Book Review: The Windy City

The Windy City
I, Q #5
by Roland Smith & Michael P. Spradlin

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Children’s spy thriller

Spoiler notice: The following review will contain some spoilers for the previous books in the series, starting with Independence Hall.

New step-siblings Q (short for Quest) and Angela continue to trail a ghost terrorist cell along with SOS, a team made up mostly of retired operatives from the CIA and other organizations. Angela’s mother is climbing her way toward the top of the ghost cell, but the danger is getting higher all the time. Meanwhile, Boone may not be the only one with a mysterious ability, and there seems to be a mole on the SOS team or amongst their allies.

Here we have part 5 of the series-long story, the kind of series that you really need to start from the beginning. A lot more happened in this book than in the previous, which I’m glad for, because the previous wasn’t as interesting as the earlier books in the series had been. I was concerned the second half of the series would end up being a let-down compared to the first half. I can’t say that we get much in the way of answers in this book, but there were certainly some revelations. And the story really moved forward, with action comparable to what we see in the rest of the series.

One thing I’ve begun to notice in this book is that Q, as the main character, isn’t the stereotype we might expect in a book like this—an action-loving kid who has taken to all of this adventure and danger. He’s anxious and jumpy and will probably need some therapy in the future. It makes for a much more realistic story, even while there are some unrealistic things happening as well. I do wish the author had had the foresight to realize he might want to include some scenes from the POV of someone other than Q later in the series, though, and not started it in 1st person. I’m not a fan of changing between 1st and 3rd. Overall, though, I’m really interested to see how this series ends.

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: The Alamo

The Alamo
I, Q #4
by Roland Smith & Michael P. Spradlin

My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: Children’s spy thriller

Spoiler notice: The following review will contain some spoilers for the previous books in the series, starting with Independence Hall.

New step-siblings Q (short for Quest) and Angela continue to trail a ghost terrorist cell along with SOS, a team made up mostly of retired operatives from the CIA and other organizations. Angela’s mother is climbing her way toward the top of the ghost cell, but the danger is getting higher all the time. Meanwhile, something strange is going on with Boone, and is Q’s dad friend or foe?

Here we have part 4 of the series-long story, the kind of series that you really need to start from the beginning. This is the first book that is co-written by another author, but it’s not super noticeable to me. Though I will say that this is the first book that starts with a list of all of the characters and a recap of past events, which my aging memory appreciated. Overall, though, it doesn’t feel particularly new. None of the questions from the last book are answered and are really only muddied more. The characters gain a very small amount of ground, and some of the plot points feel like a rehash.

There’s still a lot of action, and I like the way that the series moves around the country to different major locations. I think there are some discrepancies regarding the relative placements of the Alamo Plaza and the San Fernando Cathedral, an area I’ve studied recently for my job (https://www.getbeyondthewalls.com/), so that brought me out of the story a little. However, I’m still really interested in seeing where the rest of this series goes.

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!