Tuesday, January 21, 2014
By Robin Benway
Walker Children's, 2014
Reviewed from e-galley
Audience: Ages 14 to 18
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
After being a teen-aged spy, Maggie is settling into normal life in New York with her parents, her best friend, Roux, and her boyfriend, Jesse. It's all SAT prep and sweltering summer heat when a new threat arises. A member of the Collective has accused Maggie's parents of stealing evidence and it looks like their lives are about to change. Maggie seems to be the only one that can prove their innocence, but it means going up against another Collective bigwig, Dominic Arment, who seems bent on repurposing the Collective for his own gains. Unfortunately, Maggie is not alone and ends up bringing Roux and Jesse along on an adventure that no signed up for. Slow to start but ultimately engaging, Going Rogue shows that Maggie and her crew aren't done yet.
I learned at ALA this summer that there would in fact be a sequel for Also Known As, probably one of my favorite spy caper books. I was also really excited to be asked to be part of the Also Known As spy team, which you can tell took up a large amount of my time and energy and let me with little blog content. Not really, it was all fun and games.
Yes, slow to start. Maggie is trying to be a normal teen, and even though the central conflict is introduced early when Maggie walks in on her parents and Angelo blaring classical music to scramble bugs during a private conversation, the action is slow. And the whole episode with Colton Hooper is relived entirely too many times. I do wish that I had kept track of how many times Roux mentioning breaking his nose, or Jesse mentioning that they were in mortal peril, or Maggie telling how she was chased by a helicopter, but let's just say it got old. It was more than a recap for those that didn't read AKA or that had forgotten the conclusion, it was annoyingly repetitive.
But once we had a villain-Dominic Arment-and a purpose-steal priceless gold coins-and a shootout-more helicopters piloted by villains-where do they find these evil pilots?-, we had a story about half way through. Then we're off to Paris, there is great doubt about everyone's safety, Roux falls in love (likely the most unbelievable event of the book) and dubious plots are foiled. The end.
Again, the characters, not the plot, are the strong point. Roux is again a star as she is tough yet vulnerable at points. Jesse is a little lackluster, but he's just the boyfriend, so really compared to most literary boyfriends he has much more backbone. And I seriously want an Angelo in my life. Someone that randomly appears to give me impossible locks, perfectly forged passports and stunning Parisian flats, and look good doing it. Maggie again must be her adorkable self, awkward and confident, talented with a safe, but not with people, and resourceful. She turned fashion jewelry into a weapon. When are the limited edition compass and knife necklaces going to be available, because I'll take one in silver.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the book. Maybe it's uneven pacing had more to do with the fact that I read it unevenly, meaning I read in fits and starts, hardly sitting to finish whole chapters. I hate reading like that, but I have serious winter-induced ADHD this year. Instead of hibernating with a good book, I'm just plain hibernating.
Overall, Going Rogue is another great spy-caper and I can tell I'll stick around for this series, since I'm sure Angelo will be back with another assignment soon. But what should I read to get myself out of this winter funk? Any suggestions? Maybe something beachy, or a reread from warmer times? What are you reading to get through this winter?
Stay warm and happy reading!