An elite, teenage spy fights to take down the agency that stole her childhood.
KATO, a fictional division of North Korea’s intelligence agency, kidnapped Jocelyn when she was just 8. The organization focuses on recruiting and brainwashing young orphans to become ideal spies, controlling them by fostering addictions to a drug called Gerex. Ten years later, 18-year-old Jocelyn has become Viper, a spy renowned for her ruthlessness and skill. She’s harbored intentions to defect to the U.S.–based International Defense Agency for years, and now that KATO has sent her as a double agent, she’s not going to waste any time. But getting off Gerex leaves her reeling; KATO’s claws stay in her even as she begins to rebuild herself. The brass accept her as a vital ally, but her peers in IDA’s academy show her no mercy—especially one code-named Scorpion, her former nemesis–turned–school guide. Jocelyn must fight her schoolmates for their respect and KATO for her freedom. Though there’s no shortage of elaborate missions in this series opener, there’s a lack of escalating danger. The true war rages between Viper and Scorpion, and though their journey is satisfying, its focus makes the final showdown between the IDA and KATO seem inconsequential. Hopefully, the now-established relationships leave ample room for higher tension in the sequel.
Less espionage than escalating teenage emotions. (Fiction. 12-16)