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One Word Kill

Impossible Times, Book 1
Narrated by: Matthew Frow
Series: Nick Hayes Series, Book 1
Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Goodreads Choice Award finalist.

“I enjoyed the hell out of One Word Kill. Mark is an excellent writer.” - George R.R. Martin 

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week. 

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange - yet curiously familiar - man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help - now. 

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics. 

Challenge accepted.

Ready Player One meets Stranger Things in this thrilling new novel by bestselling author Mark Lawrence.

©2019 by Mark Lawrence. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about One Word Kill

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Dull

I have so much enjoyed Mark Lawrence’s other books that I was quite excited to see this new series. But it’s hard to believe it’s the same author, so mediocre is it. To begin with, I wondered if it were the narrator. He speaks very clearly and does some accents well enough, but he has a sing song narration style that didn’t appeal to me at all. However as the story went on I decided it isn’t only the narrator, it is the story and characters. Time travel is always difficult and this attempt didn’t work for me. Huge disappointment all round - and don’t believe those who say that the second in the series is better. Being such a fan of his other books, I purchased both at the same time and I gave the second book a listen as well. It doesn’t improve. I can thoroughly recommend his other books though.

3 people found this helpful

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  • P. E. Holmelund
  • 15-05-2019

Disapointing and with an awfull narrator

Let me preface this by stating that I absolutely love all of Lawrence other books. This one felt like it was written by an entirely different author. Far less attention to detail, glaring holes in the plot and characters that felt flat and underdeveloped. Not a series I'll return to.

8 people found this helpful

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  • S.A. Klopfenstein
  • 18-09-2019

Cool Ideas, bu Lackluster Execution

Lawrence has a lot of fun ideas with time travel and infinite potential timelines, but the story played out more like if Stranger Things spent a third of a season with the kids sitting around playing D and D. Pretty slow for such a short book. The climax was fun, but felt rushed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel P.
  • 13-07-2019

Excellent 6+ hours of entertainment

One Word Kill was an excellent story by Mark Lawrence. It was on the shorter side at about 200 pages or 6 hours and 45 minutes on audible but this meant there was never a dull moment. I’m used to reading Lawrence’s fantasy books and it was nice to see that he’s able to produce good content in other genres as well. I see this get compared to Stranger Things quite a bit and I think that’s fair. It takes place in the 80’s, there’s a nerdy D&D group and there’s one girl in the group but I think this is where the similarities end. Although this takes place in the 80s it doesn’t rely on the nostalgia factor as much as Stranger Things does, it’s just the setting for the story. It’s hard to give other reasons why this book is different without spoiling anything but I think I can say it’s more straight SciFi than supernatural (at least so far) without giving too much away. Another difference from Stranger things was the setting. This takes place in England instead of the U.S. I honestly didn’t realize that Lawrence grew up in the U.K. until I read this book. The slang and jargon seemed so similar to what I hear teens using in other English shows so I had to go look at his biography to see that he grew up there. Getting to see teens in 80’s England was interesting as I haven’t really seen content (besides in the actual 80s) produced in this setting. I do have a few nitpicks. The main character has cancer. This isn’t really an issue but there’s a lot of talk about it and chemotherapy. If someone has cancer or has family or friends who do this might be a bit of a downer. The only other thing is that this book is pretty short and paying full price or an audible credit for such a short book seems a little steep. The nice thing though is that this is free on Kindle Unlimited and if you have that you can also get the audio book for $1.99 which is well worth it. I was also going to say I don’t see why Lawrence didn’t make this trilogy one book but I’ve already started book two and, although short, these really do seem like full complete arcs of a trilogy. Overall a fantastic 6+ hours of entertainment and I look forward to the rest of the trilogy. Mathew Frow was an excellent narrator for this book especially since it’s set in England. His narration was spot on and was one of the reasons I had to go look and see if Lawrence was from the U.K.

2 people found this helpful

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  • josh
  • 31-05-2019

Boring like the sound of Booooooooooooooooooooooo

I tried. I really did. Honestly it's not all that bad I guess. Like a somber Hardy Boy or a soggy french fry. Ya, It has ketchup on it, but, why am I eating this? deep breath- exasperated sigh....

8 people found this helpful

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  • Westley Giles
  • 10-06-2020

A solid short story

Trope powered and awesome. It doesn’t wear out its welcome. It gets to a satisfying end and I enjoyed listening to nerds being nerds. I’m a happy nerd camper.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Daniel Dwyer
  • 13-05-2020

Mark Lawrence

I freaking love Mark Lawrence. He can do no wrong. Everything he does, so amazing. Great narrator too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • John G. Stone
  • 17-04-2020

Time travel with an AD&D twist

Interesting how AD&D is integrated into the story of a kid with cancer, his friends and his future self.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephanie
  • 23-02-2020

Paradox upon paradox...

Let me start by saying that time travel makes my head hurt. It always has. Because of that, I rarely read books about time travel and put off buying this trilogy. But, I enjoy Mark Lawrence’s writing and story-telling SOO much that I couldn’t help myself. I’m not sorry I listened to these books. But the time travel was no less headache-inducing, even when written by Mark Lawrence. I’ll give credit where it’s due: throughout this trilogy, Lawrence does an epic job of trying to patch the potential plot holes and solve the issues that plague all time travel stories. Mostly through the use of quantum mechanics. But he does not entirely succeed. Plot holes abound, and I spent most of my time while reading these books questioning various aspects of the story. Once you overcome the time travel paradox, the story is solid. The characters are endearing and not obnoxious. It’s mostly a young adult story, but not in that annoyingly asinine and deliberately ignorant way of many young adult books. There’s even cursing! *gasp* I liked Nick, Mia, John, Simon, and Ethan. And the other friends they meet throughout their adventures add to the story. Lawrence is a great character-builder, developing intelligent people with personality and depth. He did not disappoint on this front in One Word Kill or the rest of the trilogy. The story follows Nick following a leukemia diagnosis as he’s confronted by himself from the future, trying to save his girlfriend, Mia, in the future. Throughout, the group of friends plays a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a fun story. Especially if you have a geeky streak. The narration is on point. This was my first experience with Matthew Frow and I’d definitely listen to another of his books. If you need a Mark Lawrence fix and are prepared to suspend logic and disbelief for a few hours, One Word Kill, Limited Wish, and Dispel Illusion are a short adventure that are worth the read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • FanFiAddict
  • 13-02-2020

Making Math Sexy Again

YUGE thanks to the publisher and author for an advanced reading copy of Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel. What can I really say that is going to make you read this book? You either enjoy Lawrence’s books or you OMFG THIS MAN CAN DO NO WRONG. SERIOUSLY, WHEN DOES HIS NEXT BOOK COME OUT BECAUSE I AM GOING TO PREORDER IT RIGHT NOW – LOVE his books. I can safely say that I am in the latter because I know that every time I open up one of his novels, I am in for a treat that has beautifully crafted prose, entrancingly expansive yet claustrophobic world-building, a unique and impressive magic system, and characters that not only kick ass and take names, but do so with flair. Holy Sister nips at the heels of Grey Sister, and since it has been a year since we last journeyed round the ice with Nona, Mark has kindly given us a bit of a recap at the beginning. It is always a nice touch when authors do this as not all of us have time to re-read the first 2+ books in a series to remember exactly all that has happened. We are given two (2) timelines this time around: the first being the present where Nona is in Holy Class and has to make the difficult decision of which order she will become; the second being three (3) years in the past and taking place moments after the ending of Grey Sister. Mark expertly crafts both of these timelines together to make for seamless transitions between chapters. The end of each chapter feels like its own mini cliffhanger, only to be satisfied immediately within the next few words. While the author has a knack for writing well thought out and descriptive fight scenes, his ability to build up a battle for the ages in just a few short chapters is simply stunning. But what I am really chuffed about, and have to agree with my co-reviewer Griffin on, is the creation of the ship-hearts and the artificial moon. The entirety of the planet warring over control of these ancient items in order to negate the fast-paced movement of the ice and ensure their survival. Guys and gals… I really cannot say more about how Mark’s writing has affected me since I first began reading his works. Anytime his name is attached to something, I have to have it. I may not be the first to read or review it, heck, probably not even the first to talk about it, but I know that I can bite into his writing, chew slowly to savor the words as they gush out, and know that I will be pleasantly full by the time it is over. This trilogy, like the Broken Empire (and when I finally get to reading it, more than likely The Red Queen’s War), will be one I come back to over and over again. I can imagine there are so many things I have missed, but just the prose alone is enough to have me clamoring for more.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-01-2020

Loved it!

Amasing story and great narration. Made me feel like a part of the story somehow and even made time travel seem logical.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 01-05-2019

Dicing With Death!

80s nostalgia, time travel, nerd meets girl, Dungeons and Dragons - I am Nick Harris, I was Nick Harris, I can't do the time travel, unfortunately. Most importantly as you can guess I am most definitely squarely in the centre of the target market that Mark Lawrence was aiming at with this story! This took me back to those long sessions of rolling dice, great feats of imagined heroism and most fantastic fellowship with old friends who while definitely not forgotten, long or otherwise, are too distant and far too seldom seen. I even just got out my old dice and rolled them a few times to mark the occasion of finishing this book. Sad I know, but true. It's a cracking little story, I can see why they have likened it to Ready Player One though this is more an adventure involving a time traveller than a time travel story or quite such a zany adventure as Cline's smash hit. It is, however, a story that delivers on its quite excellent premise and while it's not quite as full of the wider 80s nostalgia it does capture the decade nicely and populates it with a set of characters that are very easy on the ear. Be prepared though that it's not just a nice cutesy nostalgia trip, 80s big cities weren't the easiest of places to live in and so it proves here with Nick and the gang facing some very tough dilemmas. The overall chemistry is worked brilliantly for me, though it was almost designed for me personally. It will be interesting to see what other reviewers, possibly from slightly different demographics think about it. My recommendation regardless is to give it a try . . . roll those bones!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 31-07-2019

A must read

This is a great book, I wasn't sure to start with but then got cought up in the story. There are sad parts and funny parts and parts that really make you think.

1 person found this helpful

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  • sonvagun
  • 08-05-2019

Wasn't what I expected...

... but really enjoyed it. Finished Holy Sister, and went straight into One Word Kill, do you need to read Marks other works to enjoy this? No, but you should!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adam Gibson
  • 02-09-2020

Well worth the read /listen

I bought this after liking another book of Mark Lawrence's. Thankfully the one word kill series did not dissapointed either. Well written, great use of time travel mechanics and the butterfly effect etc. Lots of twists and turns and not easy to "guess" the plot. Give mark a try.

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  • A. Listener
  • 21-07-2019

Good story,

Decent story. Good enough to want to read the second book. My only genuine critique is the performer. His voice is clear and pleasant but doesn't really fit the feel to the story. It sounds too much like he's reading for a young audience. Which I don't think this book is for, since it has a few adult themes included. I'd say it's for 12 and up.

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  • a suth
  • 01-07-2019

ok

was ok not great, not terrible. villan was weak. three stars seems fair to me.

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  • JPA
  • 22-05-2019

Kept me guessing throughout

I didn't know what to expect going into this. I've read and listened to Mark's fantasy trilogies and loved them, so had to try this out. Well written and clever as ever, intriguing and surprising, poignant and full of feeling. Tense at times and punchy action sequences that weren't over the top. Spoiler of sorts: I'm not a fan of time travel, so struggled with that (main) element, despite how well it was tackled and delivered. D&D sections were great and the characters entertaining. Overall, I'm intrigued to find out what comes next. Narration was good.