Showing posts with label spies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spies. Show all posts

Monday, 4 February 2019

Kensy and Max Undercover


Kensy and Max Undercover by Jacqueline Harvey (Random House Australia) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 978014379104

Reviewed by Max Emmerson

This is the third book in a series about twins, Max Grey and his sister Kensington who are undercover agents-in-training at Pharos, a covert international spy network. In the first book, the twins’ lives are turned upside down when they are whisked off to London and discover their parents (both agents) are missing. In attempting to uncover the truth, strange things happen as they enter a weird new school, come across bizarre grannies on their street, and keep finding coded messages and adults who keep secrets. Who can they trust?

In the latest book of the twins’ adventures, the prolific Australian author Harvey helps any reader new to the series with clues at the front of the book: two maps, one of Sydney, the other of Cherry Tree Farm. As well, there are three comprehensive pages of the cast of characters (so many!), and then over seven pages of ‘Case Note 17’ which fills the reader in on what has preceded the current book. Again, these notes are comprehensive and filled with characters and places, recounting fieldwork undertaken by the twins, their skills, strengths and vulnerabilities, their training and more.

This is a lot to take in before moving on to the current state of play. The Undercover book starts with Kensy and her science partner in class almost burning down the lab and causing the evacuation of students. The next chapter switches to (Granny) Cordelia Spencer, who, the earlier notes tell us, is a Dame and Head of Pharos. More characters appear…There’s so much to take in. Next Granny ships the twins off from England to Australia on an undercover mission. There the two are enrolled in a posh Sydney school where their spying skills are used to infiltrate and befriend students.

Every chapter of the book begins with an incomprehensible row of letters: if the reader wants to decipher them, there’s a code-breaker at the back of the book.

Many characters, twists and turns, mysteries and fast-paced action: these abound in this book which no doubt will be followed by yet another in the series. Suitable for ages 9+ years.



Sunday, 28 February 2016

Johnny Danger: Lie another Day

Johnny Danger: Lie another Day by Peter Millet (Puffin Books) PB RRP $14.99

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Wow, this is a busy book with so much happening that at times I must confess I wasn’t really sure what was happening. The action is certainly fast-paced with the ultimate goal of the protagonist and friends saving the planet from Weapons of Gas Destruction (there is a major farting antagonist, The Blank Space). The book abounds with slapstick humour and features some wacky secondary character such as Major Pain, Dr Disastrous and Agent Pounds.

Jonathan Dangerfield, boy wonder, aka Johnny Danger, is joined by his spy team, Tim Lee and Penelope Pounds as they head off to a remote Amazonian jungle village to confront old foes. Using crazy gadgets and with numerous references to computers and social media, they also employ bungee bogies in their quest.


This a book for readers (probably boys) aged 9+ years who enjoy adventure and lots of nonsense with battles between secret spies, eccentric and mad villains, and double agents. Oh, and there is also an annoying brother, school scenes and numerous codes to be broken. There is plenty here to engage readers.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

EJ12 Girl Hero: Spooked!

EJ12 Girl Hero: Spooked! by Susannah McFarlane (Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 978-1-92193-150-5
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Shine’s EJ12 (known also as twelve-year-old schoolgirl Emma Jacks), is now the leader of her own team. She is very excited about being OM (On Mission) with her friends, but is she brave enough for this particularly scary mission? She cannot watch the whole of Fright School, a scary zombie movie that everyone else seems to have watched. So will she find the courage to see this scary task through?

Across England, castles are being broken into at the stroke of midnight by Lady Darcy Kerrin, the ghost of historic bad girl and lady-in-waiting to the queen. Lady Darcy is also believed to be one of the original members of Shadow, the evil agency that Shine is battling against.

This mission gives EJ12 a chance to see her friend EK12, solve more baffling codes and discover some truths about her own ancestry, but she and her team are working against the clock to outsmart some very scary spirits.

Spooked! is the 17th title in this popular spy series for young girls and this one will give an edge of thrill as ghosts, bats and haunted castles come into play.