Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Good characters, fast paced plot, fun
Cons: None on either side of the pond
The Bottom Line:
Trail leads to England
Gives us another wild ride
Filled with heart and fun
Can Ben Track SPYDER Without Causing an International Incident?
The previous book in the Spy School series was the first time that we actually left the United States in our quest to vanquish the evil organization SPYDER. Of course, since Ben Ripley, our main character, is only thirteen, it makes sense, right? However, in the last book, Ben was in Mexico, and now he’s leaving our continent for Europe in Spy School British Invasion.
Before we go any further, I do want to issue a minor spoiler warning, not for my review but the book in general. Because this book picks up moments after the end of Spy School Goes South, it naturally discusses the events of that book, especially the climax. So, if you want to read that book and be completely surprised, you’ll need to pick it up first. Honestly, that’s no issue at all. In fact, I highly recommend this entire series and reading it in order. They are all so much fun.
Anyway, on to this book.
Ben Ripley and his team of fellow spies think they have been handed the key to finally taking down the evil organization SPYDER. As it so happens, the key is a literal key. Ben’s friends piece together that it most likely belongs to a storage space under the British Museum. Since no one knows who in the CIA is really a SPYDER double agent, only Ben and his friends from Spy School can be trusted to go and retrieve whatever the item might be. And so Ben, Mike, Zoe, Erica, and Erica’s parents make their way to London. What will they find when they land?
Those who have been reading all along will recognize SPYDER since they’ve been a thorn in Ben’s side from the very first book – originally trying to recruit him as a double agent and then trying to kill him when those plans failed. It’s no surprise that we are battling them again, although what we learn about them along the way here does include a surprise or two.
Like early books in the series, the plot is a wild ride. There are multiple action sequences and close calls as Ben and the rest of the characters run from one dangerous situation to another all in their quest to defeat SPYDER. If it all feels a bit over the top at times, I’m sure that’s on purpose. I’m equally certain that kids won’t mind at all; I know I don’t.
Underlying all the life and death action is the humor. This book will make you laugh. Heck, I chuckled at something on the very first page. I might not have been laughing out loud quite as much as I was with the previous book, but I was definitely still laughing and enjoying the antics of all the characters, both good and bad.
But here’s the thing – those characters are still very real. They might come across as larger than life at first, but everyone has a moment or two that shows they are human. I loved seeing some of these characters in a very different light before the book was over.
Once again, author Stuart Gibbs has woven together a spy thriller that is perfectly entertaining for the target audience of middle grade readers as well as older readers. Grab your passport in book form and enjoy Spy School British Invasion.