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I Am the Traitor (The Unknown Assassin): Allen Zadoff

Book: I Am the Traitor (The Unknown Assassin Trilogy, Book 3)
Author: Allen Zadoff
Pages: 304
Age Range: 13 and up

I Am the Traitor is the conclusion to Allen Zadoff's The Unknown Assassin trilogy, following I Am the Weapon (originally published as Boy Nobody) and I Am the Mission. The Unknown Assassin is a teenage boy who works for / belongs to an organization called The Program. In the earlier books, the boy (who we now know is really named Zach) is sent out by The Program to assassinate certain individuals. His method involves using an assumed identify and befriending a teen close to the target, so that he can get close enough to do his work in subtle fashion.

As the series has progressed, however, Zach has come to have his doubts about The Program. He now believes that his father might be alive, a captive to The Program. He's also pretty sure that his only friend, Howard, has been captured. Zach finds himself in the position of being a traitor to the shadowy, powerful organization that trained him. But it's dangerous to put oneself in the crosshairs of an organization that trains assassins. Zach soon finds himself on the run, not sure who to trust, and in grave danger. 

I Am the Traitor, like the other books in the series, is a fast-paced read. Looking back, I find that only flagged one passage (in which Howard lends some mild humor to Zach's more somber outlook). The very definition of a page-turner, complete with twists and turns. I Am the Traitor is a bit like a lower-key a James Bond movie, complete with a sex scene and several murders (though largely committed in self-defense). Zadoff does give readers some opportunity to analyze Zach's character, particularly through his interactions with his nemesis, Mike. But his actions generally speak louder than his words. 

People who have enjoyed the previous two books will definitely want to read I Am the Traitor. Zadoff provides a satisfying ending to The Unknown Assassin trilogy, one that stays true to the darkness of the earlier books. (Don't expect hugs and roses.) For those who have not read the previous two books, you really must read them before reading I Am the Traitor - I don't think it will even make sense otherwise. I recommend this series to thriller fans who can handle a moderate body count, and find the idea of a teenage assassin intriguing (some, clearly, will find this idea disturbing instead). Personally, I enjoyed this series, and look forward to seeing what Zadoff will write next.  

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (@LBKids)
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Source of Book: Advance digital review copy from the publisher

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