Welcome to my review of the AudioBook version of Evil Spy School, the third book in the Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs. Well suited for middle grade readers, my introduction to this series and author was a fun ride.
The third book brings the protagonist, 13 year old Ben, enrolling in a new school, the cover for the “evil” spy training unit SPYDER. Ben got into some trouble at his old school, and he’s got to make new friends and see what he can learn now. He’s hoping that he is expected to gather information about SPYDER’s next evil plot, but without his familiar friends, he’s working without a net.
I’ve heard good things about this author: humor and clever twists abound, and who can resist imagining themselves as a spy: gathering intelligence and information to defeat evil plans. Ben is middling-level clever: he’s using what he’s learned already to manoeuver in this new world, and there is quite a bit of set-up required for him to find his place, make new friends and discover the teachers to fear. The action picks up dramatically in the last third of the book: some fight scenes, danger and the mystery of Just What is the plan kept me engaged and entertained.
Secondary characters are cleverly introduced, and dialogue and ridiculous situations play heavily: some moments are funny from the start, others develop as such. Adults are a bit on the clueless side throughout, but not to a distracting point.
Narration for this story is provided by Gibson Frazier. He manages the narration capably, inserting appropriate pauses, inflections and tone changes that highlight the text and the action on the page. I appreciated the lack of “putting on” a voice to sound younger or older, and his clear presentation of Ben’s point of view was a wonderful highlight.
Perfect for readers aged 8 and above, there are some words that will require parental assistance, and parents will find this a clever ‘share’ title.
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story: 4
Title: Evil Spy School
Author: Stuart Gibbs
Series: Spy School #3
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Narrator: Gibson Frazier
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published on: 21 April, 2015
Source: Simon and Schuster Audio
Audio Length: 6 Hours: 6 minutes
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When Ben gets kicked out of the CIA's spy school, he enrolls with the enemy. This companion to Spy School and Spy Camp is rife with action, adventure, and espionage.
During a spy school game of Capture the Flag, 12-year-old Ben Ripley somehow accidentally shoots a live mortar into the principal's office - and immediately gets himself expelled. Not long after going back to the boring old real world, Ben gets recruited by evil crime organization SPYDER.
And he accepts.
As a new student in SPYDER's evil spy school, which trains kids to become bad guys with classes like Counter-counterespionage and Laying Low 101, Ben does some secret spying of his own. He's acting as unofficial undercover agent, and it becomes quickly apparent that SPYDER is planning something very big - and very evil.
Ben can tell he's a key part of the plan, but he's not quite sure what the plan is. Can Ben figure out what SPYDER is up to - and get word to the good guys without getting caught - before it's too late?
See the Spy School Series on GoodReads
A copy of this title was provided via Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.