Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.
Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.
So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death.
But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?
With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.
WHY? Why would people compare Talia Vance to Jane Austen? Jane Austen is…. is one of my favorite authors… and…. was compared…. to this book.
You know, looking back, I really have no idea why I wanted to read this book. It can’t be because of Goodreads, because it has a synopsis that doesn’t appeal to me and it has a 3.49 average rating. I have never read a book with a 3.49 average rating, judged by more than 300 people, that I liked.
When I was little, I had this phase where whenever I saw a book that most people hated, I would read it because I was curious to see what a bad book was like. And I’ve read my fair share of good and bad books. But sometimes, when the synopsis appeals to me–even sometimes when it doesn’t–I read the book anyway because I want to see with my own eyes if the book is bad or not, and why.
Maybe that was why I picked this book up.
I don’t know because I had to wait in the hold list line behind ten people.
And for teenage girls, this is probably a pretty enjoyable book. But I’m just gonna go ahead and say that there a whole lot of other really amazing books out there that they could be reading instead of this one. In fact, I had to read my whole collection of Alex Rider after I read this book. I end up doing that a lot after I read bad spy novels… Thank God for Anthony Horowitz.
This book started off decently enough. Right off the bat, from the first sentence, I knew it wasn’t the kind of book I usually read. (i.e. The only thing worse than a guy who cheats on his girlfriend?) but I liked Mary Chris and Berry, (i.e. A guy who cheats on his girlfriend and doesn’t flaunt it enough for me to capture any proof on film.) I thought I was in for a funny, romantic spy novel that would get slightly annoying but wouldn’t bother me too much and would be reminiscent of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls.
Now I know that I said I didn’t completely enjoy the Gallagher Girls series, but I’m a fan of Ally Carter nonetheless. No, I don’t think she’s the best spy-fiction author I’ve ever read, but I really did enjoy the Heist Society and moments in the Gallagher Girls series. If you’re debating between Ally Carter and Talia Vance, go with Ally Carter if you actually want what she promises–which is a decent spy novel, some romance and a good story. Go with Talia Vance if you want an annoying heroine, lots of romance, a crippled sense of pacing and a plotline that makes me wonder.
What really got to me was Berry herself.
Oh my…. This girl. Pretty much, she spends the whole book suspecting everyone’s parents of murder and a hand in her mother’s death. When she first finds out about clues to how her mother died, she goes around telling all her closest friends even though it’s supposed to be a secret. Woooow. Great secret-keeping skills, Berry.
And then with the guys. First it’s “Oh, I’m going to pretend like I hate you and that my past will never let any boy near to me because I definitely scarred myself more than I scarred anybody else.” That’s the impression I get when I read her narration. And then it’s, “Oh, I’m so in love. These guys, they’re so great.”
Oy vey. Don’t even get me started on the pacing. It’s just hobbling around at some points, sometimes it’s down on it’s knees on the brink of death, sometimes it’s running like somebody’s chasing after it, and sometimes it’s acting like it doesn’t care about our time and it’ll go however speed it likes.
I didn’t expect much from this book. I don’t mean that as a push to the author, I actually thought Silver had an solid premise. I didn’t read it, so maybe I can’t say anything, but it’s just because it’s not really my type of book. I expected that Spies and Prejudice would be an amusing, fun read that I could enjoy in my spare time.
This book kind of reminded me of Veronica Mars. But no. If you want Veronica Mars, go to Veronica Mars. Don’t read this book. Just watch the show, guys. Oh yeah, and Pride and Prejudice? One of my five star books and one of my favorite classics? It abused that book. It used it as a gimmick. I guess that didn’t really help, because I was stewing over that for a while as I fished through the last few pages of the book. By the end, I was raging so much inside I just got up and started writing this review. (So yeah, that’s how I got here….)
I think if this book hadn’t fed me false information, I really wouldn’t have been so… EUGH right now. If it had just hold me it like it was, I might’ve even enjoyed this story.
It’s not just the false advertising though. Even without the ending–which was terrible by the way, and the plotting, I’m still really disappointed with this book. I mean–writing a book, especially a great book, is tough. Much harder than tough. And mystery plotting? Forget it. I can’t do it, not without weeks and weeks–months even–of thinking. It’s not my thing, and it’s really hard. Thriller, suspense, action those themes are hard to write unless you practice writing them. For me, contemporary and mystery are the hardest to write. So I respect Talia Vance’s attempt to write mystery.
But the characters. This book can’t portray characters the way Pride and Prejudice did. I just can’t see it. This book had a “playful nod to Jane Austen”. Yeah. Totally. The playful nod was about 10% percent of the book. You know, with Jane–as Mary Chris–liking the rich boy, the prideful best friend doesn’t like it, and the girl can’t help loving the prideful dude that she loathes in the beginning–through having to be around him in many incidents.
Wow, okay. Jane isn’t Little Miss Sugar Puff, all sweetness and kindness. Bingley isn’t a spineless wannabe. Darcy wasn’t a stalker. Elizabeth isn’t… Berry. That’s just it. Berry is. Not. Elizabeth. And the thing with Darcy is that in Pride and Prejudice, the book may seem like a romantic comedy, and in many ways it is, but it is about a lot more than that too. It’s about manners, prejudice and community. There’s a lot of character change and opinion change in Pride and Prejudice that is really important, and that really wasn’t captured in this book.
I’m not even going to say anything about the action and fighting.
I’ve got to admit, the form of this book isn’t bad. It’s not hard to flip through, but the entire time I just got this annoyed feeling I always get when there’s a heroine who’s stupid when she’s not on the job itself but who’s great on the job. This uncomfortable, annoyed, exasperated feeling. The sales pitch of this book was actually pretty good, and like I said, it’ll appeal to teenage girls. I thought this was gonna be Pride and Prejudice meets Veronica Mars, but I was way off. The Pride and Prejudice was just barely there so that Talia Vance could reach it’s already-established fanbase. I was really disappointed with this book, and I think the thing that made that the worst was the false advertising. Better luck next time. 1 star read.
pg count for the hardback: 296
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