About Books #121: I Am Pilgrim

Well, would you look at that? I’m reviewing a book that wasn’t an ARC. Will miracles never cease? And what’s more – I’m reviewing a book that’s about as far outside of the realm of my “comfort-reading” as it’s possible to go. I mean – romance and mush to thriller? Not really the most expected transition, is it? But what an experience it’s been, to read I Am Pilgrim!

The story

A breakneck race against time…and an implacable enemy.

An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey. Pilgrim.’

The opinion

C – characters
A – atmosphere
W – writing
P – plot
I – intrigue
L – logic
E – enjoyment

Look, this might seem like a bit of an exaggeration? But I really could not stand the main character, Pilgrim. Imagine the most cliché white guy, all hypocritical-Christian-values, America-is-the-greatest, “I am better than thou”-attitude thinking he can get away with anything and everything? Whomever you’re thinking of, they’re probably still more enjoyable as a person than Pilgrim was.

Which kind of sucked, let’s be honest, because just about every other character in this big chunk of a book? I really enjoyed. The Saracen especially, villain though he may have been portrayed as, had so much depth, such ingenuity… And sure, I’ve been know to root for the anti-hero, but even that’s too nice a descriptor for someone who’s willing to make the entire world sick, because of vengeance against the USA.

I actually had similarly complicated feelings towards most of the story – because, sure, it was such a quick read, written so well… But the actual plot? Kind of made me want to throw the book into a wall. Multiple times. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m, you know, not American… But even so: the extent to which this read at times more like propaganda than like an actual book? Not quite okay with me.

As I mentioned before: my favourite thing about this book was probably the writing – regardless of the ideology and the prejudices basically jumping at you from every page, Terry Hayes’ style grabbed me from page one. And spoken as someone who’s usually deterred just by the fact that a story is written from a first-person-perspective? That should really tell you something. Did the writing way up against the actual story, though? No. I could’ve lived with the size of Pilgrim’s ego, if only he hadn’t needed to vilify anyone “other” to allow enough room for it.

The rating: 2/5

I’m torn on this one – I kind of want to recommend it, because I Am Pilgrim did make for an entertaining read. Keep in mind, though, that – if you’re not quite that much of the patriotic-conviction? You might have to take some prejudice, annoyance, and in-your-face-‘Murica with it. (Goodreads)


Walking Through The Pages - About Books: I Am Pilgrim - A Book Review