Author: Lindsay Smith
Series: Sekret #1
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Source: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Russia, espionage and psychics? I'm in! Needless to say, I had high hopes going into this book and thankfully, it lived up to them!
Yulia is a tough girl. She has to be! Her family has fallen out of favour with the Party and now barely scrape by, living hand-to-mouth off of the black market. But Yulia has a trick that's helping her family survive: she's psychic. Unfortunately, this gift becomes her curse once she is forcibly recruited to a special KGB centre for young psychics. It's kind of like X-men. If all the X-men were various psychics in Cold War USSR and Professor X was a danger psychopath who could rip out your memories.
I had a lot of respect for Yulia. She's tough as nails and devoted to doing what she can to keep her mother and brother (who I'm pretty certain falls until the Autism spectrum) safe. Unfortunately, life in Communist Moscow doesn't make this easy for her. Yulia is not the kind of person who is content being controlled. She fights back as much as possible.
A lot of the story goes on inside Yulia's head, so we only get to view the secondary characters as they relate to her. That didn't stop me from wanting to slap some (Masha), cower in fear from some (Rostov) and give suspicious glares to others (pretty much everyone else).
I completely fell in love with the setting of this one. It's crazy how a historical location could feel so much like a dystopian read. I've always enjoyed learning about history (even though it was my worst class in school) and I love reading stories set in different places. I would love to visit Russia one day!
The only thing I didn't totally love on this one was the romance. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, I just think I would have enjoyed the story a little bit more without it. But I'm not a romance person, so I'm sure this is entirely personal preference. I just know that I kind of rushed through the romance-y bits because I was desperate to get back to the spying bits! However, the romance was very limited, so there wasn't much rushing necessary.
I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, Russia, espionage or cool psychic phenomena. Definitely worth a read!
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