Spies and Prejudice: Talia Vance

 They’re not even trying to hide the fact that the MC is obviously a Veronica Mars ripoff. 

General Summary: Berry Fields (Seriously, that’s her name.  And no, her parents aren’t celebrities) works as a private eye and overhears some douche say she’s only somewhat doable despite the fact he hits on her practically from page one.  Oh, and she’s also trying to figure out her mom’s death.

Review:

Ugh.

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.

Sigh.
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.

But there’s….

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.

Blockbuster Worthy: Um, not really.  If I want to watch Veronica Mars I’ll watch my DVDs or wait for the movie. If I want to watch Pride and Prejudice  I’ll watch either the Firth version or if I’m feeling adventurous I’ll watch the fictional fantasy fulfilled version of it (a.k.a. Lost in Austen).  There’s really no reason to cast.

Overall Rating: Three out of ten Darcys.  I started out thinking I’d give this book a six or a seven, midway through a five or a four, and it just continued deteriorating.  It was enjoyable enough, but I sort of regret buying it.  The Pride and Prejudice connection was very loose and the end was a cheap shot.  Overall, I cannot in good conscience recommend reading this.  You’ll just get angry and want to go all Catherine de Bourgh on this book.

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2 thoughts on “Spies and Prejudice: Talia Vance

  1. It sounds really bad to me actually. I have written my own retelling of P&P before so I tend to be critical of them since I know how hard they are and they aren't, and this sounds like it just took the name to try to evoke a feeling but never actually committed or delivered P&P goodness, just rode on it's coattails.

  2. Yeah, really bad is a good way to describe it. I really didn't see much of the Pride and Prejudice connection at all save for a borrowing or two of lines in the beginning of the book. But both the MC's were way, way, off. The whole P.I. storyline wasn't that great either.

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