Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Alias: A Secret Life Book Club Review

She is young and she is inexperienced. Sydney is asked by her SD-6 handler, Wilson, to hop a plane to Paris where a reconnaissance mission awaits her. She could not be more thrilled to be traveling to her first mission- and in Paris! We see her finesse her way with Francie, telling her that she will be in San Diego, apologizing for missing the beach and the frat party. Sydney knows that lying to her family and friends is part of the job- which makes her feel completely and utterly alone. That is until she arrives in Paris where her partner is Agent Noah Hicks. Rough around the edges and a few years older than Sydney, Noah takes the lead on the mission and makes Sydney brew and blush in the process.

Sydney and Noah have been tasked to investigate K-Directorate and their possible association with a high-end fashion designer, Monique L. Posing as a young married couple, Sydney and Noah aka Carrie and Nick Wainright, visit the designer’s boutique in order to plant bugs and cameras. Sydney plays her roll of spoiled trophy wife well, which enhances her confidence enough for her to explore the boutique. While rummaging through a darkened office, Sydney is confronted by a large guard. Knowing her fighting skills are minimal, Sydney uses her acting skills to soften the guard, who eventually lets her go. Noah and Sydney return to the hotel to discover their room has been bugged. They flee the hotel and spend the day as tourists.

Later, after a jaunt around Paris, Noah picks up their surveillance feed from an old antique shop. In order to listen to what was recorded by the bugs and watch the video picked up by the cameras, Noah and Sydney have to find a safe place. How about an old boat on the Seine? Perfect! In the midst of reviewing the feed, Noah and Sydney are chased down by members of K-Directorate.

The duo is able to escape to a safe house where they stock up on weapons, clothes and transportation. They head to the boutique to investigate something they heard on the feed. Once there, Noah discovers a secret passage in the dressing room. He forces Sydney to stand guard at the opening to the passage while he explores. Then, all the sudden, Sydney loses Noah on comms. Alone and scared, Sydney ducks in hiding as Monique comes storming out of the passage. But where is Noah? Instead of apprehending Monique, Sydney heads down the passage to find Noah. She finds him in a room full of ammunition and firearms. The boutique is housing K-Directorate's stock pile of weapons. Just then, Sydney and Noah hear voices booming down the passage. There is no way out! Noah then finds a trap door, filled with water. He and Sydney dive inside and close the hatch. They have to swim out, but is there a way out? Sydney is terrified! Her mother died under water, trapped in a car, drowning. There was no way Sydney could swim out, not in the dark. Finally, Noah forces her to swim and they finally surface on the Seine.

With no time to return to the safe house for more supplies, Sydney devices a plan that will expose Monique and destroy the weapon stock pile. Sneaking back to the boutique, Noah and Sydney find themselves alone on a dark street with a mysterious man. Noah grabs Sydney- forcing her into a doorway and kisses her. Once the man passes, Noah pulls away. Sydney is both stunned and saddened that Noah’s kiss was merely to keep their cover and not based on any feelings he may have for her. Aside, they take care of two guards outside the boutique and make their way back to the passage. Noah sets the weapons to explode and he and Sydney once again escape through the watery hatch. They watch from the shore as the boutique emits loud explosions, drawing fire engines and the police. The watch as Monique and her goons are arrested.

Though I did find the plot a bit flimsy and the narration too forward and predictable, I did enjoy Sydney’s internal monologue. We taste her self doubt and her fear as she follows Noah on the Paris mission. We learn too, that she has somewhat of a crush on her partner- often finding false feelings in his cover as her husband. I thought it was interesting how much she thought about home, Noah and Francie while she was on mission. The Sydney we first encounter in the pilot is very focused on mission, but perhaps it seems that way because we aren’t aware of her internal monologue.

What did you like or dislike about the book? Anything you noticed about Sydney? Anything you found interesting about Noah?

Next up, Alias: Disappeared by Lynn Mason.


Tammy said...

I agree that the plot is flimsy, and the book is rather stilted, but I liked it none-the-less. Sydney gained confidence throughout and I could see the Syd we know and love from the show starting to emerge.

Noah is a strange character. There is obviously an instant attraction between him and Sydney. He doesn't treat her very well initially. I'm not sure I understand why she fell for him. And I have to wonder, was he already the "bad guy" at this point in the story? When did he become the "snowman"?

Nice review!!

dlove said...

Thanks for the review.

Quick read for me as I expected. I was quite surprised that I liked it. Although I wish the author had made Sydney a bit older.

I agree with tammy and I could see the Syd we love from the show start to emerge. Yeah, a bit naive and her falling for Noah most likely her first true love.

I have a soft spot for Noah. :) Syd needed someone to be perfectly honest with her and she got that with Noah. Older and definitely someone she could learn from.

lisa said...

is this the book where one of the first scenes show Syd and Francie in their dorm room (or apartment, can't remember) and Syd is reading some Russian classic for a Literature class, except she is reading it IN RUSSIAN? and Francie's like, "woah, Syd, what kind of class are you taking!" really Syd was learning a new language! can you imagine all the extra training/learning she had to do (on the side!) to learn all those languages she knows??? amazing! (or was this from an early episode? someone set me straight!)

Tammy said...

You're right Lisa - I think it was in this book that this happens. I know it was in a book for sure!

jenn256 said...

yes, it was in this book, and then she gets to Paris and doesn't know any French and kicks herself for not learning French instead of Russian.

The word I came up with to describe it was- cute. I thought it was a cute book, which I know books like this aren't supposed to be, but I think what we all have to remember is that this book is written and intended for a MUCH younger reading demographic. I found it in my local bookstore in the section marked "TEENS". How embarassing.

And I was wondering the same question all along Tammy, is Noah already the "Snowman"? When sis that transition take place, was that ever covered in the show? I suppose I need to go back and check that if he is going to be appearing in these books for a while.