An 18-year-old boy doesn't want the phenomenal cosmic power that's turning him into an out-of-control killing machine in this trilogy's middle volume.
Since his capture at the conclusion of Wordless (2014), Tavin has been a prisoner—albeit one kept in luxury—of the Godspeakers. Forced to bear the awesome responsibility of the Word of Death, Tavin wants only to avoid hurting people with the murderous impulses boiling under his skin. His sadistic and manipulative keepers, however, intent on molding him into a killer, force him to gruesomely, though not gratuitously, torture and murder an endless parade of fuzzy animals. Tavin must escape the Godspeakers and their sinister plot to conquer the world, but he and the other adolescent Words are under constant surveillance. Even if he escapes and finds Khaya, the beautiful Word of Life whose escape precipitated Tavin into this life of terrible luxury, can the Word of Death ever be loved by his polar opposite? With the help of the other Words (all thinly characterized if quite likable), Tavin must escape or become the world's most dangerous weapon. Worldbuilding shows its seams: a technologically advanced society relies on the whims of children; generations of cross-national breeding seems always to produce Words who exhibit exactly the most superficial stereotypes of one parent's ethnicity.
Fans of action-packed dystopias will enjoy Tavin's attempts not to lose himself in the ferocity of his power, and they will stay tuned for Volume 3 and its likely romantic angst. (Science fiction. 14-17)