Orphan, Monster, Spy

By Matt Killeen

Young Quills reviews

Orphan, Monster, SpyAurora's review
I found Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen a very enjoyable read, albeit a gritty one. I learnt quite a lot about WWII from this book as it gave me two different perspectives, one from the Jews and one from the Nazis, which is a perspective that I hadn’t really considered before, even though I knew a little about the period from school history lessons. The book has made me want to find out more about the period, specifically the communist and national socialist side of things as before this book I thought they were the same thing. I found Mauser quite an interesting character as she is small and sensitive, but really talkative and it amazes me how she is able to cover up what is revealed at the end and still seem innocent.

I would definitely recommend this book because it was a thrilling read that kept me hooked the whole way through. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Gabriel's review
This book was set in a Nazi training camp during World War II, which is a fascinating and yet dangerous time in our history. The main character was a courageous Jewish girl who became a spy and was pretending to be a Nazi in the camp. The book opened with a fatal car crash and this set the tone and the pace for the rest of the novel. There was danger, adventure and moments of high drama. There were some parts of this book which I found hard to read; the descriptions of death and cruelty felt very realistic. The author recreated a sinister and dangerous world, which is still vivid in my mind. It really helped me understand the fear you must feel if you live in a period in history where you are at risk because of the popular politics of the time.

Raees's review
First I would like to begin by saying this book was very well written.  The main character Sarah was portrayed really well.

And the plot was very dark and sinister and at times made your heart race with all the close encounters and the chance of her dual personality being found out.

Overall this is a great book and I would recommend reading it.

Oliver's review
Firstly, out of the four books, this was, by a large margin, my favourite, due to its tense, cinematic and mysterious character. Matt Killeen effortlessly conjures up a picture of Europe on the brink of war. Seen through Sarah’s eyes, the persecution of the Jews is especially painful, and it’s impossible to read Orphan Monster Spy without the deep shadows cast by the knowledge of what would ultimately happen to so many of them. Sarah herself is a memorable character, a gymnast whose career was cut short by discrimination, a talented linguist taught by her mother who was no longer able to perform on stage, but instead channelled her energy into her daughter’s education. Sarah must bring all her many talents into play to succeed in her mission.

The relationship between Sarah and her handler is at the heart of the story. They bicker like brother and sister, with an ever-deepening bond. Killeen writes sparky dialogue that never slips out of character or out of time, and the plot speeds along at an excellent pace. As Sarah gets closer to her target, the shadows deepen, and it gradually becomes clear that she is in even greater danger than either she or Haller had imagined.

In terms of relating to history, I believe that this book has a good balance between historical accuracy and interesting fiction, showing a slightly different perspective of WW2, especially compared to others book and texts I’ve read. Killeen’s thriller is cold, exciting, and well-paced, but its major plot point—the physicist’s independent development of a superweapon—is so James Bond it undercuts the real-world horror that was the Holocaust. Sarah’s coming-of-age and psychological crisis are so well-drawn, however that the plot’s flaws are forgivable.

Orphan Monster Spy hooked me from the beginning and the more immersed in the story I became, the harder it was to put the book down. I galloped through it in one or two sittings at the beginning of the half term holidays. This is an excellent young adult adventure story, told with style. “A powerful, bleak, and penetrating portrait of an isolated young woman excelling in unimaginable danger”.

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