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Anastasia speaks 4 languages and has a black belt, having spent her childhood moving from foreign location to foreign location with her scientist parents. When they turn up dead her older sister, Keira can’t accept the way they grew up nor the car crash that left no bodies. She doesn’t care until Keira goes missing and with her Dresden buddy Marcus hits Europe to follow a trail of clues… will she learn the truth about her parents and find the missing Keira?
I love stories about orphans so I was really intrigued by the blurb of this book but did not realize it was about spies and espionage. This is not a favorite genre of mine though I’ve seen James Bond movies and have a penchant for girls who can kick ass when called upon. Going in its good to understand what this is about because its sprung on you suddenly after a rather disconnected beginning. I wasn’t a fan of the setup with the school setting and the long mourning period for her sister. I understand the point of it and see it was necessary but it wasn’t written in an engaging way for me. Like another reader who DNFed the book I probably would have too except I like to give books given to me for a review a fighting chance by reading to the end.
Not that the writing wasn’t good at times, like here where the characterization of his brother from these few lines was so evocative:
“My brother has a lot of tattoos. Everywhere.” He ran his hands up and down his arms to suggest full sleeves of ink. “I have a hard time saying no to him, and he has a hard time accepting it.” He chuckled to himself, as if remembering something.
And the book did a one-eighty once we hit Europe. The real mystery started and the moping about her sister was at an end. There was some extreme whining over and over again about her parents lying to her, very repetitive and draining for me as a reader:
“Unfortunately, I knew the pain of that betrayal all too well—from every adult in my life.”
Is this true to how this teenager would feel? Maybe, maybe not. I did feel like screaming at her: “Adults don’t have a duty to tell teenagers the truth! Grow up!” I wish Marcus had been better used to filter some of her internal angst. I love dialogue and there was some heavy thoughts to explore but Anastasia never let them leave her head! When dialogue was used it was good, really good like when she speaks with Allen (though she kept “yelling loudly” a lot). Either have her act like a teenager and talk to her friends (the roommate and Marcus for two) or have her act like a young adult who acted more adult due to her experiences from her parents lifestyle.
These inconsistencies aside, Anastasia was written as a pretty smart girl who could figure things out because she was thorough and observant to details. She didn’t jump into love just because it was there nor give in to hormones, it was a slow burn with Marcus. Not that he wasn’t totally cool… I loved that he was Spanish and used Spanish when he spoke. He was very mysterious and you weren’t sure if you should take him at face value or not. I believed the fights as there were written and I loved that they traveled through Europe. Also the background with Allen was nicely done as well as the way her parents manipulated the media. Loved that! Very believable to me as a secret organization. While the villain gave up a little too easily to me it almost worked and I respect that.
Normally I’d give a book with this poor of a setup 3 stars but actually I look forward to learning more about Dresden and his involvement. How will Keira change the next book? The twists weren’t overboard at all but nicely balanced so that even though I wasn’t surprised if another reader was it felt right either way. I’m also intrigued if the double agent idea put forth in the blurb actually has any merit (nothing about it is revealed in this book). These questions are enough to propel me into the next book!
BOTTOM LINE: For a teenage spy Anastasia made it happen!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Read more about the book, out today…