Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee

The Body at the Tower (The Agency, #2)Title: The Body at the Tower
Author: Y.S. Lee
Source/Format: Purchased, Paperback
More Details: Young Adult, Historical, Mystery
Publisher/Publication Date: Candlewick Press, August 10, 2010

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Now nearly a full-fledged member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, Mary Quinn is back for another action-packed adventure. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, she must brave the grimy underbelly of Victorian London - as well as childhood fear, hunger, and constant want - to unmask the identity of a murderer. Assigned to monitor a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, Mary earns the confidence of the work crew, inching ever nearer her suspect. But if an irresistible desire to help the city's needy doesn't distract her and jeopardize her cover, unexpectedly meeting up with an old friend - or flame - just might...
So, I finally reread The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee. I was surprised by how much I didn’t remember about the book, but that made the reading experience all the more better. More often than not, I found myself getting into the book. The writing was highly engaging, and the plot ended up being really exciting and a complete page-turner as Mary Quinn took on her next case for the Agency.

Clearly, I now remember why I got into this series in the first place.

The Body at the Tower was basically about Mary and her continued employment with the Agency—which was an all-female agency of spies handling cases that are difficult to solve. The time period of the novel was historical, and featured many elements common to the genre. But, because of the setting, the continued existence of an organization like the Agency and its secretive activities was all the more awesome. Mary’s current case is as the title suggests, and her investigation takes her to the construction site where the clock tower is being built.

The plot, as I stated above, was really exciting even though I’ve read the book before. From the characters to the mystery, there were a lot of things I liked about The Body at the Tower. I was hooked again by Lee’s ability to craft a historical spy novel with plausible situations and emotional repercussions that worked well with the setting.

Mary’s backstory was pretty developed in the last book, but in The Body at the Tower, she grew even more. She had faults and emotions—some she understood well, and others she didn’t—and her past really shaped who she was. Mary was a well-rounded character.

Some of my other favorite characters from the last book were back—especially the “old friend” mentioned in the synopsis. I felt like that part of the story played out well, but never took the spotlight away from the mystery aspect of the novel.

Now, I’m really excited to reread the next book in the series, The Traitor in the Tunnel. Plus I’m going to look into getting the last book in the series. I don’t know when exactly I’ll get a copy, but I do want to see how it all ends for Mary and her friends.

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