Book Review: “Orphan Monster Spy” by Matt Killeen

Title: Orphan Monster Spy
Author: Matt Killeen
Genre: historical fiction
Target age-group: YA
Dates read: 12/06/18 – 20/06/18
Rating: ★★★


This book had quite an interesting premise, but unfortunately the writing style prevented me from getting really invested.

Sarah is a Jew, despite inheriting her German father’s blond hair and blue eyes. After her mother dies, she is recruited by Captain Flynn, a British spy, to infiltrate an elite boarding school for the daughters of high-profile Nazis and steal the plans of a Nazi scientist.

The main reason I couldn’t get more into this story was the writing style felt very detached. Things were happening, but I felt a bit on the outside. I don’t know if this was a deliberate choice on the part of the author or just my own reading experience, but it made it hard to really get invested in Sarah.

There were also German words peppered throughout, particularly in the dialogue. I think this was probably supposed to immerse me in the setting more, but since I had to look up most of them on Google Translate, it pulled me out of the story. Technically, everything  the characters were saying was “in German”, even though I was reading it in English, so it didn’t really make sense to then actually have German words in there.

Still, the plot has a good basis in historical fact, and I think Matt Killeen did a good job of taking the history and crafting it into an interesting story. While I wasn’t that into it, I could still tell that the plot was building, and it does have a solid climax. I think the right reader will really enjoy it.

One last thing, and that’s  a content warning: there is a character who is a sexual predator, and having tired of his daughter, preys on other young girls. While this is kind of a spoiler, I guess, I know that there will be some readers who would prefer to know this before starting, and perhaps avoid.

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