On the art of persuasion

Lexicon - Max Barry

I liked how Lexicon touched on the power of words and our responses them to them. In this novel, a character is tested and trained as a 'poet' to coerce people through distinctive verbal and/or behavioural cues. The competitive, grim and isolated nature of the Academy reminded me of the school in Lev Grossman's The Magicians.


Lexicon looks at the different levels of persuasion. It's a sci-fi thriller that starts off with two separate storylines which eventually converge as the story unravels. The opening of the novel has an good grip on the reader but some of the longer character conversations occasionally slowed down the pacing. Many of the characters are flawed so they can be unlikeable at times but it suited the tone of the genre. 


I found that I was intrigued by the secondary repressed characters towards the end. Perhaps that's why I preferred the grim climax over the epilogue.


This was the first time I'd come across the term neurolinguistics. I'd like to read more about the topic. Kudos to the agents/poets with code-names like Bronte, Eliot, Woolf, Dickinson etc.


I don't read many thrillers but Lexicon's themes of control and power reminded me of the TV shows Alias, Dollhouse, the anime Code Geass and the film Read or Die.


*As for any trigger warnings - there are 3 trigger scenes that I recall E.g.  the test in chapter 2.