September 14, 2015

Review: Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown

by Teri Brown
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 20th 2015
by Balzer + Bray

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Libba Bray comes this page-turning historical spy thriller from Teri Brown, author of the Born of Illusion series.

Samantha Donaldson's family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, mathematics, and complex puzzles, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women's spy group La Dame Blanche, she's torn—while this could be an unbelievable adventure, how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes she can't refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known only as Velvet. Deep undercover in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Sam must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she must fight a forbidden attraction to the enemy—a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Sam find Velvet before it's too late . . . for them both?

A thrilling story of one girl's journey into a deadly world of spy craft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.

VELVET UNDERCOVER was an okay read for me. The beginning was interesting, middle was eh, and ending was complete.

Sam is given the opportunity to do something great. At least that is what she is told. She decides to spy for La Dame Blanche not only for information on her missing father, but also because she is intrigued. She wants the adventure. What she doesn't realize is just how dangerous her mission really is. Her handler keeps things from her, and her trainer doesn't believes in her. She finds herself in a weird situation. She wants to prove herself, but not sure how to do it without coming off as weak, or a naive teen. I personally thought Sam was a strong character. Despite her fears, and all the worry, she refused to show her trainer or handler how scared she truly was. She jumped into things with a clear head, and was alert at all times. I loved that she wasn't a whiny character who constantly threw herself into danger when it wasn't necessary. Teri Brown would have completely lost me had that been the case.

The first quarter of the book had my full attention. The second quarter I have to admit, I wanted a little more. I sort of got bored and was waiting for something great to happen. Despite feeling this way, I still kept reading because I did like Sam and the predicament she was put in. The third quarter got a little interesting. Sam arrives at the palace, meets a swoon worthy guard, and makes a few friends. I was at the edge of my seat wondering if she would be caught, or if she would ever find Velvet?

I hate to say it, but the beginning and the last couple of chapters is where all the action is. Teri Brown gives you just enough in the middle to want to continue reading, but if you're expecting non-stop action and suspense, you won't find it in VELVET UNDERCOVER. I enjoyed it enough to finish the whole story, but I felt like something was missing. It just needed a little bit more. Of what? I am not sure. However, I did like the ending and the way everything wrapped up. It closes with the possibility of a sequel. I honestly would like to read a sequel. VELVET UNDERCOVER was more like an introduction to Sam and the whole spy world if you ask me. I would like to see Sam in a little more action and working closely with Velvet. :)



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