Evil Spy School – Book Review 4/5 stars

Evil Spy SchoolEvil Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I will always buy the next installment of this series, and this is an excellent example of the reason why.

The reason? These books are just so much fun!

I mean who wouldn’t want to be a spy at the age of 14? Then to go undercover and work for the bad guys? Beat up bullies at middle school with martial arts training? So much wish-fulfilment, you can’t not have fun with it.

And that’s where this book does right where the last book misfired a little for me. This book is all about Ben Ripley. He’s the main character from start to finish, and he’s awesome. Spy Camp, in my opinion, placed him strangely as the first-person narrator of another person’s story (Erica Hale).

But this one is near perfect.

With a new location at “Evil Spy School” we get to meet some new characters. Ashley and Nefarious were great additions and I loved them both. They had good backstories, although one of them felt a little flat.

The book had great suspense, which was easy given that most of it is a giant undercover plot with the fear of always getting caught.

And that’s actually where things went a little south for me. This is the reason for 4 instead of 5 starts…

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

The part where Ben gets uncovered as a double-agent doesn’t feel right. There is no way he should have been able to escape that situation. If the bad guys rigged the elaborate trap just for him, you’d have expected they would’ve also rigged a more idiot-proof way of catching him. It took me out of the story a bit.

That nit-pic aside, I loved all the extras added to the end. It was a great way to round out the book.

I’m already eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

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What to do When you Want to Quit your Current Work-in-Progress for a New Idea

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Stephen King tells the story of throwing Carrie away, not thinking it had what it took to be a good story. His wife had dug it out of the trash, encouraged him to finish, and it ended up getting him a nice pay-day and a burgeoning writing career.

Hint: Don’t be too hasty to scrap your story in favor of the ever attractive “new idea.”

A year-and-a-half’s work has come to a close and my first novel, The Stitcher, is finished. But like Carrie, it almost ended up in the trash.

I’m a big believer that you should not get distracted by a new idea in the middle of writing a story, although I almost abandoned The Stitcher because the new idea fascinated me sooooo much.

So my questions is, has that ever happened to you?

If so, here’s how to deal with that problem.

Allow yourself to story plan for the new idea, but don’t let yourself start typing the book until your other one is done. Truthfully, I started writing the new book when I finished my first draft of The Stitcher.

And guess what?

The same thing is happening all over. The idea I wanted to quit The Stitcher for, I now want to quit to do a whole new idea. Guess what I’m gonna do? You got it! I’m gonna finish the new idea (more on that later) and go ahead and allow some story planning.

So go ahead and indulge a little. Don’t suffocate the new idea. Go buy a shiny new notebook, maybe cover it over with stickers and start story planning. THEN, sit down and write!

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Nanowrimo 2014? Yeah, that didn’t happen! But New Year’s Resolution 2015 will be good enough.