Publisher's Note:  

Danny Caulfield's quiet Christmas break from Wilsons, the school for spies, is shattered by gunshots and a heartrending discovery about his parents. That same night, he's summoned to Wilsons' to prepare for a mission: under an assumed identity, Danny must find a way to protect the Treaty Stone that keeps peace between the Upper and Lower worlds. Meanwhile, the evil Ring of Five pursues Danny, for he is the "true Fifth"?only Danny can unite the members of the Ring and awaken their full powers as master spies.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Wendy Lamb Books (A Random House Children's Imprint)

The Unknown Spy (The Ring of Five #2)

by Eoin McNamee

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Overall Review:  

The Unknown Spy is a fast paced action story that could be said to be a mix of Harry Potter, X-Men, and James Bond.  Quite the mix!  It has a very familiar plot line (special boy who is wanted by both good and bad goes to a special school that can’t be found and must learn about his special powers while fighting the evil who wants him to join them), but if you’re a fan of high action spy books, top secret missions and sneaky plots, then this is for you!

Danny is a super spy.  He is going to a special spy school to learn to hone his talents and use them (hopefully!) for good.  The only problem with that, is that as a spy, you’re inclined to be sneaky and want to betray everyone!  Danny has to fight that tendency all the time!  He has a great group of friends: Dixie who is sweet and can be invisible; Vandra the physik who looks sort of like a vampire; Les is a winged messenger; Toxique comes from a family of assassins, but doesn’t like killing—he’d rather tell the future; McGuinness is a detective who always seems to show up at the most random times and is everywhere almost at once…in my minds’ eye, I see a Dick Van Dyke/Matlock person in a trench coat!

The moments of loyalty, love and friendship even amongst the spies and classes about devious arts is lovely.  These friends try hard to stick together and fight against the others who want to control both worlds.  There is a great deal of action packed adventure as Danny continues his journey to find out who he really is and where his place is in the world(s)!  Just beware: This is the second of a trio—and it has quite the cliffhanger!! 

Content Analysis:  

Violence includes the following:  A character is shot and they must take out the bullet—kitchen table surgery is then performed and is very descriptive.  Two different characters are stabbed (and they die).  There is a healer/physic who is by all appearances a vampire.  She sucks out the poisons with her fangs.  Another character comes from a family of assassins and is constantly being asked by his father if he’s killed anyone yet and that if he doesn’t do it soon, he will be exterminated!  There are many scary characters.  Especially frightening are the Seraphim who have huge talons, swords, spears, etc.  There are also cold ghosts who try to rip out your heart; assassins who shoot poisoned darts; magical cross bows that shoot you when you move; hot iron brands and manacles used by crazy people, etc.  There are torture chambers and crazy car chases that are intense.  A special spy school has zombie-like creatures as guards.  These dead people have the ‘remainder marks’ of how they were killed (open gunshot wounds, stab wounds, etc), and even have worms coming out of their noses and nasty ‘dead’ breath.   A character has great power and blows everyone away (quite literally) with a magical wind that they conjure.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Mature themes include spying, corruption, deceit, betrayal.

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Reviewed By Emily
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