Impostor: A Variants Novel

Impostor - Susanne Winnacker See this review and more on Whitley ReadsMy Reaction: Does anyone remember the Agent Cody Banks movies? Or the Spy Kids movies? Remember how, even though they were silly, the appeal came from the fact that it was kids doing spy stuff? Running around, jumping off helicopters, fighting bad guys, investigating shit, being awkwardly suave, and – most importantly – ENJOYING BEING SPIES?Yeah, this book is nothing like that. Tessa may be an agent of the federal government, but fuck if you’ll be able to tell that while living in her head. The fact that she’s an agent who’s been training for this for years doesn’t seem to have any impact on her. She could be a random chick-with-powers who decided to investigate a serial killer and this story wouldn’t have played out any differently. And that’s fine, she can be a teenager, but not when the book was sold to me as “X-men meets super spy.” Highlights:• Tessa spent more time wailing about her mission than she does actually participating in her mission. In the first few pages she’s all “Yay, I’m an agent! I can turn into people! I can’t wait for my first mission!” “Hey, we got a mission for you. Impersonate this dead chick and make the killer think he missed.” “What? Impersonate someone? THIS IS SOMEHOW A TOTAL SHOCK TO ME AND I WILL NOW ANGST ABOUT IT.” Yeah, it’s that confusing. And then she continues the angst-train throughout the book.• Two years of training, did you say? Piffle. Tessa acts like she’s had two minutes of training. She’s completely unprofessional and verging on too stupid to live. Her investigative skills are a joke. She can’t act to save her life (literally) and her one go-to move the entire book is “Oh, I have amnesia. Please explain our relationship to me.”• The whole idea was to use Tessa as bait and draw the killer out, under the theory that he’d be nervous about “Madison” giving him away. Fine plan until Tessa started up her “Nope, I don’t remember a thing! No, really, let me emphasis how littler I remember” parade. How is that supposed to help?• Tessa’s powers make no sense. They stop and start working at the convenience of the plot, and no attempt is ever even attempted to explain why.• Tessa has all of exactly one fight, and she accidents her way into winning it. She doesn’t even get in any good hits. She doesn’t even dodge on her own, it’s just her powers suddenly acting up. She wins when the bad guy trips.• At first I thought that the symbolism was painfully obvious, but no. It’s painfully not even symbolism. Like, you didn’t even put in that much effort. Which would be okay, I suppose, except no one brings up the obvious option. These dead people have A’s carved onto their chests and one dead girl was having an affair. How can you not at least mention The Scarlett Letter? And when you find out what the A stands for, oh, that’s not symbolism either. That’s just a guy’s name. Who names their organization after themselves? Even Magneto didn’t do that.• Tessa couldn’t stop thinking about her boy troubles and how hot her boys are and muscled chests and kisses and rock-hard abs and ENOUGH ALREADY, WHY ARE WE READING ABOUT THIS AND NOT ABOUT THE SERIAL KILLER, ARE YOU JUST HIGH? Man, there’s boy crazy and then there’s “author trying to shoehorn in as much sex appeal as possible in a book that seriously doesn’t have room for it.” And this book really didn’t have room for that. Tessa spent so much of the book just crying over kisses and shit that the plot had to solve itself, because she sure as hell wasn’t going to get off her ass and do it. • The female side of the love-polygon is downright insulting. It’s basically “Why is he with that bitchy slut? She’s ruining him. That bitchy slut must have tempted him.” Tessa, maybe he’s a thinking adult who can make his own choices and you should stop hating on every other girl in the room.Rants and Raves:Girl spies kick ass. I don’t understand why people don’t get this. GIRL SPIES KICK ASS.I don’t understand why this book bothered to make Tessa a spy and then completely divest her of any ass kicking ability. She makes a valiant stab at claiming to know martial arts, but then she proceeds to flail her way through every fight and can’t even do 20 push-ups without crying about it. Do you know how un-hard it is to do 20 push-ups? A couch potato could do it with some grunting and groaning, and a trained martial artist should be like “huh, that was kind of a weak warm-up, what else you got?”Then everyone falls all over themselves talking about protecting Tessa and how she needs to be guarded and how OMG, BUT IT’S SO DANGEROUS AND SHIT.SHUT UP, ALEC, WHAT PART OF FEDERAL AGENT CONFUSED YOU?I know she’s just a teenager and I’m not expecting her to be Chuck Norris with a Vagina, but it’s not the greatest sin in the world to create a character that can take care of herself and then have other people back off and let her do it. This book has the perfect chance to create a kickass heroine and then completely drops the ball, then compounds the issue by making it unclear how much training she’s actually had or not. And then compounds it further by having Alec just about heart-attack himself to death at the thought of his precious little not-girlfriend being in harm’s way.Enough of this, authors. Enough. If we can’t even let our women spies be competent then what are we coming to?