November 28, 2013

Review: Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance

Title: Spies and Prejudice
Author: Talia Vance
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Page Count: 304
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
First Reaction: No. Just, no. I can't even believe I finished this one, even though I skimmed the end.
Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death.

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]


Berry's dad is a private eye. Berry works for her dad and even takes on some of his cases as her own. She also has a tech savvy BFF and your cliche clothing loving, theater geek, gay BFF. And life is pretty standard until suddenly these three hot and mysterious guys pop up. Two of them are brothers and flirt heavily with Berry and her tech savvy BFF. The other new guy also keeps hitting on Berry. But he's bad news. Which we know because that's what everyone keeps telling Berry. Anyway, the appearance of these three boys coincides with Berry catching sight of her tech savvy BFF's dad holding a piece of paper that suggests something about Berry's dead mother. Which was Berry's life changing event that turned her from pony-loving-gal to crime-solving-sleuth. So obviously all of these thing roll together and lead to insanity.

**For the record: I started skimming this book on page 180 or so.**

I Liked:
  • The Idea: When I first heard about this book, I was obsessed with the idea. Veronica Mars meets the romantic tension of Pride and Prejudice? How fast can you sign me up? I actually almost bought this book on more than one occasion, I was so enamored with the idea. I mean, have you been following my Veronica Mars Watch-Along? Yeah. I'm a fan.

I Disliked:
  • The Execution: So, no matter how perfect-for-me this book sounds, it wasn't. Even a little. While my brain thought this mash-up would be perfect (what, since Veronica has a little Austen stubbornness and ridiculousness built in) turned out to be a confused mess.
  • The Mystery: Everything starts great. Sure, it's been 8 years since her mom died and that feels like a little bit of a stretch, but I guess that okay. It's also a little convenient that Berry's tech savvy BFF's (Mary Chris) dad is involved. But things spiral out of control pretty quickly. I won't give it away, but a lot of people are not who they say they are and, while I guess that's usually a fun, shocking thing, in this book it's just like: What? Really? How many convenient things can be stacked on top of each other until it's all just completely unrealistic.
  • The Unrealistic-ness and Nonsensical-ness: Like I just said, everything was too convenient to be even remotely realistic. But the way this whole thing pans out - the answer to what happened to Berry's mother - is basically a confusing game of role switching. One second this guy's the bad guy, but then he's not because of this technicality. Then you get situated again and we decide to move backwards again. I mean, you're jerked back and forth so many times you just stop caring about what's really happening. And I don't even know what the heck is up with Drew at the end of this book. 
  • Mary Chris Moss and Strawberry Field: Maybe one of these nonsensical names would have been okay. But to have two punnily named main characters? No. Also, Mary Chris has been a tech nerd for years and invents camera glasses. How, what and huh? Are my question words here. In Veronica Mars, Mac's a hacker genius and knows a lot things computers, okay. But spy gadget genius is the next level of... I'm not sure. And Berry. Well. I'll get to her bullet point next.
  • Berry: Berry is the wishy-washiest character of all time. One second she believes this guy, the next that guy. She can't make her mind up, she's just completely focused on proving her mother didn't kill herself. But she doesn't seem to care about anything else. Not her father, not her best friends, not anything left in the living world. And, I'm sorry, but your mother died 8 years ago and you let it rest but then this letterhead shows up and you're all INTERESTED again? I mean, I'm not even sure Veronica would have lost her head in that scenario.
  • Tanner, Ryan and Drew: I have no idea what motivated any of these boys throughout this book. Tanner was bizarrely hot and cold and, despite his true motivation, I don't buy it. Ryan's kind of just a sidekick, completely unimportant and Drew is the flattest, most uninteresting character in the book.
  • Tanner + Berry: *zzzzz* snooze don't care. Romantic tension is hard to create. When it's done well, it's amazing and my favorite. When it's not done well it's boring and I couldn't care less about it.
  • Berry and her Dad: What is up with this relationship!?! I don't understand. Her father only shows up when it's convenient. He's dating this woman? I don't even know how it fits in except to aggravate Berry. And how he fits in to what happened to Berry's mother? That was so left field, not even necessary and completely ruined anything that might have been good about this book for me. I mean, there's no coming back from that. There just isn't. I mean, yeah, the twist left the door open for a sequel, but if there isn't a sequel, that's pretty freaking messed up how Berry just accepts it. I've honestly never been so repulsed by a twist in my entire life. It's just like: Yeah. You could do that. If you want me to hate everything about this book and all of the characters in it until the end of time. So. I'm not sure where that decision came from.
  • The Overall Characterizations: I really just felt like this book relied too heavily on the Veronica Mars and Pride and Prejudice characterizations. I didn't believe in any of these characters. They were too thin and I really didn't care what happened to them one way or another. Not even the mom - the woman who was the driving force for Berry throughout.
  • The Rip-Off: I started skimming this book when it came to light that Berry's mom drove off the Coronado Bridge. Um. I'm sorry. LOGAN ECHOLL'S MOM JUMPED OFF THE CORONADO BRIDGE. That is also the bridge where Logan went at the end of season 1 - y'know where the PCHers beat him up and then Felix was murdered and Logan was accused, EVEN THOUGH HE DIDN'T DO IT. No, Book. This was your last straw and you threw it away.

The long and short of it?

Overly convenient and entirely unrealistic.
World Building: It's supposed to be this huge conspiracy but really it's a big run around that barely makes any sense.
Character Development: Berry is the most infuriating of all time.
Prose: The worst part was I couldn't visualize any of the characters in this book. I had no idea what any of them looked like so I just imagined them looking like Veronica Mars characters. Which might have ruined the show for me, if I wasn't such a fanatical Veronica Mars fan.
Would I Recommend This Book?: No. Don't let the Veronica Mars/Pride and Prejudice tempt you. This is not the book for you.

So I took this one from a Veronica Mars-lover side, but maybe you're a bigger Pride and Prejudice fan. Either way, if you've read this one, let's have a chat in the comments below, yeah? I still have a little anger towards this one in me.