____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Spy in the House

I will expound on my love/hate relationship with the library some other time.  Let’s just say that tomorrow’s return trip will be a sad one.  I’ve already renewed Y.S. Lee’s A Spy in the House, once…and really can’t justify keeping it any longer.  Well, it won’t hurt to renew it one more time…

Do I need to tell you how instantly I fell in love with Y.S. Lee’s The Agency series???  Thanks again to my wonderful bloggie friend, Nafiza at Bibliophilic Monologues, who turned me onto this fabulous series!!!!  Nafiza also turned me onto Alison Goodman’s Eon—So when I acquired a copy of Alison Goodman’s Eona at the RT Convention in April, I immediately had to find a copy of Eon, which was worth all the considerable trouble it took to find it.  And yay for me, when I happened to catch a glimpse of Y.S. Lee’s The Body at the Tower sitting just a little ways down on the shelf, and grabbed that up, too!

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that The Body at the Tower is the second book in Y.S. Lee’s The Agency series; not the first.  #facepalm.  Yes, basically déjà vu, Eon/Eona all over again.  It was a small consolation that I happened to know, without a doubt, that it was absolutely the only volume of The Agency series sitting on that shelf, so at least I knew I couldn’t have grabbed the wrong book when it was the only book… And if I could find the first book before I had to return the second, all the better.

So, back at home, in between furiously reading Eon…  I managed to spare a few seconds on the internet to track down A Spy in the House, the first book in The Agency series.  Apparently crossing your fingers doesn’t actually work, because even though I was crossing my fingers, there wasn’t a copy available in my local digital library, nor a copy at my local library.  And just to double-check, not at the library I had just come from (an hour away), either.   But there was a copy available, at a library located five minutes away from the library that I’d just come from…an hour away.  #facepalm

I did not live in this area, and was not consulted on the dispersal of libraries throughout the area.  I don’t get why the one closest to me never seems to have what I want at the exact moment that I have to have it, or why the two libraries who do seem to have what I want seem to take joy in splitting up series.  And it actually would have been super convenient to drive five minutes from one to the other (you know, as long as I was already an hour from home)—That is, if I’d had the forethought to know that the second book would catch my eye at the first library, and the first book would be located at the second library…And if that sounds confusing, remind me to tell you about the time I rented The Godfather.

Well, it wasn’t very hard to convince my sister to make a second trip to a second library.  So we did, and I absolutely could have fallen in love with this new library… but I just hate long distance relationships, so instead of falling in love, I checked out A Spy in the House, and made my way home.

Now, at the time, I was still making my way through Eona, so the plastic-library-wrapped covers of The Agency series seemed to glare and sparkle at me every time I happened to glance up from between the covers of Eona.  And Eona was truly a monster of a book, so nothing could have been more refreshing when I finished, than to pick up The Agency.

To be honest, I was a little in love with Mary Quinn before I even opened the book.  Orphan. Girl. Spy.  Streets of Victorian London. What’s not to love????

And I was not disappointed!  Mary Lang has been living on her own and on the streets for far too long, when her life and the law finally catch up with her.  She’s caught and convicted as a thief, and just on her way to be hanged for it, when a mysterious benefactor takes an interest.  But Mary’s been struggling to survive on her own for longer than she’d care to remember, and she’s not sure that she wouldn’t rather be hanged.  It takes a little convincing, but Mary Lang agrees to give Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls a try, and becomes Mary Quinn.

Mary excels at the Academy.  And when she graduates, they even hire her on as a teacher.  But now that Mary’s seen that there can be more to life, she’s not sure if she’s suited for a life of teaching.  But she’s not sure she has any other way to repay the Academy for everything it’s done for her.  Mary feels caught between wanting something more, not knowing exactly what she wants, and not wanting to abandon the Academy.  When Mary goes to ask the consul of Anne Treleave and Felicity Frame, the Academy’s administrators, and Mary’s saviors, Mary is surprised to learn that there’s more to Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy than she had ever realized.  It’s singular enough that Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy rescues girls off the streets, and from the gallows; that it educates the girls and shows them professions that were once beyond their reach, but Miss Scrimshaws Academy is also a cover for The Agency, an organization beyond Mary’s wildest dreams.  The Agency is an organization of female spies and detectives—women that are not only hidden in plain sight as “governess and other domestic servants,” the agents are not even on the radar of their subjects.  Even their clientele doesn’t suspect the truth about The Agency.  And that’s just the beginning of Mary’s adventures, right before she’s plopped into the middle of the very suspect Thorold household and off on her first assignment.

This book was FUN!  I LOVE LOVE LOVED it from beginning to end.  I love the setting, the adventure, the characters—We don’t know everybody’s secrets, but Ms. Lee did a great job making sure you knew that every character had a secret, and making us want to know all the little details about everyone—Y.S. Lee really did an amazing job!!!  And I couldn’t help be surprised that even as the end was coming near, there were still surprises that I never even guessed!!!!

I’m absolutely horrible at whodunits and mysteries; I never trust anyone; I always suspect everyone of everything.  But I am awfully good at making wild guesses about why who might have done what.  And that being said, there were still some things that I never even thought of.  A Spy in the House was GOOD.  GOOD.

Seriously, it took me all of two seconds before I was on to the next book, A Body at the Tower.

And yes, I will be returning them to the library…And actively seeking this series for my own collection.  *drool*





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