La Petite Américaine's Reviews > The Secret Speech

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Feb 22, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: sucked, guilty-pleasures, rants


The brilliance of Child 44 came from two simple and intertwined themes: the nightmare of Stalinist Russia which created an environment of mistrust and betrayal. In Child 44, a child serial killer is running rampant, there's mystery the of the children at the beginning of the story, and the tyrannical government that turns its own people into traitors. To put it simply, the bad guys were nowhere and everywhere all at once, and you had no idea who was who.

And along came Khrushchev ... and along came The Secret Speech. The bad guys are no longer hidden in back alleyways with trenchoats and big fur hats, they're not former friends turned informants any more. Noooo, now the bad guys are in your face. We now have a boring, totally unbelievable female character who managed to live through some death camps, became the leader of an all-male gang, and seeks revenge (my God what an original plot twist! revenge!) on her former interrogator, the hero from the first novel. I suppose this could work if the book were well-written. It wasn't. I've read cereal boxes with better stories and comic books with better action scenes, and I'm pissed off that I found grammatical mistakes and spelling errors (no shit) in a book I spent the last 3 months waiting eagerly to read. The writing was rushed and some of these scenes I swear were stolen from movies. UGH. Waste of time.

2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Secret Speech.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

February 22, 2009 – Shelved
May 9, 2009 –
page 198
47.6% "so bad i'm about to start screaming. what a rip. the first was so good. :("
Started Reading
May 13, 2009 – Shelved as: sucked
May 13, 2009 – Shelved as: guilty-pleasures
May 13, 2009 – Finished Reading
March 21, 2012 – Shelved as: rants

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Phil (new)

Phil Oh no! I read Child 44 based on your review (it was very good- kind of reminded me of Martin Cruz Smith & his Arkady Renko books) and I was looking forward to reading this one! Why is it so bad?

message 2: by Leaking (new)

Leaking Lewis I am not as critical and Thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps because I can't get enough of totalitarian state intrigue. If you love "Child 44" I think you will enjoy this one.

La Petite Américaine @leaking: have you tried the third in the series yet? I'm into totalitarian state stuff, too, but this one just didn't do it for me. :(

message 4: by Leaking (new)

Leaking Lewis @LPA I have it on epub - just haven't started it yet. Agent 6 is the title. I'm easily entertained but I kind of liked "the hold theif" and the sam eastland novels about soviet russia.

Carlos Alonso-Niemeyer The third one is pretty good too, but the first one was the best. However, you have to see the whole trilogy as one project.
The truth is that it was very difficult to believe that after all that
happened on Child 44, the main character could just re-start his
life all over again.
The third does take a leap into America in the 80's. The beauty of the first one was the remote idea of Russia in Stalin's times. It is more foreign for the readers than modern day settings.
Pettit, we sill love you and look forward to future recommendations.
Carlos ( a fan ).

La Petite Américaine You're too good to me, Carlos. :)

back to top