Review: Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance

spies and prejudiceSpies and Prejudice
Author: Talia Vance
Publisher: Egmont
Age Group: Teen
Source: ARC from Publisher
Good Reads  |  Amazon
Rating: 2.75 out of 5
Release Date: June 11, 2013

Summary from GoodReads:

Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death.

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.


2.75 out of 5 It was okay.  I didn't hate it, but I had a few problems with it.

2.75 out of 5
It was okay, but I had a few problems.

My Thoughts

I know, you guys are probably sick of hearing me profess my love of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.  I know I am always bringing up how much I love P&P, and I also enjoy books based on P&P.  My favorite is Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, but I also enjoyed Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field, Prom & Prejudice and Epic Fail.  So when I heard about Spies and Prejudice . . . yeah, I was pretty darn excited.  And when the publisher contacted me to see if I wanted to review an ARC I jumped at the chance.  But as you can see from my rating, I wasn’t madly in love with Spies and Prejudice, unfortunately.

So, Spies and Prejudice isn’t exactly a retelling of Pride and Prejudice.  This is not a bad thing, and I had no problem whatsoever that Vance was more inspired by certain parts of P&P but added her own thing.  I actually think it’s great when author’s don’t try to do a scene to scene retelling, because that doesn’t always work.  Of course there is the “Lizzy” character, Berry, although her personality doesn’t strongly represent THE LIZZY.  And there are the Jane (Mary Chris), Bingley (Ryan), Darcy (Tanner), Wickham (Drew) and Mr. Collins (Collin) characters.  Vance definitely added bits of the original characters’ personalities to her respective characters, but they definitely aren’t carbon copies.  Again, this didn’t bother me.  I think it’s good for author’s to do their own thing.

So let’s talk about Berry, first, since she’s the main character and we read the story from her point of view.  At first, I got a kick out of Berry.  She works for her father, a private investigator, and I got a real Veronica Mars feel.  Unfortunately as I read more and more of the story, Berry really frustrated me.  Berry wasn’t as snarky as Veronica.  She was just kind of annoying.  I understood why she was kind of obsessed with a certain something, but she didn’t have to be such a jerk sometimes.

As for the secondary characters, even including the Darcy character, I was just sort of meh about.  I don’t think any of them were superbly developed, although I wouldn’t say they were poorly developed, either.  I just felt like Vance could have fleshed these characters out a little bit more.

What frustrated me the most about this book was the basic story.  At first I was enjoying the story, and seeing Berry give Tanner a lot of attitude when they first meet was fun.  But then the story got kind of silly and a little unbelievable.  Not to mention that I kind of new all the major twists before they happened (Although, honestly, that didn’t bother me).  Just some of the actions of the characters didn’t make a ton of sense.  Here’s a pretty much spoiler-free example.  Berry decides she needs to get in touch with a specific someone who she cut ties with.  So she drives to this person’s place of work, but instead of calling this someone (she has said someone’s cell number), she devises this insane way to get into the building (it’s locked).  Why didn’t she just use the phone?  That person would have come down to talk to Berry.  Also, the way Berry gets into this building was kind of silly, and the fact that she just had those specific tools she needed (I’m not talking a screwdriver here, people!) in her bag was weird.  It was not something that people, even  private investigators, would carry with them.

For the most part, the writing was fine.  Not amazing, but not bad, either.  However there were a few phrases that were repeated an awful lot, that I started to notice.  The way Vance describes Tanner voice, and how Berry was always calling the people she was investigating as “marks” did pull me out of the story a bit.  These are fairly small complaints, though.

Spies and Prejudice started off strong for me, but as I continued with the book, the story got a little too unbelievable for me.  This is not a bad book, but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping for.  If you are a Pride and Prejudice purist, you probably won’t enjoy this one.   But if you like P&P, and enjoy seeing other authors rework the story, you might want to give this one a try.  Also, if you like spy stories (along the lines of Gallagher Girls) you might want to look into Spies and Prejudice.  But I do recommend trying to get it from the library, or when the ebook is on sale.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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4 Responses to Review: Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance

  1. Christina says:

    I have an ARC of this one too and was looking forward to it, but I’ve read some mixed reviews. It’s a bummer that this one feel short for you. I was hoping for the whole Veronica Mars vibe as well– too bad the main character is annoying! I am still going to give this one a try, but thanks for the heads up regarding some of the novel’s issues. Great review, Quinn!

  2. You are my P&P expert so if you didn’t like it I know I won’t! Too bad..sounded like fun!

  3. I love P&P inspired books too. But, based on your review and others I’ve read, I may be skipping this one. Very thoughtful review!

  4. I haven’t heard very good things about this one. Which is a shame because it sounds like it has a lot of potential. Good review! Love your honesty!

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