Seven-Sided Spy
In the midst of the cold war, the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, vanishes. Kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the backcountry of North Carolina, she and her team of unsavory partners are forced to undergo illegal experimentation.But, when the experiments leave them horribly deformed and unable to reenter society without someone crying monster, the previously glamorous and high-maintenance spies must escape KGB captivity and avoid recapture at the hands of Nikola, a ruthless KGB agent with an intense and well-justified grudge against her former flame.

Seven-Sided Spy Details

TitleSeven-Sided Spy
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 15th, 2018
PublisherNineStar Press
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Lgbt

Seven-Sided Spy Review

  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Seven-Sided Spy is an intriguing debut novel about a diverse group of CIA and KGB agents during the Cold War. I started this thinking I was in for an action-packed spy thriller, and while this didn’t play out at all how I expected it to, I think I enjoyed the story more for that.Set largely in the wilderness of North Carolina, this book follows two rival teams of spies: a group of CIA agents on the run, and the trio of KGB agents hunting them. Due to the unforeseen complications of scientific ex Seven-Sided Spy is an intriguing debut novel about a diverse group of CIA and KGB agents during the Cold War. I started this thinking I was in for an action-packed spy thriller, and while this didn’t play out at all how I expected it to, I think I enjoyed the story more for that.Set largely in the wilderness of North Carolina, this book follows two rival teams of spies: a group of CIA agents on the run, and the trio of KGB agents hunting them. Due to the unforeseen complications of scientific experiments, there’s a paranormal aspect to this story, too: the majority of the main characters have developed mysterious supernatural abilities. There are a number of action scenes (mainly clustered towards the beginning and the end), but I want to emphasize that this is by no means a plot-driven book. The primary focus here—and this novel’s greatest strength—lies in its character development. There are no clear moral distinctions between either of the teams, and as each person’s backstory is revealed through flashbacks, they become increasingly shrouded in shades of gray. They’re all flawed and complex and tragic and human, and their various platonic and romantic relationships were also well-crafted.I only had two minor issues. As there were quite a lot of main characters—and each character also had a code name that they switched back and forth between—I was rather confused at first. It took me a while to figure out who everyone was. The pacing also felt a little disjointed. Since the beginning and end were so heavy on action, the middle was a little too slow for me at times.Another thing I really appreciated about this book, though, was its inclusivity! I absolutely love finding historical fiction that highlights narratives that tend to be erased and ignored. Seven-Sided Spy has four queer leads (there aren’t specific labels used, but there are two sapphic women and two queer men) as well as two leads of color (one black American and one Brazilian). The novel places the narratives of queer people and POC at the forefront of the action, which is so so important and so nice to see.Overall, this was an enjoyable read with an interesting cast of characters! I’m looking forward to reading more from Hannah Carmack in the future.tw: eating disorder, self harm, character death, sort of body horrorI received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Endlesscribbles
    January 1, 1970
    A very intriguing novel by this first time author. The story is full of twists and turns where you could never really tell who were the good or bad guys. CIA or KGB.For me it was a little bit of a hard read because I had a hard time keeping up with real names, code names, and who was who. The names are constantly changing between one or the other. As well as trying to keep up with what period of time the story was in. I normally have no problem with flashbacks in a storyline and quite enjoy them A very intriguing novel by this first time author. The story is full of twists and turns where you could never really tell who were the good or bad guys. CIA or KGB.For me it was a little bit of a hard read because I had a hard time keeping up with real names, code names, and who was who. The names are constantly changing between one or the other. As well as trying to keep up with what period of time the story was in. I normally have no problem with flashbacks in a storyline and quite enjoy them when they are relevant and they are in this storyline. It just got a bit confusing at times for me. Some characters are very well developed while others just seemed a little distant but you do get a sense of who they are. But maybe that is a spy thing.The story is a very intriguing spy game with elements of the paranormal. I would recommend you give this first time author and Seven-Sided Spy a read. Maybe take notes to keep up with the spies real names and their code [email protected] @NineStarPress
    more
  • Nicole (Read Eat Sleep Repeat)
    January 1, 1970
    The concept of Seven-Sided Spy is incredibly intriguing – a team of CIA spies who are taken in by the KGB for illegal experimentation? Sounds like Mission: Impossible meets X-Men, and I’m a fan of both movies, so this seemed right up my alley!Carmack tried to do a lot with her debut novel. Between a highly diverse cast, plenty of flashbacks, a historical setting, and an exploration of grey morality, there was a lot going on in this story. Let’s break it down.Although the blurb implies a focus on The concept of Seven-Sided Spy is incredibly intriguing – a team of CIA spies who are taken in by the KGB for illegal experimentation? Sounds like Mission: Impossible meets X-Men, and I’m a fan of both movies, so this seemed right up my alley!Carmack tried to do a lot with her debut novel. Between a highly diverse cast, plenty of flashbacks, a historical setting, and an exploration of grey morality, there was a lot going on in this story. Let’s break it down.Although the blurb implies a focus on the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, there are actually several main characters, all with code names, their own desires, and flashbacks to their past. This added extra complexity that, on one hand helped to keep the story moving, but on the other made it confusing to follow at times, making me pause to get my bearings on multiple occasions. And out of the bunch, Diana seemed to be the least fleshed out, which was a bit disappointing as I would have liked to know more of her story. Additionally, the historical setting of the cold war felt a bit glossed over. If the few scenes mentioning events from that time were removed, I could have imagined this taking place today. Some extra depth and detail on that front would have helped to root the story in its time frame.The writing itself in Seven-Sided Spy was quite capable. It flowed well and was easy for me to picture the characters and their surroundings. The action scenes were fast but also easy to follow. A dry humor helped to offset some of the more serious themes and generally lighten the mood. And there were several references to popular books as some of the characters enjoy reading, which added a nice personal touch that I really enjoyed.This may not be my top pick of the year but I did like Seven-Sided Spy and find myself still thinking about it days after finishing it. Carmack’s work shows promise and I’m curious to see what she does next.*Thanks to the author for providing an advance copy of this edition in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Susan Hampson
    January 1, 1970
    This is such an unusual story and although there were some direct clues in the blurb what I read was quite a surprise. I do enjoy stories that have that little bit of something different about them instead of the same structure and this one certainly had that. There were a bunch of some of the strangest characters in books that I have met about spies.It is the nineteen sixties and the cold war is really bubbling away under the surface, with neither the CIA or KGB playing fair games. There isn’t This is such an unusual story and although there were some direct clues in the blurb what I read was quite a surprise. I do enjoy stories that have that little bit of something different about them instead of the same structure and this one certainly had that. There were a bunch of some of the strangest characters in books that I have met about spies.It is the nineteen sixties and the cold war is really bubbling away under the surface, with neither the CIA or KGB playing fair games. There isn’t just the battles of the two high powers going on but also personal conflicts between the people on the ground that have crossed paths before. A deadly game of cat and mouse as the KGB hunt the CIA agents down. Experiments are performed on the captured CIA team, which leaves them outcasts and isolated from the rest of society and having to hide in North Carolina.Although grossly disfigured and still with the mutations developing further every day, the team were not only changing physically but also inwardly. Once a cold blooded, don’t question orders group were beginning to question the reasons behind what they were doing and who they really were as people. The characters do seem very complex to follow to start with as there are so many of them and even more so when their under cover names come into play .Once I settled into the characters and who was who I loved the story more and more the further it progressed. I certainly don’t want to spoil the plot but the story wasn’t anything like I thought it was going to be. A fascinating read, Da Vinci I felt for more than any other. Totally unexpected outcomes for so many. A book that definitely leans more to the side of the paranormal than that of spy verses spy normal stuff. Thanks to the author for a copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly
    more
  • Jane Shambler
    January 1, 1970
    This has to be one of the weirdest books I have ever read. My advise is to ignore the back cover.It is set during the cold war when the spy network was at its peak with the CIA, KGB and MI5. The three countries are involved in this book. The best of the best from America and the UK are captured, kidnapped and experimented upon. The experiments make them in to something like monsters. They are hugely disfigured and have superhuman strength. Yes, they escape and are hiding out in the mountains in This has to be one of the weirdest books I have ever read. My advise is to ignore the back cover.It is set during the cold war when the spy network was at its peak with the CIA, KGB and MI5. The three countries are involved in this book. The best of the best from America and the UK are captured, kidnapped and experimented upon. The experiments make them in to something like monsters. They are hugely disfigured and have superhuman strength. Yes, they escape and are hiding out in the mountains in America.The KGB send a team after them to recapture them but they fail. So they give their own team the drug and then resend them. So now we have monsters tracking monsters. A local hiker helps out the escapees by bringing them food and clothing. One of them has the ability to see into the future. Therefore everything they do is connected to his visions. But the visions are taking effect on his body and he is weakening quickly especially in the cold damp mountains.The book is definitely intriguing and has many twists and turns. You actually start to feel sorry for all of them. Also, although it is very bwell written it's a hard slog. At times I found myself having to back track to understand what was going on. Yes I would recommend it if you want something totally different. Enjoy!ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley*
    more
  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    Seven-Sided Spy uses multiple perspectives to tell a complex story, and Carmack accomplishes this task well. The story itself is rather simple, despite the interesting context: three spies camp out on a mountain, while three other spies try to take them down. What elevates this story from a glorified camping trip to a very interesting read is the characters. Each character has their own motivations, fears, and history, and the quiet moments of interpersonal interaction are the highlights of the Seven-Sided Spy uses multiple perspectives to tell a complex story, and Carmack accomplishes this task well. The story itself is rather simple, despite the interesting context: three spies camp out on a mountain, while three other spies try to take them down. What elevates this story from a glorified camping trip to a very interesting read is the characters. Each character has their own motivations, fears, and history, and the quiet moments of interpersonal interaction are the highlights of the story. As characters tell their stories, the reader becomes more aware of the faulty nature of oral storytelling; there is a stark juxtaposition between the author’s depiction of the characters and the way the characters talk about themselves, leaving an open question as to who each of them truly is.All in all, this book kept me hooked and entertained from the beginning, and I would highly recommend it.
    more
  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    Even reading the blurb, I don't think I was fully prepared before going into this one. I admit being thrown by the constant name-changes (it was hard to keep up with everyone's real names vs. their code names, and several times I was confused) and I couldn't always tell what time period it was because there are a lot of flashbacks within the chapters (which are labeled with dates, but the flashback sections clearly jump). Part of the confusion might have added to the spy, double-crossing plot, s Even reading the blurb, I don't think I was fully prepared before going into this one. I admit being thrown by the constant name-changes (it was hard to keep up with everyone's real names vs. their code names, and several times I was confused) and I couldn't always tell what time period it was because there are a lot of flashbacks within the chapters (which are labeled with dates, but the flashback sections clearly jump). Part of the confusion might have added to the spy, double-crossing plot, so I didn't mind that as much as being pretty constantly confused as to who everyone worked for. I'm still not sure I could tell you at the end which side was the KGB and which side was the CIA, haha. There were a lot of jumps, and I couldn't keep up very well.I really loved Ruby - I thought she was the best fleshed-out character of the bunch, followed by Rigan. I really got a strong sense of who they were through their dialogue and actions, and connected well to them. I wish the others had been a bit more relateable - I think part of the overly formal dialogue (few contractions in speech used) was done to make a point about spies and their masks, but it also made it very hard to connect with the characters. I got a pretty decent sense of who Tim was (though I didn't necessarily like him), but the others were tougher and very distant. Maybe some tweaks to the dialogue and making it more natural-sounding would have solved this problem for me - some of it just felt really stilted. I do suppose it's hard to make super great amazing spies and have them be characters you can connect with, haha.But the plot was this crazy map of overlapping threads, and only at the end do they really begin to unravel (and re-tangle) and the final confrontation between everyone was a WHAM of a great narrative ending, so I really dug that. It was very satisfying to watch things finally shake down after so much build-up. Still, I thought one of the most vivid scenes was Rigan and Ruby's first trek through the woods. For some reason, this part really resonated with me and felt incredibly real and detailed, like I could smell the trees they were walking through. Plus, their dialogue was excellent and flowed so well back and forth. That scene was one of the best.If you like spy games mixed with some paranormal elements, I think you'll really enjoy this romp through the cold war, and I definitely didn't see anything in the story coming!
    more
  • Amanda (abookishinvasion)
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating: 1.5 StarsTrigger Warnings: Physical abuse, violence, talk of drug abuse, torture, self-harm, depressionI received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.Seven-Sided Spy follows the story of Cold War era CIA agents who have been kidnapped by the KGB for secret illegal experimentation.Let's just go right in and start with the big problems I had. If you plan on reading this book, just go ahead and nix ALL the expectations you have Actual Rating: 1.5 StarsTrigger Warnings: Physical abuse, violence, talk of drug abuse, torture, self-harm, depressionI received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.Seven-Sided Spy follows the story of Cold War era CIA agents who have been kidnapped by the KGB for secret illegal experimentation.Let's just go right in and start with the big problems I had. If you plan on reading this book, just go ahead and nix ALL the expectations you have from reading the synopsis...because it is completely inaccurate. I am a history buff through and through, and I was so excited to read Cold War era historical fiction but there was very little actual information or events that involved the Cold War at all. A few large events, but they don't even tie in with the story or the plot so they could have been removed completely and it would not have mattered. Also, the character's perspective you think you will get the most is actually one of the ones you get the least, there was no organization, and it could have used many more rounds of editing. I went into this with the expectation of HISTORICAL FICTION, QUEER SPIES, SECOND-CHANCE ENEMIES TO LOVERS type of story. And what I got was definitely not any of that.Okay, so, it did have queer spies. Usually, that in itself would be enough for me, but by the time the relationships mattered they'd totally buried by everything I didn't like about this book.In the beginning, the writing was not bad, but it severely declined as time went on. There was little plot development. The book started and just threw me in without hesitating, then it proceeds to jump all over the place while I was still trying to work out what was going on. It was this strange mix of present and past, but all the memories are presented as stories the characters tell each other that are just thrown in at random. Also, the main characters spend 95% of the book hanging out in the forest doing absolutely nothing. Beyond that, as I was reading I could feel myself forgetting what was happening because there was absolutely no point to any of it. The characters were severely lacking in development. I did not care about any of them, and despite there being about 8 point-of-view characters...I am pretty sure I can't describe any of them with any sort of detail beyond names and even those I get mixed up. Moreover, the characters were beyond wishy-washy. They were constantly changing and not fitting their original characterization and personalities, what little they had in the first place. Which made it difficult to understand the dynamic between the groups.The only things I can say I actually liked were first few action scenes, I thought they were well written, exciting, and suspenseful, but even those become less well written by the end.Overall, I would not recommend this book. I didn't gain anything from reading it. The characters and plot were poorly developed, and none of it felt real or genuine. The whole thing could have been set in the 21st century and would have affected the story very little. I think Hannah Carmack could be a good writer, but there was a severe lack of editing put into this novel.
    more
  • Danielle Steenrod
    January 1, 1970
    I think this synopsis is pretty misleading. It makes you believe that Diana is the main character which is not really true. This story has a diverse cast of characters and we see through every character’s point of view, not just Diana’s. With that being said, I really liked seeing how every character was flawed and getting to know each one by learning their stories. Everyone’s stories came together at the end to create one large story.Because of how large the cast was, it was easy to get confuse I think this synopsis is pretty misleading. It makes you believe that Diana is the main character which is not really true. This story has a diverse cast of characters and we see through every character’s point of view, not just Diana’s. With that being said, I really liked seeing how every character was flawed and getting to know each one by learning their stories. Everyone’s stories came together at the end to create one large story.Because of how large the cast was, it was easy to get confused with who was who. Luckily, I keep notes as I read so this wasn’t really a problem for me, but for someone who reads without note-taking, I can see how someone could confuse the characters quite easily. Because this is a spy story, each character had two names; a code name and their real name, and both of these names are used interchangeably throughout the book. If you decide to pick this book up, I definitely recommend keeping notes to keep everyone straight. Also, there are two different groups of spies. There are those who work for the CIA and those who work for KGB. It also helps to note who each spy works for.The really cool part about this book was that each character had special abilities. They were so neat to read about. Not by choice, the spies who work for the CIA were kidnapped and shot up with steroids that gave them these abilities. One could see the future, one was like a fish, and some were indestructible. I really loved reading about what everyone’s powers were. This was definitely my favorite part of the book!If you enjoy spy stories with a lot of action, I would definitely recommend this book. It was different from any book I have picked up before! I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy a book about spies, but come to found out, I do! I am giving this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars!Thank you to Hannah Carmack for providing me with an advanced copy in return for an honest review!
    more
  • Rebecca Langham
    January 1, 1970
    Seven-Sided Spy is an action-packed story of hunters and prey. Though the question begs: who is truly the prey? This novel doesn't deal in absolutes or black-and-white good guys and bad guys as is often the case in CIA vs KGB stories (I think...). Everyone's just doing what they can to survive. This is not my usual genre, and so I must admit that I may not be the best person to provide a fair review of a historical spy novel, but I'll do my best.The story engages with several different narrative Seven-Sided Spy is an action-packed story of hunters and prey. Though the question begs: who is truly the prey? This novel doesn't deal in absolutes or black-and-white good guys and bad guys as is often the case in CIA vs KGB stories (I think...). Everyone's just doing what they can to survive. This is not my usual genre, and so I must admit that I may not be the best person to provide a fair review of a historical spy novel, but I'll do my best.The story engages with several different narratives through both a forward-moving plot and an array of flashbacks. A key cast of about seven characters is not an easy juggling act for any author, but Carmack pulls it off fairly well. If you're interested in books that are not particularly male or female dominated, but provide close to equal time to both, then this novel is one for you. I personally think it's a good thing to see more books out there that aren't confined by the sometimes rigid expectations of "lesfic" or "M/M". That said, for me the blurb and the cover image combined set me up with a somewhat unrealistic expectation, as Diana is not explored in any more depth than the other characters in the story. Her F/F relationship also has probably the least amount of time-on-the-page of any of the diverse relationships, both sexual and otherwise. I don't see that as much of a problem as the blurb gives a really accurate feel for the thriller elements, but readers should realise that the book is not *only* about Diana and her ex-flame, but she is one equal part of a varied cast of characters that are male, female, gay, straight, and - though not explicitly labelled - an array of identities in between. I think this is a strength, and we need more books like this out there, but I also know that some people prefer a more traditional style of romance thriller, and this is not the type of book that you'll find in Seven-Sided Spy.One of the other real strengths of this book is its action scenes, of which there are plenty. I'm terrible at following such sequences in most books, I usually just kind of bluff my way to the end of a fight scene and hope I can guess who's won from whatever happens after, but I didn't need to do that here. I could imagine the fighting play out in my head quite clearly. Be prepared to be a little confused at times because of the large cast of characters, all of whom have two names (a real name and a code name), but stick with it because I had a pretty good grasp of who everyone was by the end. As someone who doesn't have much love for thrillers, and I am one of those few people out there who really doesn't like James Bond, this book did a surprisingly good job of holding my interest. A really solid debut novel from Hannah Carmack. ***I received an ARC of this novel***
    more
  • Mel (abookishmel)
    January 1, 1970
    Seven-Sided SpyHannah CormackEbook I was provided an ebook of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacts my thoughts.The premise of this book is very interesting and is what led me to accept the review request. You are following a number of spies in the early 1960s as they attempt to complete a mission. It was a little confusing getting used to the codenames. The story uses multiple viewpoints to tell the story, which is complex but is executed very well.Our Seven-Sided SpyHannah CormackEbook I was provided an ebook of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacts my thoughts.The premise of this book is very interesting and is what led me to accept the review request. You are following a number of spies in the early 1960s as they attempt to complete a mission. It was a little confusing getting used to the codenames. The story uses multiple viewpoints to tell the story, which is complex but is executed very well.Our characters are essentially on a mountain with a group of people trying to bring them down. I don’t want to say too much in case I spoil anyone but I loved the way the story was told.We get to know all our characters very well. They are fleshed out really well and I found myself caring about them which is definitely a good thing to have happen.As you’re reading the book it seems like it’s unorganised and that things will never make sense however, when they all come together, it’s done so well. I actually heard myself saying ‘ohhhhhh!’ a couple times.The cover is beautiful and is definitely one of the things that drew me in. I also loved how nothing in this novel is concrete – that is, nothing is simply black and white. All the characters have their own motivations and fears and they are done so well. I especially loved reading about Rigon’s history in the early chapters.This was only my second spy novel and it was so good!Thank you to Hannah Cormack for giving me the opportunity to read and review her book.
    more
  • Duskangelreads
    January 1, 1970
    I received an eBook of Seven-Sided Spy from the author, Hannah. Thanks so much to her!!You can also find this review on my blog HERECover Art:Honestly, I don’t like the cover. I don’t find covers with people on them appealing. I do like the forest background part though. It looks good against the bluish colour of the girl. I am also not sure exactly who the girl on the cover is. I’m guessing it is meant to be Diana, but not 100% sure.Writing:I liked most aspects of the writing. It flowed well bu I received an eBook of Seven-Sided Spy from the author, Hannah. Thanks so much to her!!You can also find this review on my blog HERECover Art:Honestly, I don’t like the cover. I don’t find covers with people on them appealing. I do like the forest background part though. It looks good against the bluish colour of the girl. I am also not sure exactly who the girl on the cover is. I’m guessing it is meant to be Diana, but not 100% sure.Writing:I liked most aspects of the writing. It flowed well but was a little slow at times however it wasn’t bad enough to really bug me. The book includes both past and present events. I enjoyed a few of the past sections but a few of them, I feel like could have been summed up in less pages. Some didn’t really add anything to the overall story and I didn’t see the point of them. But a few were necessary for the story, so I enjoyed those!My main problem was that all of the chapters were so long! I prefer novels with short or varied sized chapters. That is simply personal preference and I didn’t mark it down for this. I just wanted to make people aware if you are like me and don’t like all huge chapters!Plot:As this is a thriller I won’t talk much about the plot as I feel like Thrillers you need to go in knowing nothing or at least very little!I did enjoy the plot though. It was fairly action packed. As I said earlier it was a little slow at times. This was mainly at the start when we are learning about the world and setting everything up, but after about 30% it gets a pretty fast-paced except some of the past sections.Characters:There is a fair bit of diversity in this book. We have gay, bisexual, POC & also a character with an eating disorder (Bulimia).As for the Bulimia, It is barely talked about. It is one of the past sections and basically all the happens is we see that she suffers from it and then another character tells her to stop and then we are back in the present and she no longer suffers from it. I’m not sure if the rep was done well for this one. I personally don’t have any experience with any eating disorders so I can’t say whether it was done well or not.As for the characters themselves, I feel like discovering who they all are is part of the mystery of the book. So if you want you can keep reading, or choose not to. Skip to the Overall section if you didn’t want to spoil this part.Each of the characters have atleast 2 names as they are spies. I will put both so there is no confusion!Hera/Diana/Goddess was my least favourite character in the end. At the beginning, I didn’t mind her but in the end, this one is crazy!Dresden/Tim was another unenjoyable character. He was just kinda rude and petty and annoyed me most of the time.Niccolò/Da Vinci was an okay character. He kinda felt like a father figure to the others in their group. He felt very realistic for some reason. I think it may have been the constant struggle he was in and just trying to do the right thing but it not working out!Marco/Rigan was probably my favourite character. He was interesting and really enjoyable.Ruby/Robin was funny, quirky and I enjoyed seeing her being thrown into this craziness and how she dealt with it.The rest of the characters didn’t get as much page time in their POVs. So I don’t have as many feelings about them as the others.Nikola/Wesley is the one character that I don’t really know how to feel. I both liked her and didn’t like her at different times.Kal/Sergei & Gulliver/Roderick are both enjoyable and I did really enjoy their friendship.Overall:Overall I enjoyed the writing but had a few small issues with it. The plot was really well done though and I liked the slight hint of a fantasy of sorts. I liked some and didn’t like some of the characters, but you can’t love everyone! So I’m fine with that.Slight spoiler ahead!! The only thing I wish is there was more explanation about why some of the characters were given those abilities of such. There was no real background on that part. There was the background of the characters but barely any talk about why those things were happening to them. I just don’t get it and I’m pretty sure it’s a standalone, so we will never find out I guess!
    more
  • A.M. Leibowitz
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsI’ll be honest, this didn’t end up being quite what I expected when I picked it up. When I think spy thrillers and espionage, I generally think James Bond-type stories, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. This was much more character-driven than plot driven.There’s a lot to like in here. I appreciated the way the characters on both sides were nuanced. There was really only one character I ended up labeling the true hero, and as expected, that’s the one who genuinely had a happy ending. 3.5 StarsI’ll be honest, this didn’t end up being quite what I expected when I picked it up. When I think spy thrillers and espionage, I generally think James Bond-type stories, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. This was much more character-driven than plot driven.There’s a lot to like in here. I appreciated the way the characters on both sides were nuanced. There was really only one character I ended up labeling the true hero, and as expected, that’s the one who genuinely had a happy ending. Whether or not the others got what was due them is up to the reader.While some people may struggle with keeping the characters sorted out, I had no trouble. Each one has two names, which feeds into the theme of people being multi-faceted. For something that could have been confusing, I think the author did a remarkable job of making sure we had the tools we needed to know who was who. The dual identities also serve to make each character sympathetic, regardless of which side they’re on.That was another thing I liked. There are mostly no true good guys/bad guys. Although that element is usually firmly present in most spy thrillers, it’s not here. Over the course of the book, we learn how and why most of them became involved. Their motivations are varied and interesting. That’s probably the best part of the story.I do have mixed feelings in other ways. For one thing, I never felt like some of the plot strands went much of anywhere. As interesting as the characters’ psychology was, I think I was looking for something with a more specific goal. There was no logic to why the spies were given the steroid that transformed them or what the plan was.I also found it frustrating that most of the story takes place in the woods on a mountain. We see other places in flashbacks, but I’m not the sort of reader who wants my action stories so localized. It makes sense to the story, but it simply wasn’t my preference.This definitely should not be tagged as “lesbian.” For one thing, neither of the two women appeared to be a lesbian. For another, their relationship was about the least fleshed-out thing in the entire story. I found the two men who had an ongoing relationship more compelling. This is a problem, making male love more interesting, deep, and well-rounded. It also feeds into some unpleasant stereotypes about women and cattiness. Some of the other LGBT content confused me, and frankly, I had some misgivings about Nikola’s and Hera’s characters in a number of ways.I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it didn’t leave me feeling entirely satisfied. There were some loose ends, which I did somewhat expect, but that wasn’t the problem I had with it. It’s hard to explain without giving everything away, but I finished the book feeling a bit like something was missing.Overall, the writing is very good. If a psychological cross-examination of spies and the spies who love them is your thing, then this book will delight you. If you’re like me and want a bit more of a specific aim for your international espionage, then you might just as well go back to regular old James Bond.For good writing and an interesting premise but a story that ultimately didn’t dazzle me, this gets 3.5 stars.
    more
  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting and unexpected read and, consequently, a bit difficult to review. It's really hard to explain without giving much away. During the Cold War, a group of CIA agents is captured by the KGB and experimented on. They escape but get trapped in a state park, leading to a standoff with three KGB agents. The synopsis makes it seem like the majority of the story will be these two groups of agents matching wits, but there's really not a lot of plot here.There are a ton of flashbacks This was an interesting and unexpected read and, consequently, a bit difficult to review. It's really hard to explain without giving much away. During the Cold War, a group of CIA agents is captured by the KGB and experimented on. They escape but get trapped in a state park, leading to a standoff with three KGB agents. The synopsis makes it seem like the majority of the story will be these two groups of agents matching wits, but there's really not a lot of plot here.There are a ton of flashbacks. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'd say half the book is flashbacks to the agents' previous missions, which aren't even that detailed. As a result, the story is so choppy that I felt adrift most of the read.The main problem is that there are too many characters for the story to focus on--at least eight. Everyone has code names and real names, and the narration flops between them, so it's sometimes hard to keep track. More than that, though, is that they all get points of view. In fact, some scenes even seemed omniscient, switching between characters' thoughts. Despite all these characters having points of view, it was so hard to get a read on their motivation. Okay, the CIA agents want to get away from the KGB, but they don't do anything about it in the present, and in the flashbacks, their motivations are even murkier. Why is anyone doing what they're doing? The synopsis gave me the impression that Diana is the main character, but after reading the whole book, I still barely have an idea of who she is or what her relationship with the KGB agent was like.As far as the editing goes, there were many little typos or errors, such as comma splices or capitalizing the first word after a comma. I'm attuned to that sort of stuff anyway, but it felt like this manuscript needed another run-through to catch those things. The writing is decent and flows well, but some of the phrasing is awkward.It's not that this wasn't an enjoyable read--I definitely liked aspects--but it was frustrating one. I think there are a lot of good ideas here but that the execution is lacking. I'd probably read more from Carmack in the future, but I don't think I'd recommend this to anyone except readers who really like spy novels.Thanks to Hannah Carmack, Nine Star Press, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    I choose this book by mistake. I thought, I don’t even know why, that there was a romance involved in the story, but what a magnificent mistake to make, It was an amazing book. I loved it.It is under the historical genre in the publisher, but I get a bigger paranormal influence than historical from it. I also think the mystery was an important element, and certainly something I enjoyed a lot about it. The plot was fantastic, it is full of twists. It was very exciting. The book description made m I choose this book by mistake. I thought, I don’t even know why, that there was a romance involved in the story, but what a magnificent mistake to make, It was an amazing book. I loved it.It is under the historical genre in the publisher, but I get a bigger paranormal influence than historical from it. I also think the mystery was an important element, and certainly something I enjoyed a lot about it. The plot was fantastic, it is full of twists. It was very exciting. The book description made me believe it was going to be center only on Diana, and maybe that’s what made me think there was romance involved ,because it also mention her former flame, Nikola. But it wasn’t only about her, the story was told from several points of view, what I found that really interesting and made it easier to know all of the characters.It was almost impossible to choose a favorite character. Every single one of them had an interesting story to tell. I particularly liked the fact that none of them was perfect. There wasn’t good guys and bad guys, just individuals trying to survive under a very difficult situation.I did have some issues about it, mostly related to the fact that sometimes, especially at the beginning, it was hard to tell when the story had gone to tell us something from the past and then get back to the present. After I advance a little in the book, it got easier to tell. It was bothersome at first, but nothing that made me enjoy the book any less.Overall it was an amazing book. I loved it. This is, obviously, the first book from the author that I read, since is a debut novel, but I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this new author after this great first experience.*ARC provided by NineStar Press through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review
    more
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I was provided with a digital advanced reader copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.Now that this is out of the way…Seven-Sided Spy is a complex undertaking delving into multiple plot lines (moving forward, flashbacks) and an extensive cast of main characters. You’ll know some of the premise based on the description here on Goodreads, so I’ll just work into what I thought right now.The premise of this book is an intriguing one to be sure, and the book itself is grea I was provided with a digital advanced reader copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.Now that this is out of the way…Seven-Sided Spy is a complex undertaking delving into multiple plot lines (moving forward, flashbacks) and an extensive cast of main characters. You’ll know some of the premise based on the description here on Goodreads, so I’ll just work into what I thought right now.The premise of this book is an intriguing one to be sure, and the book itself is great for anyone interested in the spy world, espionage, thrillers, and similar. I would like to mention this book is quite complex in what it juggles, so even for an experienced reader it would be good to take it slow through this one and really think about what you’re reading.I say this because I, like others, had some difficulty with remembering who everyone was in the book, since there are quite a few characters and each one has both a real name as well as a code name. I kind of wish I knew this when I started, because then I would have tried writing down who was who, which I think would have been a great help. The confusion with the characters, I think, is my biggest piece of criticism about the book. I personally would have liked things to have been a bit more clear-cut, but at the same time I wonder if the “messy” nature (for lack of a better word) might also be in an effort to mimic what the spy world was actually like? I have no experience as a spy, obviously, but I would imagine that world is all shades of grey rather than black and white. If this is the case then the book certain does an amazing job at it.I’m not sure how I feel about the ending just yet—certainly didn’t see every element of it coming, which is a great thing, but at the same time there’s still something about it. Hard to describe, really, without spoilers.So, as I mentioned earlier I think Seven-Sided Spy is worth the read for big fans of spy thrillers and similar type books—just be prepared to always think throughout in order to keep everything straight!
    more
  • Anna Kaye-Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    I was a bit nervous going into this book. The first half starts slow, a bit like climbing up the mountain, and it's hard to see the future and figure out if the spies can balance out the nature part of things, but it's all a clever seduction so that by the end you're thoroughly hooked because this action narrative is on STEROIDS. Also, it is hella gay, in the best possible way. The first half is a bit light, but the second half is dense with flashbacks and twists and turns, and I think enough su I was a bit nervous going into this book. The first half starts slow, a bit like climbing up the mountain, and it's hard to see the future and figure out if the spies can balance out the nature part of things, but it's all a clever seduction so that by the end you're thoroughly hooked because this action narrative is on STEROIDS. Also, it is hella gay, in the best possible way. The first half is a bit light, but the second half is dense with flashbacks and twists and turns, and I think enough subtle characterization work is done while you aren't paying attention it makes the final pages stick out more. I thought it was going to end up being a character study nature porn more than anything, but the fight scenes improve as you go and the last one is just heart-wrenching. Your heart will race, if you still have one, and you will call the author a bad word at least once. An excellent, breezy read that will leave you coming up for air.
    more
  • Sara Codair
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Seven Sided Spy from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review and was pleasantly surprised to find it’s science fiction element was a more prominent part of the story than I initially expected. When I read the cover copy about once attractive spies deformed and on the run from the KGB, I thought normal scarring, not superhuman abilities and blue skin. The later is much more exciting, at least in my mind.Yes, it has speculative elements, but Seven Sided Spy is also I received a copy of Seven Sided Spy from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review and was pleasantly surprised to find it’s science fiction element was a more prominent part of the story than I initially expected. When I read the cover copy about once attractive spies deformed and on the run from the KGB, I thought normal scarring, not superhuman abilities and blue skin. The later is much more exciting, at least in my mind.Yes, it has speculative elements, but Seven Sided Spy is also firmly grounded in reality and history. The slang, cars and clothing really ground me in the time period. The deep character development grounds me in humanity. I loved how the characters’ past, present and future were all woven through the novel, but felt that at one point, having characters tell each other stories as a way to do that was used a little too much. It worked, though, because a lot of the “present” narrative was the characters stuck in the woods, trying to figure out when or if it would ever be safe to leave. I honestly was not sure how this was going to end. I had a clear idea of how I wanted it to end, but my ideal ending would not have been the best for the stories true hero, so when I got to the end, the one I didn’t quite expect, it left me a little sad. It almost made me cry. However, it was also happy for at least for one characters. And it worked. I’m just a baby when it comes to endings. While I am sure there are comparable novels like this one out there, I have not read once recently enough to make comparison. However, if you have ever wanted something like a darker, more grounded, queer Agent Carter, or if you just like spy novels with deep characters and a slight speculative element, then read Seven Sided Spy.
    more
  • Becky McMannis
    January 1, 1970
    Seven-Sided Spy by Hannah CarmackStar rating: ★★★★ ☆ 4/5 starsFormat: ebook ARCSummary: Three CIA agents are kidnapped by the KGB and experimented on. The results leave them with super-human abilities but leaves them disfigured. They escape but being disfigured they cannot return back society and must evade recapture. Review: I received a free advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This book had a new take on the spy novel genre that I hadn't seen in another Seven-Sided Spy by Hannah CarmackStar rating: ★★★★ ☆ 4/5 starsFormat: ebook ARCSummary: Three CIA agents are kidnapped by the KGB and experimented on. The results leave them with super-human abilities but leaves them disfigured. They escape but being disfigured they cannot return back society and must evade recapture. Review: I received a free advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This book had a new take on the spy novel genre that I hadn't seen in another book. I liked the characters and the story overall. I enjoyed reading it and wanted more once it was finished. It's set in the early sixties, at the height of the Cold War. I do wish that they could have spent more time outside of the woods. We get some flashbacks, but I would have liked to see more in "current" time with the CIA agents outside of the woods. I just would have liked to see them in the field with their new abilities. I wish I understood everyone's dislike of Tim. Like I get he wasn't the best guy, based on him stalking his neighbor but everyone seemed to have personal beef with him and we don't get to The see what that is. So it left me pretty confused why he was so hated. I thought for a second he and Diana had a romantic history but later it seems like that was a bad guess. I'm just not sure. Diana though, she was a pretty awful person. Seeing what she did to Nikola, girl deserved more than she got and in the end I couldn't root for her. Though the book does a great job of highlighting the morally grey area of espionage. The "good" guys aren't completely good and the "bad" guys aren't as bad as you would think they are. Ruby and Rigan were by far my favorite characters. I would love to have just read about those two forever. I found myself wishing there had been more about them. Overall this is a really great novel. I haven't read many spy novels but this one was really unique with a great storyline and characters. Recommendation: If you like super powered humans and spies then this is a great novel to check out. Challenge prompt: A book with alliteration in the title
    more
  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    This review also appears on my blog alexreadsboooks________Diana Riley, the CIA’s finest agent disappear in the middle of the Cold War, kidnapped by the KGB along with her partners Tim and Da Vinci. They come to in a KGB facility in North Carolina, altered and with strange new powers. They manage to flee, but their ordeal is not over.The KGB sends one of their deadliest after them, Nikkola, a woman who has every reason to hate the woman she used to be in a relationship with. Can they escape her This review also appears on my blog alexreadsboooks________Diana Riley, the CIA’s finest agent disappear in the middle of the Cold War, kidnapped by the KGB along with her partners Tim and Da Vinci. They come to in a KGB facility in North Carolina, altered and with strange new powers. They manage to flee, but their ordeal is not over.The KGB sends one of their deadliest after them, Nikkola, a woman who has every reason to hate the woman she used to be in a relationship with. Can they escape her long enough to survive?Thank s a lot to Hannah Carmack for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!I was not quite sure what to expect from this when I started it. Thrillers aren’t my usual genre, and even if it’s queer I was not entirely sure I’d like it. But as it turned out I really did.It’s probably a pity for any novels about spies that the last one I read before this was Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, which I couldn’t stand, and which kind of soured me on this particular subgenre. On the other hand it probably helped Seven-Sided Spy, because it reminded me why spy novels are actually pretty cool.The story itself is pulled me right in, and I had a hard time putting it down, even when I really had to. i wouldn’t call it a fun story, but the characters are really interesting, and Carmack provides background information on all of them and their relationships with each other to that point through flashbacks. It was great to learn about all of them, and by the end of the novel I like I at least liked most of them.Stylistically, I think it is a strong debut. There are b smaller bits where I personally feel like the writing hits some snags, but they’re few and far in between and it actually makes me want to see where Carmack goes from here and how she develops her writing. If Seven-Sided Spy is anything to go by, I’m sure it will be exciting.
    more
  • Brianna Remus
    January 1, 1970
    Original review posted on briannasbookreview.weebly.comReview: This novel begins with intriguing and action packed scenes that follow CIA agents as they are captured by the rivaling KGB. Unexpected turn of events kept me turning the page throughout this entire book, especially the aspects of paranormal experimental transitions that each CIA agent was forced to endure after they were captured. One thing I really enjoyed was the relationships each trio of agents had on both sides. They all had his Original review posted on briannasbookreview.weebly.comReview: This novel begins with intriguing and action packed scenes that follow CIA agents as they are captured by the rivaling KGB. Unexpected turn of events kept me turning the page throughout this entire book, especially the aspects of paranormal experimental transitions that each CIA agent was forced to endure after they were captured. One thing I really enjoyed was the relationships each trio of agents had on both sides. They all had history together even across the CIA and KGB, which made the situation that much more tense through betrayal and deceit. Additionally, Hannah did an incredible job at providing character development with the use of flashbacks and detailed descriptions of character personalities. When the point of view changed, I could picture exactly the kind of person each character was and given the number of characters in this novel I can imagine being successful in this was extremely difficult. There were a few areas I think could have been improved, such as the transition from current perspective to flashbacks. I had a hard time keeping track of when the scenes were current and when they were flashbacks until I got further into the scenes. Maybe utilizing shorter chapters could have been helpful. Additionally, it took me a little bit to remember all of the real names and aliases, so I found myself thinking a bit too hard while reading a novel. Overall, I found Seven-Sided Spy to be incredibly enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read from multiple character view points and who likes action novels with character development.
    more
  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    Part of Carmack's style (and something that is entirely personal for everyone) is the way Carmack weaves in stories within stories. There's our main plotline unfolding, yet at the same time, our protagonists are all drawn into their memories. As they interact with long lost rivals and uneasy alliances, they remember and reminisce on how they ended up where they are. The multiple perspective narrative style is integral to this historical web. We are allowed to see how these events unfolded and ha Part of Carmack's style (and something that is entirely personal for everyone) is the way Carmack weaves in stories within stories. There's our main plotline unfolding, yet at the same time, our protagonists are all drawn into their memories. As they interact with long lost rivals and uneasy alliances, they remember and reminisce on how they ended up where they are. The multiple perspective narrative style is integral to this historical web. We are allowed to see how these events unfolded and happened for everyone - why they are who they are and where they are.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
    more
Write a review