Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book Review: Sekret by Lindsay Smith

Title: Sekret
Series: Sekret #1
Author: Lindsay Smith
Published: April 2014 by Macmillan
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Synopsis:An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.

This book was one of my top three most anticipated books of the spring. I did a Waiting on Wednesday post back in March explaining exactly why I was so excited to read a Historical Fantasy/Mystery set in Soviet Russia during the 1960s and how everything in this book is what that I love reading. So I got my hands on a copy awhile back but because of my themed months on the blog I had yet to read it. Then Violet from Paper Worlds and Swirls of Ink suggested we read the book together and I jumped at the opportunity. The book not only met but exceeded my expectations.

One of the best parts of this book for me was the world and historical setting. As Historical Fiction, the book takes actual events such as the space race and the Bay of Pigs invasion with figures of the time like Khrushchev to give the book a realistic significance. And like all good books in the genre it is well-researched and interesting. But what Lindsay did beautifully is take a period of history and a setting that is already interesting, and full of suspicion and conflict, and made it even more interesting by expounding on a speculative idea from the time, that they were experimenting with people who had psychic powers. The inclusion of the world of the teen psychics made the book much more complex and intriguing. Each of the characters in the books had their own unique power. The powers ranged from being able to read people's minds, see the future, and the ability to erase memories. Many of them were very cool powers including our main character Yulia's who could see the memories by touch. It reminded me a little bit of The Darkest Minds. I loved the world that Lindsay Smith created in Sekret.

But what hooked me on the book more than the world was the plot. This book was an absolute page-turner. It's been awhile since I read a spy thriller and that's exactly what this book felt like. The characters went on these exciting missions to find out important intel to help the KGB. The very first chapter is loaded with action and it doesn't slow down from there. There is never a dull moment as the book is full of thrills and mystery. I spent most of the book developing elaborate theories about what was happening and what was going to happen next. And while I was correct on a bunch of the big twists the book still managed to keep my interest and shocked me more than once. It was the kind of book that I would have liked to read in one sitting, if only life didn't get in the way!

And what also made the book even more interesting and thrilling was the characters. Like all good spy thrillers Sekret is full of suspicious people who make you wonder if they are good or evil. They're the kind of characters that make you question if they are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons or the wrong thing for the right reasons. Throughout the novel your opinion of many characters shifts and changes as you realize their motivations and view their actions in a different light. But even better than that, there is a sinister villain in this story that is totally intriguing and they perform more than one dastardly deed. In addition to the detestable characters there are also really likeable characters. Yulia is a great heroine, she's strong and sassy but is also motivated by a deeper goal of protecting her family. And there is a wonderful and swoonworthy romance in this book. I wouldn't quite call it a triangle but Yulia has two options for a relationship and they mirror her choices of staying in the KGB or leaving the psychic program. There are some really sweet and romantic moments that offset the hectic action of the plot.

 I give Sekret by Lindsay Smith a 9.5 out of 10 

It was a fantastic and action-packed book with a unique and exiting world that combined a historical setting with supernatural elements. The characters were complex and interesting, the plot was full of mystery and suspense, and there was a swoonworthy romance to balance it brilliantly. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Historical Fiction, Supernatural Fantasy, and especially people who like spy thrillers.


  1. Awesome review! I too put this in my tbr list immediately after seeing that cover art and hearing its synopsis. After seeing positive reviews about this and its setting, I just knew I had to read it!

  2. Great review! I've been wanting to read this one, and really wanted to read what you thought since I remember you mentioning how badly you wanted to read it. Glad it was a success! I'll definitely pick this one up soon. :)