Posts Tagged 'spy'

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  465

Kaz Brekker has been through a lot in his young life and has grown tougher because of it.  He has worked his way up to running his own gang, the Dregs, and always seems to be one step ahead of his enemies.  One day he receives an interesting proposal from a government official: to break something out of an impenetrable prison for an absurd amount of money.  The truth is that Kaz does not think this job is possible, but that amount of money could allow him and his crew to truly start fresh which is a luxury none of them ever expected.  So, he builds his crew which includes a sharpshooter, a wrongfully convicted convict, a mysterious runaway, an escape artist, a spy, and a heartrender ( who can manipulate emotions).  The plan is full of danger and challenges, but none of these people have ever backed down from a challenge simply because they’ve had to do whatever it takes to survive.  Can they succeed where so many others would dare not even try?

A heist plot in such a unique setting makes this book a lot of fun.  The characters are well developed and intriguing all at the same time.  Despite their distrust for everyone and everything, this crew finds they can depend on each other when they need to and that’s something many of them have been looking their whole lives for.  The heist adventure itself is exciting and full of twists and narrow escapes.  Recommended for fantasy and mystery lovers.

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

princess spy

Genre:  Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  293

RAC:  Yes

Margaretha lives on her father’s estate in Germany and knows she must choose a suitor to marry soon.  When a man named Claybrook comes and begins to woo her she thinks he might be the one, but then an injured man is brought to the healer’s cottage from England.  She is one of the few people around who knows English and she translates what he’s saying.  He followed a man named Claybrook from England in order to make him pay for murdering a young girl, but instead Claybrook’s men beat him and left him for dead in the street.  Margaretha is unsure who to believe, but decides to spy on Claybrook and learns he is plotting to murder her father and take over his estate.  Can she save her family and her family’s land without alerting the wrong people to the threat?  Does she know whom she can trust?  Is she equipped for such a venture?

This is a fun, fast paced adventure story in which Margaretha and her new companion from England try to save her family from a very miserable future in which they are pushed out of their own land by sheer force and violence.  There are many twists in the plot as Claybrook tends to be one step ahead of them at all times.  Many of the characters lack depth, but they do not need to be over developed since the plot rests mainly on Margaretha and her English gentleman.  Fans of other period stories like The Selection and The Queen of Someday will enjoy this title.

Agent Colt Shore by Axel Avian

About Agent Colt Shore Domino 29

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Adventure

# of Pages:  368

RAC:  Yes

Colt Shore grew up attending an elite private school where he was trained in many skills required of a spy, but he always intended to enter the profession as an information person and never as a field agent.  He also grew up believing his parents had him after their first beloved child died, which always left him feeling left out.  He is quite surprised to learn that who he believes to be his parents are actually his grandparents and his dad was actually a spy killed in the line of duty.  His mother is still an active agent and introduces him to spy headquarters.  When he is asked to help out with a mission, his mother argues against it, but does not stand in his way.  He finds that the mission is simply too good to resist, but once he gets in the field he must learn quickly how to make decisions as the mission morphs into something much bigger than he signed on for.

The evolution of this mission is done so in a way that seems logical, although there does tend to be a lack of fear on the part of Colt and the person he is trying to protect.  The action sequences are well written and adequately describe how Colt manages to get from one tough situation to another.  He does have luck on his side in a few instances but not in an unbelievable way.  Colt’s personality engages the reader from the beginning and many will want to follow his adventures for many books to come.  Highly recommended for fans of spy novels and reluctant readers.

The Agency: a spy in the house by Y.S. Lee

a spy in the house

Genre:  Mystery/Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  335

RAC:  Yes

This title was recently named to the Iowa High School Award Winners for 2013-2014.  The first in this series, Mary is rescued from a death sentence for stealing in 1853 by a woman who runs a special school for young girls.  After many years of schooling, Mary is taken into a special program designed to turn young women into spies.  Her first assignment is to be the paid companion of a wealthy teenage girl who is ungrateful for the company at best.  As Mary enters the house she is supposed to keep her ears open for information about the family business and whether or not they are really suffering from as many lost ships as they claim, but in the end she overhears much more than that.  She also meets another spy trying to dig up information on this family.  Will he be a threat or an ally?  Can Mary perfect her spying skills in order to become a permanent fixture in this alliance?

Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this title because it is set in a unique time period while also including intrigue and mystery.  The story moves fairly quickly and the ending is exciting.  The final revelation of who is behind the lost ships is surprising, but also a bit confusing in the details for some young readers.  Mary’s background is touched on, but readers will look for more to be revealed in the future sequels.

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

Genre:  Futuristic Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  295

RAC:  Yes

Before the book starts there are many days of environmental disasters in a row that leaves England struggling to survive and unable to reach anyone outside of their country.  Months later, Eliza is horrified as a child when she witnesses her mother, the Queen of England, being poisoned to death.  Years later, there are rumors that a ruthless dictator is plotting to overthrow her father and crown himself King.  Her father assures her that everything is fine, but there is an elaborate attack on Buckingham Palace that leaves Eliza’s father dead and her brother and sister captured.  Eliza manages to escape, but must then decide how to proceed.  Should she run for her life?  Should she stand and fight?  There is a handsome reward out for her capture because once the dictator catches all three of the children he plans to have a very public execution so that there will be no confusion as to whether or not there are any rightful heirs out there.

Eliza encounters many dangerous situations trying to find out information about her brother and sister and often things do not go her way.  This heroine faces some serious struggles and is even tortured at times.  The villain is particularly evil, but is not in the story that much.  Fans of futuristic stories will like this one, but need to be prepared for violence and frustration at times.  The story is open for a possibility of a sequel, but doesn’t necessarily require one.

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  309

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to Glow, Waverly and Kieran are still on the space vessel the Empyrean while trying to lead the other kids on board and plan an attack against The New Horizon for kidnapping their parents.  Kieran has self-appointed himself to the position of captain, which grates on some of the younger kids after what they went through with Seth.  Seth, meanwhile, is in the brig and feeling bad about what he has done.  One day he wakes up and the door to his cell is open.  He walks out, but cannot help feeling like it is a trap.   Kieran is still very afraid of Seth after what happened in the last book and tries to blame everything he can on the face that he escaped.  Seth did not have anything to do with the mysterious goings on on board, but then who did?  It seems unlikely any of these children would want to hurt their own ship or those on it.  Can Waverly assert her power as a leader on this ship?  Can Kieran hold onto his power without abuing it?

The only thing I did not like about this book was that it ended too quickly and there is an entire year before the next one comes out.  Glow was one of my favorite books of the year.  These young teens have to think on a whole new level now that they are in charge of a entire vessel and the pressure starts to get to all of them.  Facts start coming out about what happened before the New Horizon’s attack on the Empyrean and it is easy for readers to see how the characters got to this position, but you can’t help feel for these young people who have suffered so much because of decisions the leaders of these ships made.  It really makes you think about the decisions any leader of a nation has and how those decisions affect generations to come.  This book was full of action and adventure, but it goes quickly and will leave fans hungry for more.

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  294

RAC Book:  Yes

Cammie Morgan is back in this Gallagher Girls book and this time she has no memory of where she spent her summer. She wakes up in a remote convent and must find her way back to her family and friends who have been looking for her for months. As Cammie begins to piece together what happened to her she realizes that she may have chosen to forget what she learned because the truth was too hard to deal with. Will she ever get answers as to why the Order is chasing her? Will she ever find out what happened to her father?

Cammie does learn some answers in this book, but these are revealed to her along with the reader as she retraces her steps. It is fun for the reader to learn Cammie’s past along with her. The characters all seem to develop further in this book, which is impressive because it is not terribly long. There are also a few fun surprises that fans of the series will love.

Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  359

RAC Book:  Yes

Digger lives as a thief and a spy, but when her partner is killed by the King’s police she must go into hiding so that she does not meet the same fate.  She becomes Celyn, a lady-in-waiting, to a family that is going to a remote castle for the winter.  Digger believes this will be the perfect getaway from the city, but when she gets there finds that one of the guests, Lord Daul, knows her true identity and threatens to reveal it unless she becomes a spy for him.  As Celyn begins snooping around the castle looking for clues she finds much more than she expected and must decide whom she should trust.

Starcrossed begins a bit slow and will frustrate some fantasy readers because fantasy elements are not as prominent as they are in some other books.  However, the plot in this story carries many twists and turns that will keep readers wanting to know more about the people who have come together in this castle for the winter.  Celyn, Lady Merista, and many other characters continue to grow and develop until it seems like the reader actually knows them.  Fans of Graceling will want to check this one out.

The Devil’s Breath by David Gilman

Genre:  Adventure/Mystery

# of Pages:  389

RAC:  Yes

Max Gordon is attacked by an assassin one day at his private school and barely escapes with his life.  Then, he finds out his father has gone missing where he is working in Africa.  Max feels his father may have discovered something in his work that has put both of them in danger so he sets out to rescue him.  Along the way, he meets with further danger, both man made and nature made.  He is greeted in Africa by a young pilot who helped get him the last known message from his father.  She introduces him to a young bushman who wants to help him see his journey through.  Can Max survive such difficult terrain and exterior threats to learn the truth about his father’s disappearance?

This story is fast paced, energetic, and unpredictable.  Max’s journey has so many obstacles and dangers that it almost seems impossible that he could ever survive.  The plot is very intricate and takes some unusual turns that readers will not have seen before.  The introduction of the bushmen culture was done very well and will help inform young readers about this group of people.  This is one that sat on my “to read” list for awhile and I wish I had gotten to it sooner because many readers will enjoy this, but especially boys.  Readers who enjoy espionage books or adventure stories like Klass’s Firestorm will devour this book and want more.

 

 

 

Cherub: The Dealer by Robert Muchamore

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Spy Novel

# of Pages:  308

RAC Book:  Yes

James is back in this sequel as a twelve year old secret agent in CHERUB.  He begins the story by failing a training exercise and must face some rigorous training in order to earn some respect back from his fellow agents.  When he is asked to join a mission with three other teens he is eager and ready to go again.  Their mission is to befriend the children of a notorious drug dealer.  He ends up making friends with Junior, the boy his own age, pretty quickly and becomes one of the best inside informants.  As the others try to find information on the drug ring itself, James is offered the chance to deliver cocaine for cash.  He takes the opportunity to try and learn more about the inner workings of the organization, but quickly wonders if he has gotten in over his head.  Can James and his friends escape this mission unscathed?

This sequel is every bit as fun and exciting as the first.  James’ mission is dangerous, exciting, and believable as an important mission for any country to be focusing so many prime resources on.  The book is fast paced and the facts are revealed in a timely manner.  Fans of spy books such as The Sleeper Code will enjoy this title.

Cherub: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Adventure

# of Pages:  345

RAC:  Yes

After James becomes an orphan and his sister is taken away, he has to live in a group home and cannot seem to keep out of trouble.  One day James wakes up in a totally new environment and learns that he has the chance to train to become a child spy for the organization called CHERUB.  This organization has been around for decades and uses children because no one suspects children of being spies.  James must endure some intense training in order to even be considered for this elite organization, but he believes it might be just what he needs in order to succeed and do something with his life.  Can he survive the training?

This espionage story is fun and fast paced as James’s life changes quickly from chapter to chapter.  Readers will like James and want good things to happen to him even if he makes questionable decisions at times.  Boys and reluctant readers will especially enjoy this story and will be eager for the sequel.

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  265

RAC Book:  Yes

In this fourth installment of the Gallagher Girls series, Cammie Morgan is heavily protected by secret agents because the evil spy organization, the Circle, is trying to find her.  No one knows why Cammie is so important to the Circle, but several security measures are taken at Gallagher Academy to ensure that she is safe at all times.  Meanwhile, on her winter break Cammie is startled to learn that someone she was very close to has been accused of working with the Circle.  Can she trust anyone again?  Can Cammie and her friends find out why the Circle is after her?

This book picks up right where the third one left off and makes for an exciting and fast paced story.  The plot has many surprises and many questions are raised, but for the first time readers get a few answers too.  The characters and dialogue are just as fun as ever and fans of the first three Gallagher Girls books will devour this one too.

Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  263

RAC Book:  Yes

In this third installment of the Gallagher Girls series, Cammie Morgan is back with her friends and about to start junior year in the private spy school, Gallagher Academy.  Before going back to school, Cammie decides to visit her friend, Macey, on the campaign trail with her father who is running for Vice President of the United States.  When they are unexpectedly attacked by skilled kidnappers, Cammie realizes how much danger her friend is in and worries about keeping her safe.  Abigail Cameron, Cammie’s aunt, is brought to the Gallagher school in order to protect Macey and keep anyone out who might blow the academy’s cover of being a snooty prep school for wealthy girls.  Meanwhile, Cammie can’t help but think about Zach, who left her at the end of the last book to go back to his spy school, Blackthorne.  She  feels like he is always on her mind for no apparent reason.  Is she paranoid or a very perceptive spy?  Can the Gallagher Girls manage to keep Macey safe during this crazy and very public election time?

This series is a lot of fun and many students eagerly awaited this third installment.  They were not disappointed in the quality of the story.  The election added an interesting new spin on the girls’ spy training because they were actually in real danger many times during the course of events and had to act as real spies would act in order to create new and adventurous plans to protect themselves.  The characters are just as interesting as ever and the story kept a brisk pace.  The only complaint I heard was that it went by too quickly.   All in all, a fun ride.

Tamar by Mal Peet

Genre: Historical Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 420 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Tamar is the spy name of a man who parachuted into occupied Holland during WWII for the Allies. He asks his son to name his daughter Tamar, but reveals very little about the time he spent as a spy. Years later his fifteen year old granddaughter, Tamar, finds a box full of information and clues left behind by her grandfather before he died. As she pieces together his mysterious past she is shocked to find out the truth about his actions during that difficult war time. She also begins to understand why her own father mysteriously left her when she was very young.

This Carnegie Medal winner uses different time periods to reveal this story. There are flashbacks to the war and what Tamar and his pal, Dart, are sent to do in Holland. It also shows Tamar’s granddaughter in present day trying to put the pieces together in order to discover who her grandfather truly was. The ending is a bit predictable, but interesting nonetheless. Students who like historical fiction may enjoy this, but it is a bit slow moving at times and takes longer than necessary to reach its conclusion.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Genre:  Romance/Mystery

Age Level:  12 and up

# of pages:  236 p.

Other Books in the Series:  I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

RAC Book:  Yes

Cammie Morgan is on her way back to Gallagher Academy for the second semester of her sophomore year.  At the Gallagher Academy, Cammie is required to learn multiple languages, defensive strategies, and covert operations since it is a school for spies.  Unfortunately, Cammie is still nursing a broken heart from the first semester when she befriended a local boy and was told to end the relationship when it was found out by her superiors.

Cammie has more on her mind than just Josh, however, as she notices some changes around her school.  She knows there is something the headmistress, her mother, isn’t telling her but never in her wildest dreams imagines what it could be.  That is until the day that a group of young men from another spy school move into her school!  If that weren’t bad enough, one of them is the boy who foiled one of her covert operations assignments.  Now this boy, Zach, won’t leave her alone and Cammie isn’t sure what she thinks of him.  Does she trust him?  Is there something he isn’t telling her?  As the semester pushes on, Cammie and her friends must investigate many different possibilities for why the boys are there while passing their courses and attending mandatory events, like a big ball.  Can Cammie save her school from a possible breach of security?  Can she figure out who her allies and her enemies are?  Is she cut out to be a spy after all? 

For fans of the first book in this series, this book will be a hit.  The adventures of Cammie and her friends are interesting and unusual to say the least, but are all described in ways that seem plausible.  There is a lot of room left open for future books since we still do not know what is planned for Cammie in the future and which boy she will end up with.  A fun read with some romance, humor, and mystery.

 

 


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