Book Club Review – Lexicon by Max Berry


So for the month of December, it was my turn to pick the book club book, and I picked Lexicon by Max Berry. Here’s the synopsis….

‘Sticks and stones break bones.

Words kill.

They recruited Emily from the streets. They said it was because she’s good with words. They’ll live to regret it.

Wil survived something he shouldn’t have. But he doesn’t remember it.

Now they’re after him and he doesn’t know why.

There’s a word, they say. It shouldn’t have got out. But it did.

And they want it back…


When it’s my turn to pick the book, I try and go with a choice that’s different, something that is unlike anything we’ve previously read. This book definitely ticked those boxes.

Lexicon has such a unique premise and plot that, for me, is completely different to anything I’ve ever read. It’s a gripping thriller with a mild sci fi theme, an action packed adventure from cover to cover and there’s even a little romance sprinkled throughout.

The execution of the story was a little confusing at times, as the author jumps us back and forth through time until the timelines eventually meet at the same point. To start with it felt clear who’s perspective we were reading from and from which timeline, but towards the end of the book, this wasn’t so obvious.

Although the themes of the story were sometimes quite ‘sciencey’, it was not difficult to read and understand, and I sped through the novel quite smoothly and quickly.

The characters were all very unique and crafted well, warts and all, and much like real life, there wasn’t a clear ‘good guy’, but there were several bad guys.  I connected well to Emily, the female lead in this book, I liked that her background was a tough one, yet there she was doing the best with what she had and grabbing onto an opportunity no matter how ‘Too good to be true’ it felt. She went through quite a tough old time, made some silly mistakes and some hard decisions.

Now for all the great and positive things I have to say about this book, I do have one thing that let me down, and that was the ending. It fell a bit flat to be honest. I wanted more. Up to maybe the last few pages, I was loving the story but the ending was not on par with the rest of the story.

Overall, I’m really glad I picked this one, I really liked it and will try and seek out similar books to read in the future and maybe check out some of the authors other works.

I had no preconceptions going into this book – I didn’t even really know what it was about, which is quite a nice change (I’m a sucker for reading reviews before reading the actual story!) It took me a while to figure out how I felt about it once I’d finished, but I’ve decided I definitely liked it. What I haven’t decided is why. The plot was fast paced and full of action, but everyone seemed to be a baddy which made it difficult for me to care about the outcome. I really liked the environment the story was set in; the cities felt alive and the scenes in Australia were really descriptive – you really get the sense of how hot, dry and barren Broken Hill is.
I was worried it would get a bit Sci-Fi, but the author keeps it straightforward – it felt more magical than (to use Hazel’s word) sciencey in places, with words acting like spells to persuade, manipulate and empower.
A great choice for a Book Club read – we had a good chat about it and it raised quite a few questions. I gave it 4 stars ****



I wasn’t really sure how I felt about this book when I’d finished it. To be honest I still don’t. I enjoyed that it was something different, and once I got into the story I did want to keep reading. I think I was expecting something else from the blurb, and that might be why I can’t reconcile my thoughts. What I most enjoyed about the story was that it made you look at the world in more detail, and actually pay attention to things that we normally pass off as normal practice. Especially within the media. It had snippets from news papers and emails throughout to help aid the story, and I found that gave insight to things I hadn’t really thought of before. The characters all have their highs and lows, but I didn’t really like any of them.



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