United We Spy: Ally Carter

My name is Cammie Morgan and I used to be a spy.

Oops, wrong character and wrong program.

 

Sort of.

Honestly though, Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series has evolved into an episode of Burn Notice if it had Covert Affairs slightly dumber baby.

That’s not entirely a bad thing.

In a lot of ways it breathed life into what otherwise had a tendency to be a rather fluff oriented YA series with the mentions of spies in there for the pitching purpose.

I’ll admit a book or two of this sort of series I’d buy, but for longevity purposes…no.  It just doesn’t work.

Luckily for Carter, she decided to add a plot halfway through the series.  But unfortunately for her, it also made the series a bit disjointed.

And there were definitely jumping the shark moments.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book by itself.  I thought it was pretty action paced and it really was like watching a TV show-minus Jeffrey Donovan’s butt, though there’s plenty of book eye candy to make up for it.  It was just that…well, the tone in the last few installments in this series is just too different than the first.

And yeah, I as I said before I get why Carter had to do it.  And if this would’ve been a standalone I would’ve been wowed.  This book kept me on edge, but a series finale?

Sigh.

It’s true most of the loose ends are tied and we find out what happens to Cammie and the rest of the gang, but I felt like Carter lost the spirit of the original novel.  And what the heck ever happened to Josh?  I almost feel like now that I could skip the first, maybe even the second book in the series and be okay.

I guess it sort of helps that I had no idea what I was reading for about fifty pages because it’s been like a year and a half since the last one of these books have been released.

But I’m always confused.  And noticing the difference in tone is a bit different than details.

Another issue I had with this book is how far away it’s gotten from reality.

I get it’s a book about spies.  But the Gallagher Girls world has always been more rooted in realism like the USA shows than more Bond or Austin Powers like.

Stuff that happened in this book was more Bond like.  Okay, so there’s no Aston Martin or cool gadgets, but there are moments where you have to just let go of all logic and thought.

Yes, I get it’s the spy genre.  But really, really.

Have an element of realism.

Yes, I guess there were some moments, but honestly Cammie really wasn’t that great of a spy throughout the majority of this one. She should’ve been caught and killed by the Circle several times.  I felt like the resolution was just too easy.

Did that take away from my enjoyment of the book…yes and no.  It reminds me sort of one my favorite movies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Yes, I like that Indiana Jones movie even though most of the critical universe hates it.  And I can perfectly understand their hatred.  Short Round is annoying.  Willie Scott…well, she should just be glad she married the director.  But there’s something about the movie that is just charming to me.  It’s cheesiness, the fact that the plot is so overly dramatic, or maybe the fact that it just works with what it has.  That’s what this book sort of reminds me of, but its better than the movie (sort of).  Like the movie, it has very glaring faults.  Fans of the series are probably going to ignore them and just enjoy reading their series finale.

For me though, while I did enjoy reading this book and am glad that Carter has written a relatively satisfying conclusion that involved no demon babies or teen marriage, admittedly I’m still slightly dissatisfied.  And I don’t entirely blame her.  I almost feel like this series was written into a corner.  The first book read like a standalone, the second seemed to have more of a series feel but still…then the third and after total departure.  While it was exciting it did jump the shark and I feel the original tone of the series is long lost just like the character Josh (who btw, I never really did like, but I would’ve liked to known what happened to him).

Overall Rating: Seven out of ten secret agents.  A good book, but not my favorite installment of the series.

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