From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Danny Lipman is a young thief who stumbles into a clandestine operation that he does not immediately understand. The staff of the Shadow Project allows him to escape after deciding that he shows natural talent for their work but not before bugging his jacket. Danny soon learns that the project is a joint MI6/CIA venture that makes use of teen operatives to conduct remote viewing, a paranormal activity that allows agents to gather intelligence without risking themselves. Or so they believed. Opal, the director's daughter and a skilled operative in her own right, is somehow detained while on a mission and Danny is brought in to attempt a rescue. He is enticed to work for them, in part by their promise to provide the best possible care for his Nan, who has just had a stroke. From that point, nothing proceeds as Danny or anyone involved in the Shadow Project imagined. Given the number of spy novels and those on the entire spectrum of the paranormal battling for spots on young adult reading lists, this book was probably inevitable. It's exciting, has a good range of characters, an appealing cover, and also feels like a series opener, also inevitably. It should have broad appeal.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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In this sf-fantasy thriller, a (literally) underground British government program, in conjunction with the CIA, uses astral projection to spy on the world’s most fearsome terrorist network, the Sword of Wrath. The YA hook is that teenagers—more nimble-brained than adults—are the best candidates for such work, so readers are introduced to Danny, a thief with a heart of gold and natural psychic abilities; Opal, the daughter of a Shadow Project muckety-muck; and Michael, a hunky prince from Mali. Brennan dutifully constructs a light crush triangle between the three teens, but that falls mostly by the wayside in favor of some terrific action sequences. It may sound strange to say about a book whose central conceit is built around out-of-body experiences, but in the second half of the book, Brennan really gets out there with a fuzzy but compelling mix of Middle Eastern occultism, Knights Templar mythology, and a couple different planes of reality. Heady, yes, but never so heavy that it topples the swiftly paced paranormal thrill ride. Fans of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books should be right at home. Grades 6-9. --Ian Chipman
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