The Hangman's Revolution: W.A.R.P., Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Hangman's Revolution: W.A.R.P., Book 2 Book Poster Image
Time-travel series by Artemis Fowl author stays amazing.

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age 13+
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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Most of the story takes place in Victorian London and includes plenty about the time period, especially descriptions of neighborhoods and the lives of those in criminal gangs and slums. A few literary references from Treasure Island and the works of Charles Dickens, plus talk of the highwayman Dick Turpin and Michelangelo's Pieta. Readers will learn more about the London sewer systems and the practice of "toshing" than they probably care to. Also, fun Victorian-era phrases and terms abound: "cop a squint," "toff," "cove," "costermonger." And, as with all books dealing with time travel, readers can think about its implications and some of the same what-ifs from this book. The crazy dictator talks about the role of extremist religious fervor as a control tactic.

Positive Messages

The No. 1 message of time-travel books always seems to be: Don't mess with time travel. Greedy, power-hungry souls will always find a way to profit from it. It's also easy to ponder the question what about our mad modern world is worth saving. If we could go back and stop the world wars I and II, would we and should we? What else would change then?

Positive Role Models & Representations

Chevie and Riley continue to be great main characters in this series. They're both clever and brave and always want to do what's right. Unlike the enemy, they make a point of not killing if they can help it. Also worth noting: Chevie is a Native American teen who embraces her heritage.


There are quite a few shooting deaths by machine gun, mostly with mentions of blood pooling, as well as explosions from grenades (some men are skewered with steel rods), small bombs, and rocket launchers. More disturbing, though, are the people swarmed and eaten by sewer rats and others who drown in sewage water, with much talk beforehand about just how much deadly disease is lurking in the Victorian-era sewers. In a flashback, a man recalls shooting and killing neighborhood pets and then his friend to see what it was like. A fistfight in a crowd takes out teeth. Chevie is drugged. A man mends his bloodied back with a poultice of maggots. Chevie mentions the violent deaths of her father and best friend, as well as an alternate future where she is set to be executed. Talk of much hanging, bombings, and torture in an alternate future. 


Adults kiss a few times.


Sprinklings of two types: modern variations of "hell" and "damn" and dated language in the form of ridiculous insults against Chevie by the bad guys: "hussy," "trollop," "wench," "circus tart," and "Injun princess."


Warriors of the alternate future are named Thundercats after the cartoon. Quick mentions of celebs such as Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Elton John. Plus The Hobbit, Oreos, and Harry Potter

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some Victorian London teens drink ale, a man drinks brandy, a Thundercat chews tobacco, a casual mention of opium dens, police smell of gin, Farley the butler is drunk most of the time, talk of female soldiers fed steroids their whole lives so they grow bigger (one complains to herself that it gave her a mustache). Riley (14 but raised in the slums of Victorian London) offers Chevie, 17, alcohol more than once, and she refuses because she wants a clear head.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Hangman's Revolution is the second time-travel novel in the fantastic W.A.R.P. series by the author of the bestselling Artemis Fowl books. Just as in Book 1, The Reluctant Assassin, the level of violence is best for kids already well versed in PG-13 action movies. Not only are there lots of gun deaths and explosions but also sewer rats that eat people alive and graphic fistfights. Language sticks to variations of "hell" and "damn," and plenty of drunk people wander Victorian London -- Figary the butler is drunk most of the time. Chevie and Riley continue to be equally resilient and smart main characters, making this the rare sci-fi read that will appeal both to boy and girl readers. 

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Teen, 15 years old Written byBiancadiangelo January 29, 2020

Better for older readers.

Older fans of the Artemis Fowl series would probably enjoy the W. A. R. P. books, but this series is a bit complicated. Anyways, a great sci-fi read!

What's the story?

In an alternate present, 17-year-old Chevie is in big trouble with her superiors at Boxite Youth Academy. She's hearing voices and having visions of her FBI agent self from the former present trying to tell her about a Timepod, its creator Professor Charles Smart, and some boy named Riley in the past. The alternative present is a dictatorship led by "blessed" Colonel Box. Box knows about the old Chevie, too, and knows it'd be dangerous if her FBI self came roaring back and suddenly knew all about him. Box used the very same FBI Timepod with a plot to take 21st-century weapons back to Victorian England and take over the world. It'd be bad news for him if Chevie found him out. With the help of two of his Thundercats -- steroid-fed warrior women from the Boxite academy -- Colonel Box sends Chevie to Professor Smart's house with an order to kill him. Chevie's pretty sure the Thundercats are ordered to kill her next. Luckily for her, Charles Smart lives up to his name. As soon as Chevie arrives with the Thundercats, he starts secretly booting up his Timepod. But, sadly, Smart is shot and killed by one of the Thundercats before the machine is ready and ends up sending Chevie and the Thundercats into the wormhole back to Victorian London instead. But all is not lost. As Chevie's two selves combine, suddenly her mission is crystal clear. She must be the one to find Colonel Box before he launches his revolution. To do that she'll need her old friend Riley's help, especially with two merciless Thundercats on her tail.

Is it any good?

Wading through the sewers is 100 percent worth it for this book's explosive, nail-biting ending.

Readers at the end of The Reluctant Assassin (spoiler alert for Book 1) had to be wondering how the series could go on without the deliciously evil Garrick. He was such a riveting and unforgettable bad guy. But, shockingly, in THE HANGMAN'S REVOLUTION you hardly miss him. Colonel Box and Farley, the hangman of the title, are both fantastic, power-hungry bad guys. And there's so much conniving and scheming between the fanatical Thundercats and the nefarious Rams gang, Chevie and Riley have their hands full trying to save the world from some pretty awful alternate present/future.

Most of the story takes place in Victorian London, and readers will find themselves totally immersed in that world, through the rich, playful language of the characters (Figary the butler and King Otto in particular) right down to the rich, powerful smells of the city and its sewers. Yes, just as in Book 1, readers will need pretty strong stomachs (wait until you find out what "toshing" is -- ew). Worth noting for families looking for books with diverse characters: Chevie is a Native American teen who embraces her heritage.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Chevie's two selves, in the present world at the beginning of Book 2 and the end of Book 1. How and why are they at war with each other? What do you think the present Chevie in Book 3 looks like?

  • Will you keep reading the W.A.R.P. series? Why, or why not? Have you read any other books about time travel? How do they differ? How are they the same? 

  • What have you learned about Victorian London in this series so far? Would you like to travel back in time, or would you prefer the sweeter-smelling present?

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