Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Skandal - Lindsay Smith

[This is the second novel in this series, so there might be spoilers. Feel free to check out my review of Sekret instead!]

Skandal Lindsay Smith book cover
Skandal by Lindsay Smith
Series: Sekret #2
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

Life in Washington, D.C., is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia's allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international Skandal.

Lindsay Smith’s impressive debut Sekret is followed up by the equally well-told Skandal. The change in setting, tone and stakes does not phase this author at all! Smith demonstrates a mastery in the combination of action, subterfuge and human history into one compelling YA novel. Once I’d started Skandal, it was quite difficult to put down since I just wanted to know what would happen to Yulia and her friends with every chapter.

Admittedly, for me, there was still a distinct lack of character connection with anyone in Skandal. Yulia, even with her cool ability and strong loyalty and sense of right, still feels like someone I’m watching through a glass wall. And Valentin, though we see another side to him, feels so far away. There are other familiar faces that crop up throughout the novel, some welcome, some not-so-welcome, but easily filed into the categories of good or bad. 

But it’s the new characters that get a chance to shine, from Yulia’s English instructor to her CIA team. And there’s none more fascinating than her father. Readers will recall him mentioned in the first novel quite often, but in this one, we get to experience what it’s like for Yulia to be living with him in the USA. Smith wrote him to be a complicated chameleon of a guy – which is really intriguing.

Really, it is still the story that shines in Skandal. I honestly had no idea where Smith was going to take Yulia’s tale, but the way it plays out was pretty stunning. The setting now in Washington DC, the different team dynamic with the CIA recruits – it changed the entire tone of this story. Personally, it was interesting to consider the differences and similarities between Yulia’s life then and her life now. It added another dimension to this already engaging tale! It’s pretty cool to see how Smith manages to convey the same immediacy, fear and high stakes in Sekret, but via a whole new plot and set of questions that need answers. 

The only other reservation I had was in terms of the ending, since it ended a bit too neatly for me. Still, reading about Yulia, her loved ones and all of the high stakes that are surrounding them at every turn was absolutely worthwhile. It’s another adventure for Yulia and a reading experience jam-packed with intrigue and action for the reader. In case it wasn’t obvious already. I’d definitely recommend Skandal and its predecessor Sekret!

2 comments:

  1. I have Sekret in my TBR pile, so I've skimmed a bit over the review to try and avoid spoilers, and I'm glad to hear that you think both are well worth reading!

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  2. I had to skim a little because I haven't read Sekret yet but I'm so glad you found this sequel compelling! Lindsay Smith sounds like an incredibly talented storyteller so I'm excited to get started on the series, hopefully soon! :D Awesome review, Alexa!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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