Books, Culture, Equality, Feminism, Social Issues

No-one Deadlier than a New Mum- Killing It by Asia Mackay

Thanks to Bonnier Zaffre and NetGalley for the review copy.

I love getting NetGalley marketing emails and seeing what new books are available but I’m very rarely tempted to click through and hit that request button. However, as soon as I saw the cover and premise of Killing It I knew that it would make it straight to the top of my TBR!

Going back to work is a challenge for any new mum, but it’s a whole lot tougher if you happen to be a Government Secret Service Assassin. The misogyny was hard enough for Lex Tyler to deal with before she got pregnant but now she’s a mother it’s gone to a whole new level. Despite being an expert with years of experience she’s forced to prove her worth all over again, taking the lead on a mission against powerful enemies with the whole world’s privacy on the line. As if that wasn’t enough she must deal with mum guilt, rice cake on her gun barrel and first and foremost keeping her daughter safe. She’s determined to be the mum who has it all, but can she pull it off, and if so at what cost?

The first thing to say is that I expected this book to be a whole lot of fun and it absolutely was! Any mums of little ones should read it just to indulge in imagining themselves as a spy super mum! No other book combines dangerous secret agent work with the reality of mum guilt, making it unique, interesting and much more down to earth than your average spy novel. However, the insertion so many mundane parenting worries means that the pace is slow. Asia tries to counteract this by regaling the reader with pre-baby spy missions but they don’t produce the desired thrill because we know that Lex is no longer in danger. There’s not enough action and jeopardy for me until the end, when the pace picks up and it gets much better.

I could tell that the author’s focus was more on making it fun rather than super realistic. Maybe I’ve read too many Alex Rider novels, but I was surprised that there’s a whole scene based on the fact that none of Lex’s team know how to write in Russian. They’re spies and not one of them knows Russian? Really?! I also thought that the portrayal of the posh mums Lex has to work with and the sexism she endures was a bit over the top. That’s not to say that I don’t think it’s a genuine reflection of what she would experience, just that it got frustrating and less enjoyable to read at times.

Having said that, Lex is an absolutely brilliant character. She’s exactly what you’d expect from a young woman assassin: sassy, sharp, funny and just a bit messed up. I loved spending time with her.

I feel like this review has been more negative than positive, but I really did enjoy the book, and I will definitely be reading the sequel! If you want something easy, fun and different for the end of the summer then give Killing It a try.

7/10

Killing It is out now.

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