Friday, August 8, 2014

Sekret by Lindsay Smith Review

"An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive.

Russia's powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities for their psychic espionage program. Their mission: protect the Soviet space program from American CIA spies. Why shouldn't the KGB use any means necessary to make the young psychic cooperate? Anything to beat the American capitalist scum to the moon.

Yulia is a survivor. She won't be controlled by the KGB, who want to harness her abilities for the State with no regard for her own hopes and dreams. She won't let handsome Sergei plan her life as a member of elite Soviet society, or allow brooding Valentin to consume her with his dangerous mind and even more dangerous ideas. And she certainly won't become the next victim of the powerful American spy who can scrub a brain raw—and seems to be targeting Yulia."

1963. Espionage. The KGB. Mind Reading. The CIA. Sekret combine a bunch of elements, mixing it all up. I'm sure there are a few fans of espionage out there, right? Well, I know I'm one of them. I liked the movies (James Bond and Jason Bourne) except for the "re-entrance" scene in James Bond and read many of the books (from Alex Rider to the Gallagher Girls). James Bond's parts are always wrong. Too wrong. And my parents let me watch the movie when I was seven! 

Despite those emotionally scared eyes on my face, I will always have a place for espionage on my shelf. There is something about the secret, the lies, the truth that always fascinates me.

Sekret is a fun book. There are elements of danger and mind reading, not to mention torture (mind reading torture, if you understand what I mean). Yulia is taken by the KGB to be trained as a mind reader to steal information from the CIA. Or protect the Soviet space program. Whatever. They both mean the same thing. It is interesting to see Yulia's world, but I wished there is a stronger Author's Note in the back of the book (but then again, most readers don't bother to read Author's Note). The historical events in the book are touched upon, but mostly Yulia's escape from the KGB takes the bigger picture. Takes most of the bigger picture, I mean.

But it is pretty fun. And entertaining.

Yulia knows she has to run from the KGB. As she digs for secrets and truths inside other people's minds, she realizes the terrible possibilities. Her character development is great, and the author makes good use of the torture scenes. It is curiously interesting to see her with a heart out of the many lions and snakes with no hearts. She cares, yes. She is a bit of a coward, but she isn't scared to break from the KGB. She is smart and blends in well with the other snakes. And as heroine, she does a good job at picking the right boy. However, she should had pound him for more answers.

Valentin is a scrubber. He can erase a person's mind, thus scrubbing it clean. Thus the name scrubber. Anyway, as a KGB asset, he is one of the best psychics. Some of the psychics are seers, mind readers, scrubbers (like Valentin), and others. Out of all the other KGB psychics/assets, he is the most interesting. Plus, he has secrets of his own. With many dangerous ideas.

Overall, I think Sekret is a great book. If only the "k" in Sekret can be a "c," then I would have a much easier time writing this review. Sekret is a fairly easy read. There is a good amount of mystery and intrigue. I really enjoyed it.

Rating: Four out of Five

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