Thursday, June 2, 2011

Always Second Best: My Lord and Spymaster

My Lord and SpymasterThe second Spymaster book by Joanna Bourne has the same pattern of genius young girl matched with older, super-competent guy.  My Lord and Spymaster (The Spymaster Series) has young Jess using all her skills at accounting, business running, and cat burglary to try and save her father, while Sebastian uses all his skills of being bigger and older than her to keep one step ahead all the time.  This requires a lot of help from the author, but she's deft enough with the plot twists and mad-action sequences to allow Jess a lot of activity but make sure Sebastian shows up in time to save the day.

Page by page the book was fun; watching a character alternate between mental and physical stunts is pleasant -- Jess uses her uncanny powers as an businesswoman to even better effect than her somewhat rusty roof-climbing abilities.  Less fun is the refusal of the hero to take her seriously -- he constantly forbids her to act, but rarely tells her what she needs to know, leaving her to risk his displeasure again and again when she risks herself to find out some other way.  He also flaunts their sexual attraction, despite the simple fact that this is much more dangerous to the girl than for the man, and that what is dismissed in him as good clean fun has serious social repercussions for her.  It's hard to imagine them (well, her) actually living happily-ever-after for more than a few months.  Bourne does a good job of writing supremely competent women, who are very fun to read about; I just wish she'd give them slightly less controlling men as companions.  This is probably something that is much more a problem for me as a mom that it would have been for me as a young woman.  B-

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