Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: Palace of Spies

Title: Palace of Spies (Palace of Spies #1) (ARC edition)
Author: Sarah Zettel
Page Count: 368
My Rating: 3.5 TURTLES: A very enjoyable read, I recommend you check it out.
Publisher: HNH Books for Young Readers

A warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don't.

Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she's impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love...

History and mystery spark in this effervescent series debut.

Palace of Spies is another one of the books that I picked up at ALA this past summer. It is a fast-paced historical YA novel with a full cast of colorful side characters and a heroine who is full of pluck. I am not a scholar of the English nation at the time of King George I, so I cannot speak to its historical accuracy or plausibility, but I do know that it was a very entertaining novel.

Zettel did a great job describing the world of Peggy Fitzroy, I could really picture the fancy dresses, outrageous wigs, and intensive makeup that was commonplace at the time. I liked that the story is told in the first person of Peggy, who is very practical and witty, it added a lot of personality to the narration.

The reason I gave Palace of Spies 3.5 turtles and not higher is because, for whatever reason, I never really connected with the characters. Yes, the story is fun, witty, and action-packed, but the emotional investment never clicked in for me, the suspense that could have built due to Peggy and the other character’s constant danger was not there. This might have had something to do with the fact that the narration was past tense, so I was fairly sure that Peggy at least was in no mortal danger. It also may have been because the commentary was so witty that, while I knew the situation was dangerous, it never really registered.

While my socks were not knocked off, it was still very entertaining, with an adventurous plot and memorable characters. I was very happy with the ending because it tied up nicely, and there is definitely an opening for a sequel. I will be waiting to see what is next in store for Peggy Fitzroy.

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