Disposable Asset by John Altman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Disposable Asset is a difficult book for me to review. I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for review. It had so many of the things I love in a book. There was a ton of action, a smart protagonist, who reads as extremely flawed, and real and a decent story line. Disposable Asset is the story of a teenage girl that is homeless and taken from the streets and trained as a government asset. This in itself is problematic because she is, in essence, a child. It is bad enough that she is homeless and felt she had no other options but to live on the streets after having such a wonderful background. Terrible circumstances combined to see her living the life of a homeless teenager. This is a life that is dangerous for adults so having a teenager living through it alone is very hard to digest and consider that this actually is happening in real life. But, this gritty part of the book is one of the things that make the story stand out.
Cassie is sent out on what appears to be her first assignment that is successful but, the assignment itself appears to have been extremely controversial. Cassie was betrayed and as she realizes it she is chased by multiple dangerous groups across Russia. This part of the story depicts how skilled she is and how great her instincts are as an asset. Despite her age she is highly aware of how her opponents might think and can respond quickly. She also has the ability to plan quickly and use everyday items to her advantage. This makes the book very exciting and has you cheering for Cassie at the same time you start to dislike her character for what she does to survive. It reads as almost barbaric but, the huge question the reader has to ask themselves is what were her other options given what capture would mean to her, barbaric torture and even possibly death. So, the reader is put into this conundrum of not knowing how to feel about Cassie, especially as she uses innocent people, some more innocent than others, to try and survive. It has to be instinct but part of what makes the reader challenged in their feelings for Cassie is being in tune with her thoughts. But, her trainer took her from the streets because he expected her to be tough and the reader does not truly know if what Cassie is told about her father is the truth. But, one thing we know is that Cassie is a perfect example of being a product of her environment and how circumstances can change a person. The reader is privy to her memories of when she had her parents in her life and the drastic shift in which she has become is something the reader gets to witness. The story definitely is all shadows with no light ever shown, but, I will have to follow, despite all of the darkness I have to see what happens to Cassie.
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