis's sense of self and everything he thought he knew.

Showcasing the heart and strength of both young men as they pursue answers and justice, despite the hardships in their way, Invincible Assassin highlights the power of friendship while being filled with many twists and turns and visceral descriptions. Winston crafts a riveting stepping stone into the series as a whole. Invincible Assassin makes for a decent read. Winston does well in really getting into the hearts of the characters and their motivations. But he also gives it a dose of realism that kids dealing with gangs and their sometimes violent consequences can relate to, and this makes for a unique read. Invincible Assassin by John Darryl Winston is sure to excite fans of his previous work, but it also does well to draw new readers into the series as well as fans of middle grade/YA science fiction adventures. It's a story with brains and heart, and a whole lot of love.