When talking about the action thriller genre, it would be wrong to talk about some of the greats of the game without talking about Vince Flynn and his Mitch Rapp books. American Assassin is technically a prequel that has since gone to become accepted as the first in the book series. It introduces us to a very talented but flawed character whose job it becomes to hunt down some of the most dangerous people in the world.
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American Assassin was actually written 11 years after the original Mitch Rapp book after Vince Flynn decided he wanted to give everybody the origin story of Mitch Rapp and we’re very glad that he did as he introduces us to a brilliantly talented but ultimately flawed character whose physical ability is let down by his young age and mental instability to begin with.
American Assassin plot – 4/5
In American Assassin, Mitch Rapp, is a promising university graduate who is scouted by Irene Kennedy for an off-the-records secret intelligence team of very dangerous people. Nine months of training sees Rapp show his incredible ability to pick up new things and quickly master them and his phenomenal natural athleticism. However, along the way he also shows he has a hot head and quite a dark history that means he may not be as reliable as Kennedy had first hoped.
The plot for American Assassin is one that takes through through, essentially, two stories. The first is the aforementioned story of Rapp’s rise from young, inexperienced university graduate to lethal killing machine. And the other follows Rapp’s first mission afterwards and the struggles he goes through competing with his mental state. I much preferred the initial storyline as I love a good origin story – especially when it’s about someone with exceptional above-standard abilities in something.
However, overall nothing about the plot blew me away. It was a solid story that clearly had an intention and when you’ve already written a few of the books that offer as the now-sequels to this book, you have to be smart in how to structure the character and the plot to ensure you’re not creating plotholes. Luckily Flynn does a good job here for giving us a story that offers enough to not make it feel empty but not too much where you might start asking questions later on in the series.
American Assassin characters – 3/5
Something that often suffers when it comes to the action genre is the characters. It’s very difficult to tell a story about men and women who have suffered hardships, who have to take on very serious roles and yet still have enough personality to earn themselves anything other than a three in my books.
Unfortunately, American Assassin suffers from this a tad. Not to say the characters are dull, but there’s nobody particularly within the book that stood out to me s someone I’m excited to keep reading about. As we all know, you’ve got to either grab my heart or my funny bone to be considered a worthy character in my books and unfortunately none of the characters do this in American Asssassin.
American Assassin summary – 4/5
American Assassin is a great first entry into the Mitch Rapp series. Some may argue that I’m not reviewing the right book if I want to be reviewing the first book. However, it has now been accepted by both Flynn and fans that this is the first book in the series.
With a great plot, some fantastic action scenes but some characters that predictably let down the overall score due to the genre, American Assassin is as strong as many of its rivals and eases you into one of the most successful action thriller series of all time.