Hip Scouts | 10 August 2010 | Various

LittleBrown sometimes send out advances copies of books to a team of teenage readers, known as Hip Scouts. These guys read the books, then respond with their comments and thoughts. Below are the reviews submitted by teenaged Hip Scouts who read The Thin Executioner.


The Thin Executioner is part epic adventure, part gore-fest, part inspiring life lesson, and a must-read no matter how you look at it. Though the story starts out a bit rough, and you might find yourself disliking the main character, the tale progresses with a life of its own until you've not only fallen for the plot, but for the reluctant hero in Jebel. Based off the beloved classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, this book will captivate any who read it. The only warning for the amazing book would be: the ending may move you to tears. 5/5
-Sequoia, 14


This daunting 500 page book was a great coming-of-age story that touched a little bit of everything from slavery to social standings, religion, trust, and most importantly, friendship. After my initial reluctance to read such a thick book, I quickly became absorbed in Jebel Rum's exciting adventure and just had to finish reading the book to see how his character grew and matured along his journey.
-Michelle, 18


The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan truly delivers! It is a dark thrill ride through the life of Jebel Rum. Shan weaves this dark masterpiece together wonderfully. Any fan of this author must read this! It captures the evil of people perfectly and shows how a person can rise against society and former teachings to come into their own. The Thin Executioner carries a great message, but still gives the reader a taste of bitter darkness.
-Jeff, 17


The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan was an incredible adventure into another world. I couldn't put this book down for a second. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for an exciting and fast paced story.
-Caroline, 14


The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan was pretty good, and I finished it in one day. I couldn't put it down. It was a great adventure book that helped kick off my summer reading schedule. I must admit when I got the book I was a little intimidated by the size of it (483 pages), but it was a nice quick read. The overall story was good, and I loved all of the different cultures and creatures that Shan created.
-Maria, 18


The Thin Executioner was a wonderful coming of age story. It had lots of twists and turns and a surprise ending that I loved!
-Bella, 15


This book was really intriguing. When I first saw what it was based on, I laughed. When I started to get into it, the story really captured my attention. Everyone who liked Huckleberry Finn should give this book a chance! It's full of twists and turns and is quite the read!
-Maggie, 17


A thrilling tale of a race for life--and death--The Thin Executioner will keep anyone on the edge of their seat! Shan takes readers to a primitive, yet refined world, in which brawn is prized above all. Can one small boy survive in such a wonderful and terrible world? I would recommend this for ages 13 and up.
-Alexandra, 16


The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan is a suspenseful story of a man looking to prove himself to his people, but ends up searching for who he really is. This book is full of twists, which kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. I could barely put the book down. Darren Shan fans will definitely eat up this story, as well as those who have not read Shan's other works. The story's end left me feeling speechless. This book is great!
- Nathan, 13


The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan has a common storyline; an adventurer getting swept away from his original goal, meeting many challenges along the way with a companion. I’d have to say that it is a very predictable story and I thought that I wouldn’t like it because I have seen the plot before. This was certainly not the case. Shan’s thrilling tale of a young boy named Jebel striving to be at the top when the whole world is against him is amazing. I got caught up in the tale of Jebel and his loyal slave making their way up to the mountain where a god rests, granting invincibility to those who make a sacrifice. You can almost tell from the plot summary how this story will go. They will face many trials along the way; they will develop a friendship, and the boy will have to make the choice whether or not to kill his trusty companion who had been there for him through his journey. This was an exciting book that I found to be very well written and not at all another boring book following a common, over-used plot like I thought it would be. I would recommend looking at the map in the beginning, because I didn’t see the map when I first started the book and had a really hard time comprehending how far they were actually traveling, and how immense their journey was.
-Raquel, 16


The author’s style from his other series, such as The Demonata, still has its hold. The portraying of the main character’s slowly changing emotions is realistic enough for anyone to believe that the world does actually exist. All I can say to the author is, I wouldn't mind a sequel.
-Mara, 13


The Thin Executioner was a pleasant surprise for me. I've read Darren Shan's work before and, while I can see the appeal, and certainly don't begrudge him his vampires, and general macabre feel, it just isn't my cup of tea. Now, that is not to say that the book isn't creepy, it was just counter balanced by a pretty good story. The pace of which was refreshingly quick and crisp. After finishing this book, I feel that Darren Shan has begun to open the door to a wider world for himself. His work is becoming more complex. Also, one thing about the book that I particularly enjoyed was finding the similarities to Huckleberry Finn.
-Katie, 18


This book was not what I expected. Filled with amazing details that bring it to life, The Thin Executioner turned out to be a thrilling book. It was dark, of course, it dealt with executions and suicide cults, but it also had an engaging story line that I enjoyed following. I didn't have much free time, but I always made time for this book. The author did a great job of describing the characters and a setting in which I'm not accustomed to, and now I feel more cultured in a way.
-Calin, 20


What struck me most about Darren Shan's The Thin Executioner was its originality. The main character's situation--snobby ignoramus slowly realizes the error of his mentality--is not new in and of itself, but the way in which the novel blooms and develops and twists--that is, unexpectedly and always deliciously--makes the book not only a good read but also a splendid experience. Author Shan has truly crafted a world to which a reader can eagerly escape: a world that is an off-beat amalgamation of medieval savagery, modern exploit, and universal thought. I, the reader, in fact, find myself vacillating between two realms at once while on this fantastic, literary journey; I am living in some ancient time as Jebel and his slave-turned-friend travel in the pursuit of glory, and then, in the blink of an eye, I am transported to contemporary-novel mode when Jebel relishes in his village parties and flirts with the girls around him.
Another point I'd like to mention is Shan's wonderful style. On top of mastering the art of world-making--an art that many YA authors today fail at--, Shan has also made very correct decisions. He has picked names for his characters that adhere to their personalities and their world and that draw attention to them. The Thin Executioner is, alone, enough to catch readers' eyes and pique their interest. There is no doubt that this novel is a promising one, and I am so glad to have had the opportunity to read it in advance! It has given me great relief: there's still hope in today's YA literature! It hasn't all yet succumbed to the mainstream media (vampire romances, for example.)
-Lilly, 16


Darren Shan’s latest novel, The Thin Executioner, has certainly lived up to Shan’s reputation as a leader in YA horror. Shan create a colorful if dysfunctional new world for readers to immerse themselves in, weaving a complex and exciting plot around an interesting cast of characters. The Thin Executioner kept me turning pages all the way through, a fascinating and fun story, spotted with Shan’s signature dark humor. This is a whole new brand of coming-of-age.
-Rose, 18


I've always been a fan of Darren Shan's novels; when I was younger I loved reading his Cirque Du Freak series after having graduated from R.L. Stine's Goosebumps. I was expecting a similar thrilling, dark, and somewhat gruesome tale when I first picked up The Thin Executioner. It was definitely all of those things, but it wasn't similar to previous Darren Shan novels I'd read. The Thin Executioner was dark, thrilling, somewhat gruesome, yes; but it was also deeper than that. The tale of Jebel's shame and search for power was a well-paced ride which captivated me; the conversations between Jebel and his slave stayed with me even after I closed the book. The chilling themes of cult and religion fascinated me. The denouement of the novel was unexpected, welcome, but also interestingly precluded; as Jebel's fury and indignation cooled, so did the reader's, and his uncertainty was shared. Jebel was a very relatable character with whom I empathized instantly. Shan's novel provides all of the thrill and entertainment of his previous works with a more adult and meaningful theme: the competing values of revenge and peace.
-Jessica, 16

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