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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Am Pilgrim: A Novel

I have some insanely crazy news--this here marks 500 posts. You read that number right. Isn't that crazy? I owe a big thank you to all of you, my readers, who come back again and again. I considered doing a "Best Of" post today, but instead I decided to do my thing and give you a book post. The book I have chosen, which I read this summer and have been sitting on the review, is the best I have ever read. Hands down. I was about a third of the way through when I announced to my family (we were on vacation): This is the best book I have ever read. Needless to say, the other two-thirds just confirmed it. Ladies and jellybeans--Sassy Peach Reads' 500th post. xx

One of the hottest books earlier this summer was Terry Hayes's I Am Pilgrim. Seriously. At BEA I asked around for the best book to grab, and it was consistently this one. I happened to miss the signing. I died a little inside. Then I just happened to be by the publisher's booth as they were giving out the last few copies. I grabbed one like a starving child eyeing a peanut butter sandwich.

He has been all over the world and solved crimes you never knew happened. He wrote the book on forensics--literally. He is the world's best trained operative, and he has no name. In fact, he doesn't even exist. That is, until he becomes code name Pilgrim and is sent by the President of the United States to figure out how to stop the greatest threat to American existence, a plot decades in the making. While he is at it, he should also solve the murder of a young woman found in a seedy, downtown NYC hotel room with no face, no fingerprints, and no name--all points taken from his book. How it all comes together will be enough to make you want to join the CIA yourself.

Yeah, it sounds like a super complicated plot, and it most definitely is. Only I didn't care when I was reading it. I was so face-planted in the book that I would have followed it anywhere. I was on vacation with my family and I ignored movies playing in the background and my mother talking to me. None of that mattered. I only wanted to find out where this was going next. I have also never been so patient with a book. This was one where I just had a gut feeling it was going to be spectacular based on the first few chapters. Hayes had my hook, line, and sinker with the opening chapter, the murder of the young woman in NYC so bizarre it was real.

The truth is that Hayes had me the whole time. He created compelling characters that were human and superhuman all at the same time; while in reality they may not have been super realistic, they come up off the page as fully-formed and ready to rumble. This book would make one hell of a miniseries, but I hope that no one is going to turn it in to a movie, because there is so much nuance and detail that it is mind-blowing. My mom peeked over my shoulder in the car (because yes, I read this book everywhere!) during one particularly gruesome scene and now all she can talk about it the-book-about-that-scene. (I won't actually say what it is because it is so shocking that it would absolutely ruin that small section--and I want nothing ruined for you about this book.) I was entranced by Pilgrim, obsessed with the Saracen, and I was only able to put this book down because I knew I was in it for the long haul.

This book is absolutely brilliant. Beyond amazing. This is the book that I will read again because I want to learn something new about it. The story was spellbinding, and the way that Hayes was able to weave together two such disparate plots, and then bring them back together again, was mesmerizing. This book took me all over the world, and I made Pilgrim's decisions with him and cheered when he had good luck. I would recommend this book over and over and over again with no qualms about my unabashed love for it. Hayes is incredible, and I anxiously await his next novel.

Hard copy for purchase below.

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