Top critical review
Look into my bank account
on 7 August 2017
This book was readable on the whole but with too many irritations. Mostly, these were to do with plot elements and unbelievable details.
Taking plot elements, I'll look at just two for now but there were more. First, Ruby's house gets burgled by the bad guys. They take everything, every piece of furniture, every cupboard, table, chair, etc. Ruby's parents have a big house with a lot of stuff in it. Yet they manage to remove everything during the day without anyone noticing. It would take professional house removers several trucks and probably more than a day to do the same, and there would be no chance of it not being noticed. Then, when the family discovers everything's been taken, they hardly seem bothered! People are just making jokes and carrying on as if nothing has happened.
Later, we find out that the bad guys took all the stuff from the Redfort's house because they were looking for a specific item, and they start going through it all in the warehouse they've stored it in, looking for it. Duh. Why didn't they simply go through the stuff when it was still in the Redfort's house? Instead, they risk being seen lugging stuff out of the house for hours in broad daylight!
Second, Spectrum just happens to be based under Twinford! This kind of unexplained coincidence is very annoying. Not only that, but the villains and the object they wish to steal also just happen to be in Twinford. Given that the villains had battled Spectrum agents before, surely they would have at least been cautious about a heist in Spectrum's home town?
Dr Who specialises in this kind of thing, and we're supposed to accept it because, well, it's just a kids' book/TV programme, isn't it? But rather in the same way you shouldn't trust the hygiene in a restaurant kitchen if the toilets are filthy, don't trust an author who uses too many such sleight of hand get out clauses. And indeed, there is lots of similarly unbelievable stuff in the smaller details, like Ruby's Spectrum watch that contains a cutting laser and a titanium cable and winch powerful enough to hoist her up several feet. Hmmmmm.
The author thanks quite a long list of people for helping her talk through the story, which makes me wonder what exactly they talked about. There are plot errors on almost every page. She also thanks two editors but again, the writing is often repetitive and disjointed.
Finally, the characters just aren't strong enough. Ruby is kind of admirable for her intelligence and mental strength. But she isn't particularly likeable. I guess making her the daughter of rich parents helps with getting the story moving along but it's still something of a cliché. And the fact that her parents are idiots doesn't help.
In summary, another book that smacks of the author casting round to find something to write about, taking bits and pieces from other successful books, pushing just enough commercial buttons to make some sales which lead to more in the same barely-okay series. Rather than something new and exciting and compelling.