The Agency by Y.S. Lee (March 9th 2010--Candlewick)
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Summary: "Introducing an exciting new series! Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.
Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past."
Review: The Agency by Y.S. Lee has all the needed elements to make a fantastic read. In this historical mystery novel Mary is taking on her first case as an agent. The reader follows Mary as she uncovers the clues, pieces them together, and runs into a little trouble with the opposite sex, which of course is so bad it's has to be good right?
The thing with The Agency to me was the slowness of the actual plot. As a standalone novel The Agency fails to impress. As the first of a series, The Agency starts off tentatively to just give a hint of what's to come. But the issue was the way the plot sometimes strayed off. It gave more depth to the whole experience, but loses the attention of the reader. More often than naught I forgot the "true" plot was! I was so distracted by the plausible affairs.
When Steph Su updated her progress of The Agency on Goodreads exclaiming that she loved bantering between James and Mary, it had me excited! While there had been humorous bantering between the two I expected more. I'm hoping that my expectations will be fulfilled in the next addition to this series. What we were left in this novel was the perfect set-up for the romance.
Overall: The Agency, I would like to say, is the birth-child of The Gallagher Girls series and Sherlock Holmes tales.
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