Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen [Book review]
Title: Orphan Monster Spy
Author: Matt Killeen
Source: Usborne book club
A TEENAGE SPY.
A NAZI BOARDING SCHOOL.
THE PERFORMANCE OF A LIFETIME.
I read this book a while ago but am about to embark on the sequel ready for our book club meet at the end of this month. With that in mind I thought I would review the first book to get it fresh in my mind again!
I really enjoyed this book. I found it entertaining and harrowing at the same time. The subject matter was so intense but written in such a charismatic way that I was able to wade through the historical references with relative ease.
THE DEADLIEST WEAPON IS A GIRL WITH NOTHING TO LOSE.
Orphan - Monster - Spy. One young girl becomes all of these characters while trying to infiltrate a Nazi led boarding school in Germany as a Jewish girl undercover during World War 2. It is told from the perspective of Sarah, a young jewish girl, during a period of time when she is victimised and persecuted for her race. It shows her struggle against the oppressive forces and her determination to bring them down.
They think she is a terrified little girl. But she is a weapon they never saw coming.... with a mission to destroy them all.
Although written in the perspective of a 15 year old girl I felt this story had less of a young adult vibe than some others I have read. She was articulate, clever and acted beyond her years. There were some instances where it focused on the immature side of her life such as interactions with other girls at school and behaviours (hers and theirs) that reminded the reader she was a young girl.This kept the storyline more realistic and believable I felt. As even though she was acting very well as a spy in a world that she was not ready for, she was still a child and these interactions reminded us of this fact.
On the whole I felt the subject matter and content seemed older and more intense than other YA fiction. The detail of the Nazi life and beliefs of some characters was amazing and I became so hooked towards the last quarter of the book I could barely put it down. While the subject matter was a little uncomfortable in parts it still gripped me. I found I learned a lot more about that time that I didn't know, which I am sure is the aim of any writer! You can see that the author spent a lot of time researching his subject to make it as accurate as possible, as explained in his end notes, much of the story is based on fact. He managed to evoke more feelings of horror from me about a period of time I already knew to be horrific.
I found a lot of the writing almost lyrical in its description and detail. The protagonist was clever, articulate, athletic, impressive and Captain Floyd was an intriguing character who left you wanting more. The story was informative, interesting, extremely gripping and shocking in parts. I highly recommend it.
I hope the sequel gives me as much excitement as this first book and a bit more insight into Captain Floyd's character. His background was touched on in the first book but there is much more to delve into beneath the surface for him.
I would definitely recommend this book. Especially for those who think YA is not for them. This will have you changing your mind. It is a definite page turner!
About the Author
Matt Killeen was born in Birmingham and, like many of his generation, was absorbed by tales of war and obsessed with football from an early age. Guitars arrived at fourteen, wrecking any hopes of normality.
He has had a great many careers - some creative, some involving laser guns - and has made a living as an advertising copywriter and largely ignored music and sports journalist. He fulfilled a childhood ambition and became a writer for the world’s best-loved toy company in 2010.
He lives near London with his soulmate, children, dog and musical instruments, looking wistfully north at a hometown that has largely been demolished and rebuilt in his lengthy absence. You can follow him on Twitter @by_Matt_Killeen