Review: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie has a whole host of different detectives, and it is in The Secret Adversary that Tommy and Tuppence are introduced to the world. 

There's not a whole lot to Agatha Christie novels, so I won't torment you with a long and boring review.

What I really enjoyed about this plot was that it was significantly more complicated than most of her other books in my experience. I appreciated the complexity of it; it built the tension up nicely and kept me guessing close to the end.

Having said that, what I also loved about this book was that I actually guessed who the 'bad-guy' was before the end of the book, something I rarely accomplish with a good Christie novel.

Tommy and Tuppence are not my favourite of Agatha Christie's detectives, but they fit the nature of this plot very effectively.

If you are a Christie fan, but are looking for something a bit out of the ususal, then this could be a good choice for your next Agatha Christie read.

6 / 8
Really enjoyable and well written. I would recommend that you read it.

Are Tommy and Tuppence your favourite Agatha Christie detectives? Feel free to share your thoughts of this one if you have read it.

What are you in the mood for reading?

I know I am jumping on this bandwagon a little late, but I just saw yesterday's Musing Monday question and I couldn't help but throw my two cents worth into the ring. The question reads: How often do you read a book, just because you’re in the mood to read it? (not because you’re obligated to for a book club, or a challenge, or for review).

Strangely enough, this is something I have been thinking about ever since I started participating in 'It's Monday! What are you reading?' again.

I am constantly surprised by the amount of people that have their next read all planned out, even though they are still reading another book.

This is very rare for me. I no longer accept ARC's so I don't have to read them anymore. I am not in any formal book club and I don't participate in challenges.

Essentially, I read whatever I am in the mood for. It is a completely spontaneous choice. Once I have finished reading a book, I go around my various bookshelves, staring at all the titles until one catches my eye. it's as simple as that. Sometimes I will start reading the book I have chosen and then realise I'm not in the mood for it - so it will be placed back on the shelf and a new one will be chosen until I find something that suits.

This probably isn't very good for my 'literary development' (to get all wanky about it), but it works for me. If I chose my next read before I finished my current read (with a few limited exceptions) I just wouldn't be as motivated to read it.

I like a bit of mystery in my life and I like where my spontaneous choices lead me in my reading.

For example, I finished my last book (The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff) yesterday and so this morning I chose The Last Warner Woman by Kei Miller. Kei Miller is a Jamaican author I was introduced to at the Sydney Writers Festival this year. He seemed really funny and I liked the rhythmical way his books seemed to read (he is a poet which I imagine explains that). I was in the mood for something a little unique so I chose one of his books.

What about you? Are you a planner or a pantser? What made you choose your current read?

Nemesis by Isaac Asimov (science fiction with an environmental message)

Isaac Asimov's Nemesis is set in the 23rd century. Man has had to populate the solar system because of overcrowding on Earth, but it is soon discovered that the Earth itself is under threat from the impending approach of the previously unidentified star, Nemesis. The race is on to invent some method of travel that would allow the human race to move out of the solar system in order to save themselves. In the meantime, out on a planet circling the dangerous Nemesis is a young girl who may hold the key to saving the planet.

Asimov's vision of the far distant future in Nemesis is certainly a scary one. Increasingly, we are all encouraged to consider the effect of our modern lifestyles on the planet. We know that climate change is already effecting the natural environment, and its negative impact will only get worse over time. Everyone knows (whether they act on it or not is another question) that we all need to do our part to help slow down this process. We know that the planet cannot sustain mankind in current state. What we rarely think of is what real effect this will have on the world in say 3 or 4 thousand years for now.

That is what Nemesis gives thought to. Earth has reportedly become barely liveable. There are food shortages and such severe overcrowding that there was little choice left to mankind but to live elsewhere in the solar system. Although Asimov's picture of the Earth's future is undoubtedly bleak, it certainly made me wonder how accurate it might be.

Racial superiority is also an issue that Asimov has concerned himself with in this book. There is much discussion amoungst the politicians on Earth about the lack of racial variety in the colonies of mankind throughout the solar system. The reader is lead to believe that these colonies are essentially Aryan groupings of people, with anyone not falling into this racial category left the poverty of Earth. Asimov may have meant this as a warning.

Although there were some interesting ideas and themes in the book, there were also a lot of weaknesses.

The story became someone repetitive about half way through the book. The characters tended to have the same conversations over and over again which I began to find very frustrating. Also the characters themselves were not well formed and for the most part were irritating more than anything else. I am not a reader who needs her characters to be either good or bad, but I do need characters that don't irritate me. Marlene, the young girl destined to save Earth, is essentially your common bratty teenager. She thinks she knows everything and she is able to get people to do whatever she wants simply by throwing tantrums. Her mother is your typical overbearing mother who nevertheless always gives into her spoiled child. The list goes on.

Having said all that, Nemesis definitely kept me eagerly reading to the end. I was carried away by the plot and didn't want to put it down until I had finished it. In thinking about all the problems I had with the book, I can't quite pinpoint what it was that kept me so hooked.

5.5 / 8
Really enjoyable and worth reading if you have the opportunity.

How do you think this compares to Asimov's other works if you have read them? If you haven't, what do you think you would find the most compelling aspect of a science fiction novel - the science fiction-y (thats the technical term!) aspects, or the characters?