Thursday, May 1, 2014

I, Spy gets 4 Stars

I, Spy by Jordan McCollum book review.  A clean page turner spy thriller for teens/YAs and older.  Alohamora Open a Book

Way back in September I received a Kindle version of this book for my birthday from my friend Sarah.  She's pretty much the most amazing friend ever b/c she always gives me a book for my birthday, Christmas, or just b/c.  Seriously, she is amazing!  

My friend Sarah is also amazing b/c she personally knows the author of I, Spy.  Jordan McCollum I would say is a newish author.  This book was published last year in 2013, and it is the first in the Spy Another Day Series which currently has 4 books.  

Like many of you, I have a very long "To Read" list, and whenever a book comes in from the library that book is pushed to the top of the list.  Since I am a librarian, I am an avid library book checker outer.  With my love for checking out library books, and my very long "To Read" list I am just now getting to reading my birthday book.

Slacker, I know.  

I, Spy by Jordan McCollum earned 4 out of 5 stars.  I will start with all of the positives.  This clean spy thriller has no language, some action type violence, no sex, a little kissing, no alcohol/drugs, and is a page turner.  Talia, the main character, is enjoyable and her story could be completely predictable (and the author hints towards the predictability), but luckily the author doesn't take the story that direction.  I'm not sure if she meant to tease the reader with the thought of predictability, but I'm sure glad she didn't follow through with it. 

To be honest, I know nothing about real spy-manship (yes I realize that is not a real word, but sometimes your own words work best).  However, for a non spy person like me I felt that McCollum seem to know her spy stuff.  She's either watched a lot of spy movies, read a lot of spy books, visited the Spy museum in D.C, or all of the above.  She successfully sold me on her spy knowledge.    

McCollum also did a pretty good job with her setting of Ottawa Canada.  Yet again, I've never been there and have no Ottawa knowledge, but she did a good job letting the reader feel comfortable and immersed in the setting, but she didn't overdo it and bore the reader with setting details.    

I, Spy is captivating once you get into it.  The first couple of chapters hadn't grabbed me, but it didn't take too long before I was invested in the story and wanted to know what was going to happen to the good and bad characters.  I think the action with a tad bit of romance really helps the story captivation. 

Talia, the main character, is Mormon/LDS and she references it at points in the story to explain her behavior such as no coffee, no drinking, dressing modestly, and not having sex with her serious boyfriend.  The references to being a Mormon is just to explain her behavior.  I wouldn't say the references make this book a "Mormon book," and I don't think it would have much impact on the reader.  I think it is just a character trait, such as if she was Jewish and followed Kosher.  However, Talia does mention a mission (a period of time one is proselyting for his/her church) and I am not sure if all the readers would understand what that is without a little more explanation.  I think that part of Talia's past (which is mentioned a handful of times) may have been confusing to some readers without any previous context..    

To be honest, the book is good even though it didn't earn the full 5 stars.  I found a handful of grammatical/text editing errors throughout the book.  I feel this just shows a lack of detail in the editing process.  As I said earlier, there was plenty of action in the story.  For the most part the action was written well, but there were more than a few times the action was a bit wordy.  I found myself wanting to just jump ahead and get to the important stuff.  There were also several points in the story that I thought the character development was less than ideal.  Danny, Talia's boyfriend, seemed almost too perfect and just there rather than showing any depth of emotion. I also found myself at times frustrated with Talia and how dumb and/or naive she was acting/behaving.  

Overall, the characters are good and the book, I, Spy, is quite good, but I think at times you could tell McCollum is still mastering the art of writing.  However, I do think she is well on her way, and I hope the other books in her series continue to show her growth as a writer. .        

I got the following book description from McCollum's website

"Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets—and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there’s one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.
It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev.Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?
She can make this work, too—until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn’t the only thing suffering. Now to save her secrets and her country, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves." 

What do you think?  Sound interesting? You can get the book here on Amazon

Happy reading!

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book as well. 


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