Today I have a spoiler free review of Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance. If you want to know my thoughts, or looking for a quick and fun mystery and romance novel, read on!
Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance
Genres: Mystery, Romance
Publication: June 11th 2013 by EgmontUSA
Pride & Prejudice meets Veronica Mars in this slick romantic spy-thriller where nothing’s as it seems.
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.
This was a spontaneous reread because for some reason, I was really craving a quick spy book. I find with these type of novels, you can’t take them too seriously because some of the plot points aren’t particularly believable or convincing. Although I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, I got the reference in the title. I’m sure I would be able to appreciate it more if I had read it. Nonetheless, this was a very easy read but it’s not for everyone.
This is a fun, little book with espionage, romance, mystery, and all that good stuff. There were some awkward and cringeworthy scenes here and there, but I couldn’t hate it. The romance was pretty predictable, but still fun. There were sassy characters amongst teenage angst and of course, a series of misunderstandings. I mean, what can you expect in a high school setting?
The book starts off with a stakeout (which was great because I love them) which escalates into a more serious investigation, and spy action scenes. The investigation centres around the absent, mysterious death of the protagonist’s mother, because there’s always more than it seems – dun dun DUHHH. I’ve come across this trope a couple of times, but the story still kept me interested the whole way through. The story focuses on the teenage drama, alongside the mystery of the mother. The plot movies along quite fast. It gets a weird further into the story. There are some surprising turns in this book, and it gets a bit intense towards the end. I found the ending a bit confusing and disappointing though. It felt a bit rushed. I wasn’t completely satisfied.
We follow Strawberry AKA Berry Fields (our protagonist) and Mary Chris Moss (the best friend) who by the way have hilarious names. A little cheesy, but I appreciate these things. Sometimes I eyeroll at these type of things, but other times I give my nod of approval. Also, they’re super witty characters.
Berry is the epitome of the trope of the strong, independent female, highly distrusting of others, and unreasonable a lot of the time. I used to really enjoy these types of characters because I thought they different and unique, BUT I don’t have this much admiration anymore. She’s still tolerable though. She’s snarky and cynical, and that definitely shows in her initial interactions with Ryan and Tanner. She’s very blunt and straightforward, and that’s very frustrating a lot of the time. Fortunately, she does develop throughout the novel, but I did find that some teenage, lovesick tendencies merge in her character. Her lack of precautions surprised me considering the situation, and her immaturity did annoy me. She’s a very hit or miss kind of character. She has a dry sense of humour, and it’s quite brash.
I love that Mary Chris had a pretty active role in helping Berry; building cool gadgets and stuff. I would have loved to learn more about the details of that though.
I had a problem with the characterisation of Jason. He seemed like the stereotypical portrayal of the “gay best friend”, and didn’t have a role in the story. Also, I didn’t like the direction of his story, how he was treated and ignored.
Tanner is a very good example of the brooding YA male. Arrogant and a bit judgemental. I didn’t like him as I probably should have.
Drew felt more like a character added purely to amp up the drama, and I wasn’t a fan of him from the start. I didn’t understand Berry’s immediate trust of him. Within their first few interactions, she literally spills everything about her doubts about her mother’s shady death.
There’s kind of a love triangle which I was not a fan of. It felt annoying and pointless.
I thought Ryan and Mary Chris’ relationship was actually quite sweet. Berry and Tanner’s chemistry wasn’t quite there for me.
This is a bizarre book that gets a bit more ridiculous further in. However, if you like light mystery and espionage and don’t mind the drama, you might enjoy it!
What did you think of the book? How do you feel about spy books? What’s you favourite retelling or book inspired by Pride and Prejudice? Comment below!
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