A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee
#1 in The Agency series
Owned (but no longer!)
1.5 out of 5 stars
I had such high expectations for this series, but it failed pretty much every single one of them.
I didn't get along with main character Mary at all and found her thoroughly dislikable. She made some stupid choices and broke all the wrong rules for all the wrong reasons. There is supposedly another seasoned spy on assignment as well (undercover even from novice Mary) and all I could think of was this better spy facepalming the entire time as Mary runs amok all over her covert ops.
Mary 's also not the nicest person in the world, which really made it hard to take her side, even when I agreed with her. To add insult to injury, her promised hate-turned-love romance fell totally flat for me and was more of an insta-love with feigned bickering and no spark.
Don't even get me started on the side characters who are all horribly one-note. The mystery was the only thing that (just barely) kept my interest, but that isn't saying much and it fell flat in the end. Or, should I say it exploded in comical, cackling improbable villain laughter?
Worst of all was the historical stuff. I'm totally fine with a fluffy historical mystery that only pays petticoat homage to the time period (that is, historical accuracy sticklers be-gone, we're more focused on a general surface historical feeling), but this book took things too far.
I at least want SOME nods to the rules of the time (i.e. ladies do not go cavorting on the wrong side of town...and if they do, gosh, do it better, Mary!). I especially don't want a main character with modern sensibilities. Authors, if you want your main character to inappropriately and annoyingly spout off 21st century ideals left and right, then do not set your book in historical times. Nothing rips me out of a book and makes me dislike it faster than an anachronistic character on a modern soapbox.
Or anyone one a soapbox, really. I could really do without the soapboxes. Especially when the rantings come off like PSAs for 2nd graders. Show a little more respect for your readers, maybe?
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