I build levers to move objects that appear to be immovable. With no heart and immunity to cancer, Alexei Drovosek represents the next evolution of human. As an orphan in post-Soviet Russia, Alexei was raised by the state and trained to be its most effective killer. But eventually the Russian Federal Security Service's best assassin did the most dangerous thing of all: he went rogue and disappeared. In the bleak, high-tech near future, Alexei has resurfaced in a secret compound on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Nearby is the soaring headquarters of Pearl Knight Industries, an international mega-corporation whose power is beyond the reach of the law. Alexei's closest companions are his personal AI, Emma, and a group of orphans he has spent years training. But Alexei isn't fostering these children as a favor to the state; he's raising them with the hope that they will destroy it. As he moves each child into play in the world's highest-stakes game of chess, Alexei fights for what matters most: democracy and freedom.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I pre-ordered Kingmaker because the blurb sounded really good. The premise is very intriguing and only a slight distortion of the world as it is. The whole idea of the U.S. as a psuedo-democracy plays on recent events, whether this was intentional or not I've no idea, but it makes the story more relevant and relatable.
The main character Alexei is an orphan without a heart, in it's place is a mechanical pump which runs silently, allowing Alexei to play dead. This apparently was very useful to him when he was a Soviet assassin, lying among bodies to get closer to his targets or bypass security. He does this exactly once as part of the narrative, making the whole heart pump more of a gimmick and possibly a metaphor, but not one that's terribly obvious. Alexei escapes Russia, having amassed unlimited wealth (we find out right at the end how he did it and it's not implausible, I enjoyed that particular moment - it made me smile), he travels to the U.S. showing us his assassin...
I originally gave this book four stars, but it's been growing on me and I'm changing my review. Initially I struggled with the book because the chapters were not in chronological order and it was confusing to try to figure out what was going on, but things start to straighten out in the second half and it leads to a conclusion that I found very satisfying. The plot was clever and the structure of the book creative, so I'm glad that I read it even if it meant that I had to suffer through a little bit of confusion and boredom before things started to clear up.
Kingmaker by Christian Cantrell is a near-future novel about a rogue Russian assassin named Alexei who is raising a facility of orphans to be instruments of world change. Alexei uses a secret compound near Los Angeles to house these orphans, and with the help of many instructors and caregivers, is able to strategically release the trained orphans in places where they can apply the right force. While I believe that the book was primarily a sociopolitical drama, there was plenty of science fiction present as well. I have been a fan of Christian Cantrell books for a few years now, and I really wanted to read this book.
Alexei came across as a character that I could empathize with, though I was not too keen on his methods. As we are not perfect as humans, his flaws lent credibility to him for me. I enjoyed reading parts of the book which featured the female lead, Hyun Ki. She was definitely my favorite character. I was happy that the plot twists and reveals were not...
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