Sekret - Lindsay  Smith *I was provided a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I had a few issues with this story, but overall the writing and uniqueness of this story have me rating it as a solid 4 star read.

Sekret starts off as a riveting story that pulled me right in. I felt like I was right there with Yulia as she’s trying to stay under the radar in the marketplace. The writing was great; I was caught up in the story, ready to see where it was going to take me. And then I had to put the story down around page 68. That was probably the worst thing I could have done. When I came back to the story I had a very difficult time getting absorbed into the world again. I felt a bit lost when they were on missions or using their powers. Sometimes it was real clear what was happening. Then others I had a difficult time differentiating what was happening within the mind (especially when linking powers) and what was happening outside of their minds. I’m sure this is more my fault and not the story’s, since I probably just picked a bad time to take a break. Eventually the story does pick up again, and I did get re-engrossed in it enough to finish, but it was a struggle for me to get there.

This story tries to stay pretty close to actual history. It’s billed as “an espionage thriller
with a dash of both history and dystopia.” However, I have to say the history aspect definitely outweighed the dystopia aspect. In fact, because this story does follow close to actual history, I have a very difficult time accepting this as a dystopia. When I hear dystopia I tend to think either a) way in the future or b) complete alternate reality. The only aspect of a dystopia I saw in this story was that there was the impoverished lower class and then there was the Party class. So I supposed technically the case can be made that this is a dystopia novel, but had I read it with that expectation, I would have been grossly disappointed.

The foreign names, while authentic, where a bit confusing for me at first. This was mostly when both the first name and the nickname were both being used for each character. Yes, there is a note regarding this in the beginning of the story, but reading a digital copy did not make it easy to switch back and forth to check names. However, once the name game settled down and the nicknames were primarily used, the confusion was cleared up.

Another problem I had, that likely contributed to my confusion towards the beginning of the story was the different powers each of the characters possessed. Yes some of the powers were the same, but others were so similar and yet different, I had a difficult time keeping who had what straight. I also got tired of “we just want you to be safe, Yulia” towards the middle of the book. Yeah, ok we get it, that’s great and all but why? Why do these strangers care so much about her safety? Masha certainly couldn’t care less (granted she’s not exactly a nice person either), but why is Yulia’s safety so concerning to Larissa and Sergei? They’re not exactly childhood friends or anything along those lines.

Overall, it’s a well-written story that has some unique aspects to it. While this is bound to intrigue those interested in Russian culture, interest in Russia is not a requirement to enjoy this story. Having very little interest in Russia myself, this story kept me intrigued and although I may have felt a bit lost (even contemplated quitting at one point) I’m glad I saw this story through to the end of the first installment. What I really like about this story is that due to the ending, I don’t feel forced into reading the next book, as this really is a solid story in itself. However there are a few loose ends that may lead to me reading the next book.