• Wendy Wanner

Book Review: Gnosis by Rick Hall


Highly Recommended

What a wild ride! Urban fantasy goes parkour crazy.


From page one, I’m endeared to rebellious, self-possessed teenager Samantha Black. Her first-person narrative and stellar parkour moves whirl you across the city as she searches for her father’s murderer. For a YA novel, the story is set up with all the right ammo — a lovable, but flawed heroine and a mystery to solve. But it quickly morphs into so much more.


When Sam’s (the shortening of her name says it all!) worsening headaches land her in the hospital, her life flips upside down. Following a trail of lies and deceit, she uncovers a government conspiracy that has not only kept tabs on her for years but labeled her dangerous to the country. Why? Because they infected her with a virus that’s taken on a life and will of its own.


Enter Alexander, a charming manifestation of Sam’s mind. As she comes to accept and love this sentient virus, we watch Alexander grow from a naïve little boy into a quick-witted, honest youngster who has some hilarious mishaps along the way! The interaction between Alexander and other characters’ viruses is a flair of inspiration by Hall and adds another dimension to the plot. Ingenious!


My favorite character was Melvin, the grouchy, retired Israeli soldier. I’d want him on my side any day! As much as I loved Sam, the story wouldn’t be realistic for her to accomplish what she did on her own, well, with only Alexander’s help. Melvin and the other supporting cast round out the story and strengthen the credibility of the plot as Sam is pursued by the secret, ruthless government agency.


Let's talk voice. First-time author or not, Hall's writing grips. With smooth sentence flow, vivid descriptions and witty dialogue, Gnosis was a pleasure to read. Evoking emotions comes easy to this author, and whether it was fear, anger, determination or love and pride, I experienced it all along with the characters.


Overall, a fantastic first novel. Good plot, solid writing, unforgettable characters and invigorating action to blend it all together.

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