Friday, 17 July 2009

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee

From Amazon: At a young age, Mary is rescued from the gallows by a woman masquerading as a prison warden. She is taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. The school, Mary learns, is a front for a private investigation agency and, at 17, she is taken on as an agent. In her new role she is catapulted into the family home of the Thorolds to investigate the shady business dealings of Mr Thorold.

Set in Victorian England, A Spy in the House is a great start to what promises to be a trilogy that gets better with every book.

Main characters Mary, James and Angelica are intriguing, and possessed more dimensions than I originally assumed they would. Mary is a strong, level headed girl that knew what she wanted and wasn't afraid to go after it. By working for the Agency, she put her intuitive, no-nonsense personality to good use, and uncovered important secrets and lies. I hated Mary's charge, Angelica, at first, but once I understood her circumstance and motives for her behaviour, I changed my mind. James was a clear winner from the start, with his loyalty to Mary being my favourite of his many qualities.

I really liked the Victorian setting, and the descriptions of that period in history. Ying Lee must have spent a lot of time and effort researching early 1800's England, and her attention to detail definitely shows through. I occasionally thought the plot was a bit slow, but that could be because I'm used to fast-paced stories and quippy dialogue. By the time I reached the end of Mary's story, I was entertained, surprised, and looking forward to the second book in the series. An original debut.

11 comments:

Chicklish said...

It sounds great, and I loved reading your review. The characters sound really intriguing.

Um, do you mind if I mention that there's a giveaway of this book on Chicklish right now? (Oops, too late! ;) )

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Great review! I really enjoyed this and I agree with you that they will get better as the trilogy goes on.

NotNessie said...

This sounds like something I would really love to read... thanks for reviewing!

Juju said...

Ooo sounds right up my alley. I'm totally adding this one to my list. Thanks for this great review.

21 said...

Nice review! I'm not much for mysteries, but I know someone who would love this series! She's totally into the Victorian England scene.

Steph Su said...

Ooh, sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for the review, Jenny!

Andrea said...

That sounds great. Thanks, I'm adding to my list right now.

vvb32 reads said...

yay! glad to hear a good review. i have this one waiting on my tbr pile.

Kate said...

Lovely review! I really enjoyed this one as well!

Jess said...

This sounds great -- thanks for the review.

A.M Bells said...

I am going to buy this one for sure. XD