Author: Lindsay Smith
Rating: ★★★ 1/2 & ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Yulia’s father always taught her that an empty mind is a safe mind. She has to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia, especially because she seems to be able to read the minds of the people she touches. 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 where she can trust no one.
I received an ARC from the publisher and I’m writing this honest review to say thank you.
I wanted to love Sekret more than I did. Spies. SPIES GUYS. I love anything with spies. And this wasn’t just spies, it was PSYCHIC RUSSIAN SPIES. Which was so cool.
Overall I enjoyed the setting of this book a lot, but I sometimes have trouble getting into historical books and that might have just been one of the parts that disconnected me from this book. Another part was that it was slow. I would read for an hour and be like ‘wow, I read so much!’ and then update my status and be shocked to see that I’d only read like 30 pages. I just feel like it took me FOREVER to read this. And it wasn’t that long and it wasn’t boring it was just… slow.
The entire thing wasn’t slow though. When they went on missions it was really tense and I was totally sucked in! But when they were training at school and stuff I just never felt fully engaged.
Despite that the writing was beautiful, and I loved the imagery that flowed through the words. I also enjoyed learning about Russia and the atmosphere of the book.
I did like the characters, and felt so bad for Sergei at times, he just was like such a huge puppy dog trying so hard to make the best of everything and then there’s dark, mysterious, musical Valentin who steals everyone’s hearts through his dark eyes. Ugh, it was hard to pick who to swoon over.
I DID like that I didn’t see the twist coming and I want to know SO much more about how all of that came to be! Maybe in the next book?
So if you like historical fiction, then you’ll love this. If you like spies, then you’ll love this. If you like psychic teens then you’ll like this. If you like all of these, then you’ll LOVE this.
I am a huge fan of books that take place in Russia or use Russian history as a backdrop. I also love spy and espionage story, so Sekret won me over with its premise alone. Turns out, there was also an excellent novel hidden in this book!
Although this is Smith’s debut, this is one of those books where you can’t tell it’s in fact, a debut. The writing is tight, tension filled, and memorizing. I found I had a hard time putting Sekret down every time I started it, because I had to know what was happening to these characters and this world. The writing makes everything feel so vivid and terrifying, I literally jumped a few times just because Smith took turns I wasn’t necessarily expecting.
Seriously, the plot twist alone int his book makes it worth the read. I didn’t see it coming, and it’s definitely something that will make your jaw-drop. Also Sergei needed like, all the hugs in this book. All of them. I just loved all the characters, and I thought Yulia was a fabulous protagonist to follow. She has great convictions, strength and determination, and it’s no wonder why people fear her gifts in a lot of ways. With the way the novel ended, I’m struggling to wait for book two. I really am.
Sekret is slow, but thoughtful. Engaging, but creepy. There’s so much to love in the writing, characters and world building that I feel like Smith wrote an almost grand-slam. I do think the pacing will bother some readers, but when slow burns are done the right way, they often can be the most interesting reads of all.