Sci-fi was a genre I felt like I hadn’t visited in ages. So naturally to remedy this, I headed straight for the sci-fi section and started to peruse the shelves, when I came across this particular book. The premise sounded rather intriguing. So without further delay, I started reading.
The war between Earth and the Sirian Empire has raged on for nearly a year and Earth is in desperate need of an advantage to overcome the Sirian’s vast numbers and equipment. Enter James Mowry. Trained and his appearance altered, Mowry goes undercover to enemy grounds. His mission is wage a one man war on a populated planet of 80 million by causing mayhem, sapping morale and tying up resources. In short, he must become like the wasp that buzzes around and distracts the driver.. and causes him to crash!
Wasp was extremely fast paced and action packed right from the beginning. This momentum carried on right until the last page of the book. The plot was extremely focused, with next to no room for unnecessary and insignificant details.
Another thing that struck me was the light heartedness of the book given the seriousness of the premise. Humour was skillfully written – Russell was able to masterly inject it in such a way that on a handful of occasions, I found myself chuckling despite the danger of the situation.
“You sound like my father. Did he tell you that?”
“The Service does not reveal its sources of information.”
Furthermore, what made this book even more enjoyable was the feasibility of the plot. The actions taken by the protagonist whilst on enemy grounds and the thought processes behind these were very real and could easily happen in real life. Admittedly, some things did seem to happen awfully conveniently. Yet, it was easy to overlook these in the long run.
Yet, my favourite aspect was the message the book encapsulated – that one person could do so much if they really want to. For me, it was inspirational because it ran true – it wasn’t some airy-fairy message. The ending was quite a funny one. I was glad that it didn’t go down a predictable route. Everything was brilliantly tied up and yet it was still left a little open in some respects.
However, there were a couple of minor issues. One main one was there didn’t seem to be enough tension in some of the situations. The danger at times didn’t seem that real. There should have been some really close encounters where the reader would’ve held their breath or perhaps some spectacular car chases. I also wish that as readers, we were given more detail and insight in to the training, rather than just getting snippets. Through these snippets, the brutality of the training didn’t quite come across.
Additionally, there was literally no character development at all. I felt completely neutral towards the protagonist. It can be speculated that this was done on purpose. After all he is a spy and that brings its own connotations of not betraying emotion, being secretive etc.
Overall, I immensely enjoyed this book despite some of its flaws. It was incredibly written with a fast plot that was maintained throughout the course of the book coupled with a brilliant message.