Hello! This post is going to be a book review on a brand-new book called Undercover Thief by H.T. King. This book is the first in a new series called The Victoria Institute series. This book had a lot of ups and downs for me – but overall, it was a great book and I’m super excited about the second novel (Thief Underground).
(Please note: this book was gifted to me for the purpose of reviewing it; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely honest)
Fourteen-year-old Pamela Torres is an exceptional girl. After her parents abandoned her at the tender age of nine, she had to be to stay alive. But Pam has come a long way from stealing food from the supermarket and huddling beneath shop windows for shelter.
Now, Pam and the band of fellow misfit kids who took her in, are some of the most notorious thieves in Underground London. She has a home, a family, and a killer wardrobe, to boot. Life is pretty good.
But when her parents suddenly return to Pam’s childhood home after years of zero communication, Pam’s world is turned upside down. They steal her away from her home and chosen family to enroll her into the Victoria Institute: an American boarding school for spies.
Desperate to get back to the world she knows and loves, and wholly unfamiliar with the concept of homework, Pam does not take the strict, disciplinary vibe of the Victoria Institute – or to her parents, government spies themselves, who seem to have developed a newfound sense of responsibility for Pam’s wellbeing.
What would they do if they knew her true, unlawful identity? What’s more is that something seems off about one of Pam’s classmates… something that could threaten not only the school but also international government relations and the lives of millions…
MY GENERAL THOUGHTS:
My favourite thing about this book is the sass. The main protagonist, Pam, is sooo sassy and it is written so well, I was just laughing along and mentally saving my favourite lines to use on my family 😉
I also really like the pace of this book – it’s pretty fast-paced, which is nice as it means that I can read a huge amount of it in one sitting, plus it adds a high level of suspense, which had me on the edge of my seat.
There was also a really nice line from Pam which makes the perfect quote, which was definitely my favourite part in the whole book: “You don’t get to make judgements about the people I have come to love.”
However, there was one thing which was still okay, just not my favourite part of the book. I didn’t get much of a visual setting or sensual imagery and most of the book was simply dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, pretty much 80% of this dialogue is sassy speech but it felt a little bit less exciting than the action description.
Like what I said above, a bit more setting description as I would looove to know what the Victoria Institute is like in a visual way. Other than that, nothing else really.
THIS BOOK IN THREE WORDS:
Sassy – friendship – action-packed
WHERE TO FIND THIS BOOK:
Any good bookseller or in the author’s Instagram bio (@h.t.king)
10+ because there is no content like that in it but Pam and her friends are around fourteen and there is mention of homelessness and thievery in it.
4 out of 5 stars
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR:
You didn’t think I would pass up the opportunity to interview an actual author, did you? Here are the full questions and answers to my interview with H. T. King…
What was your inspiration for Undercover Thief and the Victoria Institute series?
Truthfully, I think my inspiration came from a lot of different places. I have been a bookworm my entire life, in particular one of my favourite reads was the Alex Rider series. I love spies, action and adventure and have done for as long as I can remember.
But the first specific thing I remember sparking the book idea happened when I was fifteen. I was on my way home from school and I was listening to an audiobook about a thief. My over-active imagination started wondering and I started picturing a student who was desperately trying to keep the fact that she was a thief secret from her fellow students. Everything grew from there.
Do you have any similarities to Pam and which character do you relate the most to?
I wish I had Pam’s confidence. Pam’s devotion to her family, particularly during hard times, is definitely something I connect to in Pam’s personality.
My family are very close (though nothing like Pam’s – mine is pretty boring and normal!) and I love all of them very much. There have been some very difficult circumstances we’ve all faced in the last few years, and we’ve done it together, which has only made me love them more. There is very little I wouldn’t do for them.
Other than that, alas, I think the only similarities we have are mainly our devotion to our families, the fact that we are both British and consume excessive amounts of tea.
The character I relate to the most is probably Gwen. I have always been a complete and utter nerd, and proud of it! I have always loved science and sometimes felt like people only ever understood half of what I said. Also, I hated PE, mostly because I am exceptionally clumsy.
What is your favourite thing to write (eg: an action scene, a conversation, an argument etc…) and why?
I think the most rewarding thing to write is an action scene. because for me it’s a lot harder to write. There are only so many ways that you can describe a kick or a punch without repeating yourself or slowing down the pace of the action.
However, I love writing dialogue, particularly if it’s funny dialogue. I think writing speech is one of the best ways to truly get to know a character and how their mind works. Do they blurt out random things, do they think before they speak, are they smart, are they kind, are they totally socially awkward?
What would your ideal day be spent doing?
Oh, my ideal day would probably start with a lie-in (I know, such an old person thing to say). I would spend the morning writing, with several cups of tea. Then the afternoon would probably be spent reading, again with several cups of tea. In the evening, my partner and I would probably go out for a pub dinner, with a glass or two of wine.
Perhaps it’s not glamorous, but I am an absolute bookworm, so it sounds perfect to me.
What book have you read that has had the most influence on you and how did it influence you (personally and in your writing)?
One of the first books I read by myself was Harry Potter, and it was that series that had me falling in love with books. I can’t imagine myself as anything other than a bookworm, and I can trace it back to that one series that started me down this journey.
Other writers that I have adored are VE Schwab, Anthony Horowitz, Rick Riordan and Meg Cabot. I can specifically remember trying to emulate Rick Riordan’s way with words a few times when writing short stories at school. They all have such fantastic prose.
What is your favourite colour and why?
Yellow! I love yellow. I’m not sure why, I think it’s because it’s a cheerful, happy colour. Also, I love things that smell like lemons and lemons are yellow, so maybe there’s a link there?
Who is your writing idol and why?
I have many writing idols, it’s hard to pick just one!
It may be a cliche answer but I love JK Rowling. Not just because of her success, although that certainly would be nice, but because of her story. I relate to parts of it, particularly writing during a difficult period of your life as a way to process some of the things that have happened to you. She inspires me to keep writing, even when things are looking bleak.
On a more upbeat note, I would love to write like VE Schwab. I got to meet her at a meet and greet and honestly, she was the nicest person ever! I hope I can be a writer like her one day.
Which book could you read over and over again without getting bored of it and why?
Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I absolutely loved that entire series, I thought it was absolutely brilliant! I could also re-read any of the Famous Five novels, although that may be for nostalgia.
Do you have plans to write any other novels/series?
Hahaha, the short answer is yes. A huge resounding yes. I want to experiment with writing in all genres, with many different voices. I actually have two other book series in the works, but that’s all very top secret.
Just for fun, what’s your favourite ice cream flavour and why?
My favourite flavour of ice cream is Mint Choc Chip. I love it, it’s refreshing and cool and… chocolatey? What’s not to love about that! Although I also love white-chocolate when the occasion arrives.
I hope you liked my review of this book and if you do read Undercover Thief, please feel free to tell me what you thought of it in the comments!
Also, if you’d like to check out my other book reviews, click here.