Review! Spy School Goes South

Author: Stuart Gibbs

352 Pages

Published by: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Summary:

Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley has been caught in the snares of SPYDER more than once and knows well enough to be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true—despite needing special tutoring in advanced survival techniques. So when Murray Hill finally breaks his silence with an offer to hand over the SPYDER elite, Ben knows that there must be something going on. But his hesitation doesn’t stop the assignment.

The Mission: Follow Murray Hill to an undisclosed location with no one else but Erica Hale to identify SPYDER leadership. Once found, contact the CIA to sweep in and finish the job. DO NOT CONTACT SPYDER DIRECTLY.

However, as Ben suspected, nothing goes as planned, and what should be an easy mission quickly turns deadly. Now, Ben and Erica will have to face rogue agents, trained killers, and even very hungry crocodiles in a race against the clock to find out what SPYDER is up to this time—and thwart their evil plans.

Pre-Thoughts:
It was recently my birthday and my friend bought me this book. He sort of tricked me into telling him I wanted it. He knows I love the bookstore and one evening when I wanted to get out he suggested the bookstore. When I walk into the bookstore I immediately gravitate to the books I want. I’ve been wanting to read this one, but haven’t bought it because it was just too expensive in hardcover. I feel sort of bad because there were plenty of softcover books that I wanted. But, what’s done is done. And I’m still excited to read this.

Post-Thoughts:
Something that has been bothering me in the last couple books is Ben’s obsession with Erica even though she treats him pretty poorly. Erica’s clear disregard for the well-being of Ben and the other spies is minorly disconcerting. Because of this, I was pretty happy by what was happening between Ben and Zoe. Or, at least, that they were trying to work things out. I don’t really like the conclusion that Ben came to, mostly because he’s giving Zoe the same excuse that Erica is giving him. It was adorable to see Ben irrationally jealous whenever Zoe interacts with another boy. I can’t say I’m rooting for them specifically, but at this point I’m rooting for any outcome where Ben does not get with Erica.

Stuart Gibbs

I also wasn’t too crazy about the scene where Erica’s mother is threatening the yacht with a grenade launcher and Josh calls her on the bluff. I didn’t like it because it’s clearly a bluff. I know this isn’t James Bond and she doesn’t really have a license to kill, but it just seems stupid to try that when we all know it’s a bluff. I know the intended purpose was to distract everyone so Erica could switch the detonator’s, but still I thought it could have been played off better. It’s just so obvious. That’s one thing about the good guys in these types of books, they never want to use fatal force even when they know it’ll save them a lot of headache in the future. I suppose one could admire their stubbornness to remain the “good guys.”

I liked the setting, especially when they first make it to Mexico. The jungle and cave scenes were interesting and I liked how the characters explored one of those caves and were then able to make use of them later. It really made the usage of the early cave scenes seem more important. I love it when authors make use of earlier parts of their books. It really makes it feel like a story as opposed to a bunch of collected scenes.

Overall, a nice addition to the series. There is a specific plot dangler at the end of this book, which should lead nicely into the next one. Speaking of the next book, it’s coming out relatively soon. I’m impressed with the speed in which the next one will be coming out. You can bet that I’m going to be reading it soon after it is released.

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