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.
Before I read SPIES AND PREJUDICE, I felt like I was sleep walking through books. But Talia Vance's writing style has a way of grabbing you by the shoulders and shaking you awake. Her characters feel as real as your own family, and her voice crackles with energy.
I enjoyed absolutely everything about SPIES AND PREJUDICE, but the thing I loved most was the edge-of-your seat ending. I can't wait to see what Vance comes up with next!
Thank you Egmont USA for sending me this copy. No compensation was given or take to alter this review.
'"I don't get paid to have fun. I get paid for proof."'
The first impression I got from this book was the title. Mission impossible theme song immediately went off in my head. So if we were to go with that mysterious, tense music, Spies and Prejudice fell short of what I was hoping for. I'm no fan of titles that are a mock up of classics, yet somehow, I decided to pick it up and see what I'd think.
Mixed with quirky names, humour, mystery and a complicated romance, Spies and Prejudice was somewhat just satisfying enough to keep me reading the entire time. By no means dauntingly horrible or fantastically flawless, this is a book fans of Veronica Mars will be yearning for. After all, what could possibly go wrong in a teen spy novel?
Strawberry Fields lost her mother when she was eight years old. It was always ruled out to be a tragic accident. But what happens when Berry finds a document that may discuss otherwise? As the mystery becomes more confusing, we come across the unnerving Tanner who is practically stalking Berry at every turn. Could he possible has something to do with this mystery?
Berry, our main character was a tolerable character, but no means my favourite. Her personality was solid, filled with sassiness, humour and straight forward. Normally, I'm no fan of this mix but Vance drew Berry's character far better than my first impression. She doesn't care about the small issues or her looks, she cares about the life changing and significant segments of life which I appreciated.
Another point I relatively enjoyed was the connections between Berry and her best friend, Mary Chris Moss (get it?!) as well as between her father. For this best friend relationship, it wasn't all sunshines and cupcakes, we had a point where the connection was rather tense and shaky which could only outline the authentic-y of them. Berry and her father, seemed like a normal father-daughter connection at the beginning, but like the best friend one, there are so many more layers to explore and feel for.
Our love interest, Tanner pretty much shows up first thing in the book. Snarky, arrogant and teasing, I wasn't exactly shipping this couple at all. It's a bit like angst to a less horrifying level. The chemistry between them felt rather surreal to me and I was just not feeling much, unfortunately.
Spies and Prejudice was rather disappointing but still bearable. Despite my distance with the romance, Tanner and idea, a pretty good shot. Recommended to people who are looking for a cute, light read. (I know, a million people have said it but its true!)
This may have been an Inception moment. Because it sure feels like I just read a book about the movie in Tammara Webber's book about an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in high school except this had a side serving of Veronica Mars and no Reid Alexander in sight (boo!).
Instead we have Strawberry Fields (don't worry she was just mostly Berry in this book), a high school junior who helps out in her dad's Private Investigation firm following cheating husbands and boyfriends alike. She was on a stakeout with her friend, Jane Mary Chris, when they run into the new guys in school Ryan (Mr. Bingsley) and Tanner (Mr. Darcy). Pride and Prejudice shenanigans ensue interspersed with Berry running into a trail of clues that may lead to the ever elusive truth about her mother's death.
I'm pretty sure modern adaptation of anything is a kiss of death on any book. Especially when you announce it with the title. This would've been an easier sell if it didn't. It's almost like this was asking for some hurt. I'm not a hard core Jane Austen fan but however brilliant you may "adapt" the scene, it will always come sub-par to the original.
Which is a pity because despite the story's predictability, it was a pretty entertaining read... When Berry and Tanner weren't being annoying asshats to each other. True, it does become distracting when while the story is unfolding, I'm playing connect the dots with P&P figuring out who's who and what scene is a mirror of what, but there was enough original ideas mixed in to keep me interested. The dialogue was believable, the humor wasn't forced (courtesy of Jason, the gay friend) and the cheese was kept to the barest minimum (Pemberley? Really?).
Midway through, the P&P parallels took a back seat for the spy stuff. I did like that it didn't take the predictable route with regards to the case but it did get a little confusing with the addition of Drew in the mix who felt like a forced Mr. Wickham. There were a lot of wtfs in the mystery of Berry's mother's death particularly . Though I found it funny that a recurring witness was getting paid tens and thousands of dollars by the big players when she willingly spilled to Berry for the price of a makeover and 80 dollars worth of moisturizers.
I used to like heroines like Berry. My 15-year old self would read her as a strong and independent girl. And having issues that damaged her enough to push people away by hitting or pepper spraying them gives her depth. I used to be charmed when the brooding, hot guy sweeps her off her feet, fixing all her damaged parts little by little, smirk by smirk, kiss by kiss.
Thirty-something me would just see her as a bitch acting out on all her drama. What happened to just being nice? The implausibility of a guy like Tanner adds salt to injury. We all know guys won't understand you at first sight, and try to fix you and fall in love with you when you act out on your crazy because you took him to mini-golf and laser tag. That's bullcrap. There's a romantic somewhere in the dark depths of my soul (really, there is) but I refuse to be fed this trope anymore than I already swallowed in my foolish youth.
I would probably give this a higher rating if the P&P reference was kept in the blurb and out of the title. And recommend to mature readers of this genre who may have some hankering for a novelized CW teen drama.
Copy provided by Egmont USA via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.
Good book. Well written, interesting characters, exciting plot. I think it might have done better, though, if it hadn't invoked Pride and Prejudice. Even if that isn't taken as a challenge or a reason to find fault or a way to setup comparisons the author is unlikely to be able to deliver, it still functions as an invitation to find similarities, parallels, and match elements of the book to one of the greats--and that just isn't going to go well.
Which is a real shame in this instance because the story really is outstanding and the characters are interesting (and earn that interest in the face of comparisons to Pride and Prejudice) and the plot is a whole lot of fun. If it had stood on its own and let readers merely suspect that it was cribbing elements from Austen, I feel its score here would be much higher and I know that my own rating would be at least one star and possibly two better.
Unfortunately, having that comparison in mind robbed me of a lot of anticipation by giving away some plot and character development elements and thus ruining the buildup and neutering key reveals. And I couldn't help picking apart all the ways the story isn't at all like Austen (like dialogue, setting, and pacing--not to mention many story elements as well).
In the end, the book is far more Veronica Mars than it is anything else and would have done a lot better invoking that comparison rather than one it had no hope of living up to...
Update: I finally finished it and it was pretty disappointing and not particularly memorable.
The blurb kinda reminds me of Veronica Mars.. Is it just me or have others also felt the same?????
Update: I'm gonna stick with the original inspirations: Veronica Mars and Pride and Prejudice.. I'll probably come back to this book and read it again because i was very impatient when i did read it. but not anytime soon..
3.5 stars!!!! I loved the modern take on this beloved classic story!!!! I was laughing & loving piecing together who everyone was in this plot line!!!!! Pemberley is the security firms name that is clever placing the classic names in modern context!!!!!! Though all it’s faults towards ending being rushed I felt like it was a great nod to the classic!! I wanted to know about who Drew worked for & why?! Especially the part about her mother it feels like a loose end & an unnatural cliffhanger with no chance of sequel so that played a huge role in why I only rated it so so compared to earlier updated that I loved the novel! I still do which is why one should read it if they love the Austin classic! Just the ending as I said fell flat & that had a bad impact on the overall consensus of this novel! I read anything to do with Austin or the Brontë sisters!!!! Remakes are suppose to be a bit different anyways so it was overall ok!
So the beginning had promise. I wanted so much to like this and I even told myself that I should try not to compare it too much to Pride and Prejudice, but I did. I feel like the the whole P&P aspect of the book was placed just so there would be some sort of tension between the main couple. If I hadn't thought to compare it to P&P then I might had given it more credit. However, I still don't think I would've loved it.
The basic gist of it is that Berry spies for clients (of her father's) who think their spouses are cheating on them. In comes Tanner and his brother; she doesn't like him because she called her nothing amazing or something to that effect. Then there is a sort of mystery with her mother, what really happened to her? Berry wants to find out.
Berry says when she first sees Tanner that his looks make him arrogant, a prime cheater, etc. She acts like she is above his good looks but then seems to like him solely on physical attraction. How does that work? She stops reminding me of Elizabeth after about a quarter of the way through. She does something in particular with her friend Jane that, I felt, was not at all what Elizabeth would be like. Even if I were to drop the comparison, I still wouldn't have liked what she did to Jane. I know that sounds vague but I'm trying to make this spoiler free.
I would've like to see Berry spend more time with Jane doing spy stuff and less time hating/lusting over Tanner. The whole I need to find out about my mother bit was not handled (in my opinion) very well. Some aspects were interesting but Berry just got on my nerves.
This book is utterly endearing. I honestly don't know why the average rating is so low. This might be a solid 4 star read for me usually but somehow I got really attached to this story. I had to give it 5 and I regret nothing :D
It's the perfect mix of Stephanie Plum meets Enthusiasm (one of my all time favourite books) and a nice dose of Pride and Prejudice. Add a very lovable cast (apart from maybe one or two exceptions but, hello, someone has to be the villain) and an interesting plot and hey: you've got a great novel! Seriously, this had all sorts of elements in one and it was such a refreshing read! I recommend this :)
Inspiration is a tricky thing - seeing something, hearing something, watching something - all of these things can jump start new, excited, and completely original ideas. It can also lead to some good ideas that may not be original but are still totally worthwhile as fan fiction where the author acknowledges the original inspiration.
I think this book would have been so much better if it had just tried to stand on its own feet with a few tweaks to make it a bit more original. My problems at the beginning of this book was that I could not stop comparing it to the television show Veronica Mars which is also about a blonde in high school whose mom is gone, works for her dad's PI business, has a big dog and a brainy girl friend and a goofy boy friend. At the same time it was marketed as making a playful now towards Pride and Prejudice by having 2 guys - one stuck up and one fun and playful - the stuck up even insults the main character to the fun one and of course she overhears it. Thankfully the Pride and Prejudice hintings end by about the first quarter of the book. The Veronica Mars ones continue for about 3/4's though before the book attempts to be its own.
I like fan fiction, I read a lot of it, I do, but this was so off. It was marketed as one major franchise when it actually took after another which was not acknowledged at all.
ALL OF THAT ASIDE....the story was okay I guess. It had tons of cliche moments and unbelievable moments. And then there was the plot. I mean lets start with the fact that the plot supposedly hinges on the death of Berry's mother, but it reality it centered around the production of an energy drink. Such a lame plot line. The sad part though was the plot holes you could drive a truck through.
Ug....and SO MANY MORE. Also the names. Holy hell. The 2 main girl characters were Strawberry Fields (she went by Berry and supposeldly her mother was a HUGE Beatles fan) and Mary Chris Moss (say it out loud...I'll wait...did you do it? Are you disgusted? I am. Apparently she was born on Christmas Eve and the author claims that her parents had a wicked sense of humor - WHICH THE FATHER NEVER DISPLAYS IN THE REST OF THE DAMN BOOK).
DESPITE EVERYTHING - I admit I kinda enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong, it has a lot of issues, and needs a lot of plot points filled and downright changed, but it was a crazy easy way to pass the time on my bus trip from Boston to New York. I won't read any sequel that might come out though (not that I think there would be one since, well see Spoiler #9 above).
Hmmmm that whole review came out a bit more harsh that I thought it would...didn't realize it had gotten to me that much!
**This is an ARC review. Any excerpts and quotes are taken from an advance copy and are therefore subject to change before the final print**
Meet Strawberry (Berry) Fields (clearly mom and dad were Beatles fans.) Berry is a savvy high schooler who moonlights at her dad's private investigation firm. She's so good at catching philandering spouses and insurance scammers that her dad has let her stake out and handle her own jobs since she was fourteen. They key is to be dogged, super observant, and have a knack for guessing what the target's move will be before (s)he makes it. And being a teenager is actually a bonus, because nobody ever pays attention to kids. Berry's best friend Mary Chris Moss (yes, that name does read Merry Christmas) is the Q to Berry's James Bond, coming up with clever gadgets to help Berry catch her mark in the act.
But when Berry accidentally witnesses Mary Chris's father exchanging what looks to be secret information regarding the suicide of Berry's mother a couple of years earlier, Berry finds herself in a very tough spot. She needs to know why Mr. Moss is discussing her mom's death, a death that Berry and her dad have struggled to believe was a suicide from the start. Berry doesn't want to betray her best friend but until she knows more about what Mr. Moss is up to, she keeps quiet and does some digging on her own.
Spies and Prejudice is a light, cute, perfect for summertime read. The blurb says that it is a "playful nod to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice" and it is, to a degree. There are a few similarities but this book reminded me much more of Ally Carter's Heist Society books with teenage spies instead of teenage con artists and thieves.
There is a cast of fun characters, with the most developed being protagonist Berry. I liked Berry a lot. She was no nonsense and serious about things, but she was also a teenage girl who misses her mom. She was a loyal friend to Mary Chris, even when she made some stupid decisions that in turn negatively impacted their friendship. It was nice to read a character that wasn't completely angst ridden and ruled by her emotions, yet still acted like a teenage girl.
The plot was entertaining, there were parts that I easily predicted but others that I didn't. There is a good amount of action and the pacing remained constant. Spies and Prejudice turned out to be a quick read because of this.
There is a romance written in. Like Pride and Prejudice there are two persons of interest, Tanner and Drew, but it's clear from the start which boy Berry is crazy about, even when she denies it loudly to everyone around her including herself. I actually enjoyed both the male leads. Both are keeping secrets and it was fun to try and guess who was being the most genuine and who had the best intentions when it came to Berry.
Vance's writing was great. It was a smooth read and the dialogue was authentic, well, authentic for a teenage spy book:)
Overall I enjoyed the book. Was it mind blowing in complexity or did it have tremendous stick-with-you-until-the-day-you-die characters or romance? No, not really. But it was entertaining, it was light and it was a good book to read between really heavy, emotional books.
No idea if this is a standalone of the first in a planned series, and the book has a definite solid ending (no cliffhangers.) There are some revelations towards the end that lead me to believe there could be more to the story if the author chooses to move forward. We'll see. Fans of of teenage caper stories or those looking for a quick and enjoyable beach read would enjoy this one for sure:)
Pride and Prejudice meets spies? HELL YEAH. When I first heard about Talia Vance's Spies and Prejudice my first thought was, "How is this the first time someone's thought of this?!" With the ever-growing popularity of James Bond and other spy thrillers, it makes sense that we introduce the world of young adult readers to Jane Austen's most popular work with exploding tennis bracelets and walkie-talkie watches. Teens imagining a world of corporate espionage that they can take part in!? I'd say you've caught them as readers - hook, line, and sinker.
As a private investigator, Berry Fields has seen it all. She specializes in cheaters, men who have affairs and think that they can get away with it. Within her own personal life she has little use for men. This is partially because of her profession and partially because of a spin the bottle incident in eighth grade that left her as somewhat of an outcast after pepper spraying a boy in the face. So, when the handsome Tanner Halston catches her eye, she immediately dismisses him, as is her usual standard procedure. This is fine for Tanner, who calls Berry "nothing amazing." However, despite this seemingly nonchalant attitude that they share, both Berry and Tanner seem to be running into each other more and more often as Berry attempts to investigate her mother's mysterious death. Will she be able to stay focused or will Tanner's insistence on barging into her activities drive her crazy?
First and foremost I have to give Vance major kudos for not beginning Spies and Prejudice with a variation of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice. As much as I love P&P, I feel like the continued use of its opening line is no longer creative or unique. Therefore, when I tell you that I enjoyed this book from page one you'll know I'm not lying. Berry (the Elizabeth of the story) is a lot of fun. She's quirky, smart, and an awesome PI. Her investigating methods are not always the most morally correct actions, but she does what she has to for her cases. Tanner (the Darcy) is definitely adorable and completely socially awkward.
I have to say - Spies and Prejudice is an extremely enjoyable read. It's a cleaned up version of P&P. What I mean by this is that it's been modernized and anything deemed too extraneous has been cut out. What's left is a fast paced spy thriller complete with spies, gadgets, explosives, mystery, and danger! One slight detraction was that there were times that I felt the characters' spying/hacking abilities were slightly unrealistic, but this didn't derail the adventurous spirit of the novel. The story flows quite well from page to page, making it difficult to put down. It's the perfect book for your teen to bring to the beach this summer!
*Review and Giveaway posted on Page Turners Blog on 6/3/2013*
I think by now you guys realize how much I love Jane Austen and, of course, I may also have a slight obsession fascination with spies. So imagine my delight when I saw that a favorite author of mine Talia Vance (author of the Bandia series) wrote something that was titled Spies & Prejudice. If you assume I filed that under: #whee; you were right.
So then as I started to read it, I realized that yes, there was that familiar plot rhythm from my beloved Pride & Prejudice. Perhaps there was more so a familiarity in the cast of characters, but to my surprise this was a mystery plot. And I looooove those especially when they involve corporate espionage, and when a number of characters are potential suspects. The mystery in question is one that grabbed me from the start – was Berry’s mom’s death really a murder? I immediately understood why the spy-savvy Berry couldn’t let that case drop until she found out the absolute truth.
So, let’s talk about Berry. I love a super-smart protagonist and one that can think on her feet. I’m not going to be the only pointing this out, but if you loved Veronica Mars’ character as much as I did, just wait until you meet Berry. She’s inexhaustible in her search to find out the truth and along the way, she will drop her share of snarky remarks. A good spy story always has a great secondary cast of characters and in Mare and Jason you will find the kind of support that is found only in the deepest of friendships. There's one more thing that Talia adds and it's the feeling of loss. Her mother's death left Berry fighting so hard to hold onto memories, those concrete ones of her mom that appear to be slipping away every day. These moments are so well written that they add a depth to the story that I simply didn't expect. But, they are also the moments that made Berry feel like a real person to me.
And then, there's the romance. I know what you're thinking where, oh, where is Darcy? I think I could write a thesis on the subject of this classic character and the sighs he's inspired. I also think Talia already submitted this thesis because she writes the Tanner and Berry scenes so beautifully. In fact, there’s this wonderful awkward scene where Tanner inadvertently wounds Berry with an insult that caused me to recall one of my favorite scenes in P&P. In a nod to the classic, the romantic tension between Berry and Tanner certainly scorches off the page.
Turn on that fan, pour yourself a glass of iced tea and sit back and read this adorable, tension-filled mystery. Berry Fields is now one of my favorite spy girls. And Tanner, well umm, just wait until you meet him.
I really liked Silver by Talia Vance so I snatched this up at ALA midwinter. I thought it was a retelling but the person at the booth told me it had more to do with spies than the Jane Austen novel. Which didn’t bother me at all because I really like spy stories and for the most part, I liked this one too.
I liked Strawberry Fields and her best friend Mary Chris Moss (not joking, those are their names). I liked the love interest and I liked the how vulnerable Berry was despite her badass fronting. The book is fluff, pure entertainment. It could have been a lot more. Had the pace been slowed down and the author taken more time to develop both the character and the narrative, the novel could have had a lot more substance. The pace is too fast. Things happen at a dizzying speed.
I did like how Berry’s mistreatment of her best friend is addressed and there are certain consequences. I did not like the fact that the boy best friend is half-Japanese and gay. Not because I have trouble with his ethnicity or his sexual orientation but because it is so common to have the requisite POC character as a best friend and a gay best friend is the oldest plot device ever.
Also the plot is rather thin with gaping holes that appear when you question it. However, honestly, this is pure entertainment. If you don’t question the details and just read it for fun, you will be satisfied. Tanner is pretty hot. And the friendship between the girls is really strong and heartwarming. So if you have time and want to read something fun, this may be it for you.
yes yes yes yes yes yes YES! This is one of the best spy books I have ever read for several reasons. 1.Berry is AMAZING, and she's not one of those girls who knows she's pretty and uses it, more like the opposite. 2. She doesn't just fall for Tanner, heck, she doesn't even trust him. 3. Tanner has the whole tall, dark, and handsome thing down. 4. They have all this cool spy gadget stuff, but not in the cheap way. 5. There are so many characters that are great, then you want to kill some, feel sorry for some, and just generally be involved with their lives. 6. The author has a interesting sense of humor with the main girl characters names. 7. The whole plot keeps moving and at the end you left thinking, "Wait, What?" (From shock not confusion) 8. Its not at all what you would expect, but in a good way. 9. Lulu is so freaking adorable. (The dog) 10. IT IS A BOOK ABOUT SPIES!!! Please read this book. Despite one paragraph that was a little odd (like in any good book), this book is b-e-a-utiful and it was really fun to read.
Actual rating: 2.5 stars. This is a light, frothy read that would pair well with Aly Carter's Gallagher Girls series or Michelle Jaffe's Bad Kitty series, and it'll appeal to readers who want a little spy action (but not too much) mixed in with all the boy-crushing that goes on, sort of like a sprinkle of nuts on a sundae. It starts off as a sort of Veronica Mars-lite story and I was digging it until the halfway mark, when the plot goes absolutely bananas and the characters lose all credibility, particularly Berry, who is clever and witty enough during the opening that I didn't expect her to be so obviously led around by the nose later. While it was too improbable and swooney-romancey for my tastes, it has its moments. I don't really see the connection to Pride & Prejudice, but maybe it's just been too long for me.
Solid 4 stars up until the second to last chapter. Loved the plot twists, there was even a point there where I was wondering "No way, are these guys Vampires or something?" and I had to double check that I was not reading Urban Fantasy. Way to mess with my head!
The action and climax were great but I deducted one star for the author completely flubbing the dismount / denouemont. It was both out of character and derivative.
If you like Veronica Mars, you will probably enjoy this book. But if you are expecting an serious homage to Pride and Prejudice set in High School, you will be disappointed.
The title is a joke, people. Stop giving this book lousy ratings because you expected a serious work of literature. That's like condemning Clueless for being a less than perfect adaptation of Emma!
*Actual Rating: 4.5* Spies? Pride and Prejudice? Sign me up! This is one of those books that you read in one sitting and then smile like an idiot the rest of the day. The characters are hilarious, and incredibly charming. There's just enough mystery to keep you hanging, and just enough romance to keep you swooning. There are a couple of bittersweet moments, but the lighthearted ending gives this book the perfect cheer-you-up tone. It was so cool looking in from a spy's POV. It seems like so much fun to be a spy, but I don't know if I would have the patience! Overall, this is an extremely fun book, and it was the perfect break from high-fantasy and paranormal. I would recommend it to fans of Veronica Mars, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, and, of course, Pride and Prejudice!
I'm annoyed. This book started out as being solid enough. Not great, but I didn't expect greatness. I expected a fun, fluffy, read based off of my favorite classic.
It used my favorite classic as a gimmick.
And to make matters worse, it twisted the knife further in the wound by making the Veronica Mars part of this book suck too.
As far as the actual form goes the book isn't bad. It was easy to read. I got through it in two days and considering my reading time is cut down to an hour to an hour and a half a day it's pretty amazing I got through it in two days. That being said, fast prose will only get you so far in life.
I think the biggest flaw this book had was its false advertising and then the fact that Vance didn't know how to pace things.
Ah, pacing how it alludes this book.
Too much time was spent on the actual set up, Berry being stupid, and suspecting everyone's dad of murder.
Yeah, that's pretty much 85% of the book.
And yes, everyone's dad is suspected at one time or another of murder.
Not going to go there because of spoilers. But the ending was just so ridiculous my mouth is still hanging open and not in a good way.
If this was the only issue, I probably would be pretty forgiving. Writing a mystery is tough. In fact, I'd say that next to word building, mystery plotting is probably one of the most difficult tasks to do when writing a book. However...it just wasn't the mystery element that was a flop.
It was the fact that the book sold itself to be a Pride and Prejudice retelling and other than using the same character set up-i.e. girl's best friend falls in love with rich boy who's snooty hot best friend disapproves but girl can't help but find herself drawn towards snooty hot best friend after being forced to be around with him for 2/3 of the book-there's really nothing remotely in common between this book in the Jane Austen classic.
Let's talk about Pride and Prejudice. It might appear to be a romantic comedy, but in reality it's a commentary on manners that have spawn many a bad modern retellings that I eat up like bad candy (seriously, Lifetime make one of these retelling into a bad movie I would appreciate it). While most of these retellings are pretty bad, they usually try to have the same spirit of the original novel. Darcy doesn't outright pursue Elizabeth. Elizabeth isn't a bitch. Bingley is spinless. And Jane is so nice you think she's really a robot.
This book doesn't follow through the formula. And while you might think that's a good thing, it's not when you hear Darcy throw some extremely lame pickup lines to Elizabeth.
Even the Wickham plot doesn't make much sense even though we do get a quasi fist fight between Darcy and Wickham.
I should tell you that the fist fight is just about as lame as the whole I'm going to hold a gun to your head and threaten to shoot your dog instead of you scene.
You know I love my pets, but if someone is holding a gun to you I really don' t think they are going to threaten your Beagle (or in this case, Saint Bernard). No. They're going to threaten you. And honestly, hasn't anyone heard of Beethoven that series of movies where that dog beats up bad guys? You don't mess with Saint Barnards.
Best Feature: Um, the sales pitch. While the book doesn't fall through on it. The sales pitch makes it something I want to read and that's how it probably sold, so you have to do give credit where it's due.
Worst Feature: False advertising. I thought this was going to be Veronica Mars meets Pride and Prejudice which would've been great. Instead, the characters are only slightly based off of the Austen characters-just enough where Vance could cash in on that fanbase- and had a really, really weak mystery which would have the real Ms. Mars laughing.
Appropriateness: There's some violence, I think they might've said a couple of curse words, and there's some kissing. Typical YA.
So first of all, this isn't really a spy story and it's not really a Pride and Prejudice makeover. The main character, Berry, works for her dad's (apparently amateur) private investigation business, spending her time tracking men with suspicious wives. What with her father being widowed and all, she could be a nod to Nancy Drew, only Berry has none of Nancy's class or charm. Or smarts. Actually she's a pretty annoying main character and I didn't like her much. As far as the P and P elements go, they were there at the beginning but faded out early on. The two main couples and a spy base known as "Pemberley" are about the extent of it, with the addition of a Wickham and a Mr. Collins. The author's take of Collins was probably the best of her translations.
The plot itself was kind of lame. Berry's stumbles on some vague leads that seem to suggest that her dead mother didn't commit suicide like the police report supposedly said. She questions her dad about it and he tells her to stay out of it. (And while we're on the point of her dad, worst dad ever! You can't just shut your teen daughter up how her mother died. Especially if you've taught her to spy and get answers. Honestly....) If fact, pretty much the only answer Berry gets out of anyone who she questions is "stay out of it". What follows is a giant misunderstanding in which Berry runs around with her teen friends and two hot guys and does teen drama.
Spoiler here: The end resolution of it all was soooo dumb. Turn's out that after Berry's murderer hunt, her mom is in fact alive and kicking. She faked her own death to protect her family after she got one threatening note and simply never turned back up for eight years. Not only is this a completely ridiculous way to resolve the plot but Berry's reaction was completely inconsistent with the character and human nature in general. She pretty much just shrugs it off and decides that things are fine the way they are and her dad has learned to be happy without their mom. The End.
Okay, so it's not horrible, but I didn't enjoy it much. I feel like this book should either have taken itself less seriously, (think Gallagher Girl goofiness) or just tried harder to be real.
Reading Spies and Prejudice is like reading an episode of Veronica Mars. It's fast-paced, quick-witted and so very fun. I read it in pretty much one sitting, falling in love with Talia Vance's writing and characters in the process. I also now want to be a super sleuth PI, but somehow I don't see that happening!
In Spies and Prejudice, our hero Strawberry 'Berry' Fields works for her dad's investigation business and is still grieving her mother's death eight years ago. She hangs out with her best friends Jason and Mary Chris Moss (genius, right?!), solving cases and digging up dirt for clients. Enter Tanner, Ryan and Drew, new guys on the high school scene who might just be vying for Berry's attention in more ways than one. Also, there might be more to her mother's death than meets the eye, which leads to Berry's biggest investigation yet.
Berry is my kinda girl, without a doubt. She's smart, independent and has a sarcastic mouth on her to rival my own. She's also completely stubborn and headstrong - whatever she wants to do, she'll do it, even if it means putting herself in danger. And Tanner, well... Tanner is one on his own, with washboard abs and hair that sticks up when he runs his hands through it. *sigh* Hello, new YA boy crush!
Obviously this book is a little far-fetched, just like Veronica Mars, but it's still believable. I like to think there are teen private investigators out there making schools safe for the masses, and that cool electronic gear really is that easy to make. Nothing in Spies and Prejudice is so over the top that it could never happen, it's just more unlikely than usual. The line between reality and fiction are blurred, but not so much that it isn't still easy to see.
This is the first book I've read by Talia Vance, but it won't be my last. Her writing is addictive, her story is enjoyable and her characterisation rocks. I'm not sure if Spies and Prejudice is the first book in a series but I hope there will be more. I need to know what happens to my new favourite investigator. Move over, Nancy Drew - Berry Fields is here to show you how it's done!
I felt like reading this because of the promised Pride and Prejudice retelling, but honestly, there wasn't enough to market it as a retelling, but too much to avoid spotting the similarities. It was a bit of a mess.
It wasn't believable at all, and the attempted twists were just confusing and badly done. The "espionage" was immensely juvenile and frustrating. I was ready to read something with action mixed with delicious romance, but something about teenagers and spying didn't work in this. (I do think it works in some other novels, but it sure failed miserably here.)
Finally, the massive amount of girl-on-girl hate emanating from the main character bothered me immensely. She was constantly saying things like "I'm not like other girls" or "I don't do girly things." As if being a girl is a negative thing. As if your worth only comes from being masculine. As if it's not possible to be feminine and kickass at the same time. What a disappointment. What a bitter disappointment.
The major sister-sister relationships, and mother-daughter relationships were missing, along with massive plot points. I still don't understand why it was marketed as a P&P retelling. It only had some very basic aspects from the story. Finally, the inclusion of a love triangle was pathetic, and the romance was mediocre at best. The famed tension between Elizabeth and Darcy was reduced to nothing more than awkward teenage angst.
Overall, it was disappointing, and it failed to capture the heart of Pride and Prejudice.
When I managed to score an ARC of Spies and Prejudice from Netgalley, I was over the moon as I had , had my eye on this book for months now but when I opened it - the book was totally different than what I had expected. I had expected from the title and what I had heard briefly about it - a modern spy rendition of Pride and Prejudice when in fact to me if I read hard enough and thought hard enough I could possibly make connections but it was more of a teen girl Spy Novel more than a modern rendition. Thank goodness though that I am a fan of this as I LOVE the former TV Show Veronica Mars and own all three seasons and have watched the DVDs on numerous occasions. In Spies and Prejudice we meet the main character Strawberry Fields aka Berry who has been working since she was eleven for her father's PI business , when out on surveillance - she spots her best friend's dad with an interesting bit of paper "a letterhead" with her dead mother's name on it. Soon Berry will uncover a conspiracy that has been hidden for eight years to whether or not her mother's death was an accident or not ? Spies and Prejudice is your average teen girl read from Spies to Hot Boys to High School and Parties. I do look forward to seeing whether or not Talia will take this book further and make it into a series. This book would have gotten a 5, but it was lacking the Austen Factor of which was the main reason I was so excited about reading the book in the first place.
A Pride and Prejudice/Veronica Mars mashup. Strawberry Fields has assisted her father's private investigations almost since she was eight, when her mother died in what is generally believed to be a suicide. Berry finds evidence that her best friend's father may have been involved, at the same time as she's dealing with the new hot jerk in town, who seems improbably interested in her despite being blown off rudely at every opportunity.
The charm of the conceit kept me involved for the first few chapters, but the impausibility of the spy and corporate espionage hijinks, the Inspector Gadget technology, and the shallowness of the characterization wore on me. By the end, Berry's angst over her hard-heartedness, inability to love, and betrayal by others was completely overblown -- as opposed to her angst over her mother's death and her need to find out what happened, which the book takes seriously but which her friends seem strangely underimpressed with. I was also disturbed by how little Berry's father and friends cared about her persistent sexual harassment by a minor character; her father forces her to spend to time with the kid because he's dating the kid's mother, one of Berry's friends keeps excusing the guy as "confused" and ends up dating him.
The emotional direction of the ending doesn't make a huge amount of sense, but it's probably setting up a sequel. I won't be reading it.
Didn't quite meet my expectations. I was hoping for a great read, but Spies and Prejudice had a few problems for me. 1) I didn't like Berry. I didn't think she had a reason to be mean to Tanner, but she was constantly at his throat when he was just trying to be nice. Besides, I didn't understand the point of her having the name "Strawberry Fields." It served no purpose and just made me not take her seriously. 2) The mystery in this book felt forced. I didn't feel like it flowed with the book and I never felt any of the thrills of a mystery. I can't say that I even cared about finding out the truth. 3) The drama in this book also felt forced. You know all the drama of the misunderstanding in Pride and Prejudice and how they flowed with the book. In this book, that didn't happen. It felt stilted, kind of like bad acting would. 4) I wasn't kept interested. To be honest, I only fully read the first half, then forced myself to skim the rest. I just couldn't make myself care about what was going on.
I'm so disappointed that I didn't like this book. I love Pride and Prejudice, so I hoped a retelling would be a good read. And I really like the author. Her Bandia series is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, this book didn't work for me. At all.
Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance This book is 1/3 Veronica Mars, 1/3 Elizabeth Bennet, and 1/3 Talia Vance's original awesomeness. She took two things I LOOOOVE and took her own spin on it. Although it's kind of a retelling of Pride & Prejudice, the characters aren't 100% like P&P Characters. Berry Fields is a bit sassy and definitely closed off to most people -- *cough* Tanner. I enjoyed the mix of who-dunnit, romance, and friendship. I kind of guessed the twist, but it didn't make this book any less enjoyable because it's all about the ride getting to that point. It's about Berry's personal growth and trusting people and finding out what happened to her mom on that fateful day 8 years ago.
TL;DR - This book was pretty stinkin' awesome. Sometimes a little too close to being Veronica Mars, but as the story moves along, Berry gets into her own trouble. Very enjoyable and fast-paced read.
For Fans of: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Veronica Mars, and of course P&P.
My Thoughts: While I was not completely enamoured of this book, I have to admit I kind of got sucked into it. I wanted to know what happened to Berry's mom and what role each of the boys played in it. Honestly, I thought there wasn't much point to adding in the Pride and Prejudice story line. It didn't fit quite right, though I did enjoy some nods to the original. I thought it would have been stronger if it was just more of a spy/espionage/mystery than trying to be a retelling too. I'm not that clever at figuring things out, but I did actually guess a part of what happened to her mom. Despite some boring parts and a few ridiculous mistakes on Berry's part, not to mention the implausibility of the entire story, it was quick and entertaining. Full review at One Librarian's Book Reviews.