Ok, so let me just start off by saying that I was very happy to get back into the early life of our favorite heroine. It was so much fun to learn more about Sydney's college life and how she and Francie met. However, I may be alone, but I was a little dismayed in the beginning to see Sydney as such a wishy-washy floundering person. But then I realized that this was the Sydney we never knew, the Sydney before she found her purpose and her drive in life as a spy trying to save the world one bad guy at a time.
Interesting that the book starts off with Francie saying the words, "You are not normal" to Syd regarding her unusual course schedule and how many difficult classes she is taking. She most certainly is you normal, typical college student, but she does not know why yet. Here we already see in the first paragraph that Sydney is a good student and a hard worker, good insight into Sydney to those who never watched the show (are there any)? We learn a lot about Sydney and Francie in this book that we never learned from the show. Sydney is very shy and put off by her encounters with the opposite sex, and actually gets laughed at and embarrased by Dean, her classmate who she secretly has a crush on. Can you see the Sydney we know from the show actually standing around while she is being made a laughing stock of by a man? Not without being followed by one of Girlscout's favorite Chuck Norris round-house kicks, and a great one liner!
We see the young Sydney floundering, lost and stuggling with who she is and who she is supposed to be. She tries to get a job with Francie in a restraunt as a waitress, but that goes south the first day, when after not even completing a full shift she throws coffee on an obnoxious customer after he makes unwanted advances toward her. Those moves are not ones that just come to the normal person, but they are the first signs of her possibility and promise in the CIA. I thought it was odd that she wasn't taken back by the fact that she even knew how to do those moves, but I digress.
And then the moment we all have seen in the opening credits of the show for so many years, and is later recreated in the finale. Sydney is approached by a Mr. Wilson, a recruiter for the CIA. He has been watching her and has taken notice of her athleticism, study habits and lack of boyfriend and friends (and therefore distractions), a perfect match for the CIA. He gives her a card which she tries over the course of the next several days to dismiss and even throw away, but cannot stop thinking about. She slowly starts to realize that she may not want to be a teacher as much as she thought, but maybe just has a connection to the mother she never knew. She knows that teaching is just not exciting her and isn't giving her that fulfillment she knows it should. So after hearing the promising story of her good friend Todd and how he pursued his dreams, finally getting the break he had been waiting for, Sydney decides that she should at least consider calling Mr. Wilson about the job. We again see her athletic prowess after she nearly escapes being tossed into the back of a garbage truck when she decides to rescue the card from the dumpster, after Francie unknowingly takes out the garbage. Once again, she uses moves that a veteran CIA agent would use to get out of a life-or-death situation! Sydney calls the phone number on the card and is told to come to the Credit Dauphine office, the name of which still gives me the shivers. There she finds a file with everything anyone has ever wanted to know about her, and she realizes that maybe this isn't all just a mistake, they have been watching and studying her for a long time. She is taken through the world of SD-6 and of course accepts the job. After working for Credit Dauphine for a little while, Francie states that she sees a big difference in Sydney, more confident and postive. She seems happier and more sure of what she's doing, we, however, know this is because she was trained and molded from childhood for this job.
Enter Jack (Jonathan Bristow). Sydney calls her father to tell her about her job and maybe even hoping for a pat on the back from her father, something it sounds like she never really got from him. He of course, being the Jack Bristow we know and love, wants her to get straight to the point and asks her if she just wants money. After getting her feelings hurt by her father again, she decides that she doesn't need his approval and tells him to keep his money. At SD-6 Sdyney starts to realize that she is getting the things she never got in life and always wanted, acceptance, approval, and a feeling of purpose. People are listening to what she has to say and appreciate her insight and thoughts. She moves up fast in the organization and impresses all of her superiors. And then she meets Arvin Sloane. She is told by Sloane and Wilson that SD-6 is a black ops division of the CIA, and is immediatley given an assignment to take pictures of a concert with a bracelet with a camera in it (one of Mashall's designs no doubt). She is then whisked away by Raul Sandoval's henchmen backstage and told, not asked, that he wants her to attend his private party at a hotel. This was not in the plans, and she begins to wonder how much trouble she has gotten herself into? Has the danger of this job already caught up with Sydney?
So that's it, the first half of the prequal. What did you all think of the book? Does it fit in with the overall theme of the show? What were some of the similarities and differences in Sydney and the other characters from the book and the show? What do you think about the glimpse we got into the life of Sydney before the new chapter in her life began in SD-6? And what about Sloane? Okay, go, let's hash this out! Tell me what you all thought.