BOOK REVIEW ~ SPARROW 59 BY DEVON ASHLEY

The Bourne Identity meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith for the New Adult crowd. 
Members of the CIA’s specialized team Sparrow, who investigate specifically into black market deals involving stolen medical research, were all murdered in one quick sweep. Drew and Samantha, team five-nine, have been more than just partners since their academy training days. Safeguarding their secret tryst from everyone in their professional lives, they trust no one but themselves. But when Samantha finds herself suspiciously spared and Drew missing, she doesn’t want to believe what the CIA claims – that Drew is not only alive and has defected from their organization, but is facilitating the deaths of prominent research developers worldwide. Now the only member of Sparrow who hasn’t been killed off, Samantha finds herself under serious investigation by association – and a prisoner within her own home.
Just when she’s on the verge of being labeled a murderer and a traitor herself, Drew activates a beacon only she can see, taunting her from across the world. He knows she’s watching, and she knows he could be gone forever if she doesn’t oblige his silent request. With nothing left to lose and everything to gain, Sam goes rogue to track him down and clear her good name. But when she finally catches up to her partner of four years, he hasn’t a clue who he is or what he’s done, and the men chasing him down suddenly want to acquire her as well.
Frantic yet determined, Samantha is forced to protect a man she no longer trusts in order to learn why he went astray – and why his associates are determined to retrieve him. But is Drew really a victim himself in a much greater scheme, or will his memories prove lethal, leading Sam into harm’s way like a lamb to slaughter, ultimately risking the life of the only member of Sparrow he managed to save?

This book really surprised me…in a bad way. I really enjoyed this author’s Nearly series so I was expecting the same for this romantic suspense read; however, to enjoy this book required a major suspension of disbelief (which I’m not capable of) and an acceptance of a horrific plot twist near the end of the story (which I still can’t accept by the way), so sadly, this book didn’t quite work for me. To be honest, I was so angry when I finished I thought about slapping a 1 star on the book and calling it a day. But after taking a day to mull things over, there were a few things about the story I liked which is why I went with a 2.5 star rating instead.
The story certainly grabbed my attention from the very first page – it was fast-paced, nerve-wracking, and immediately transported me into this futuristic(ish) world where government agencies and other third parties vied for advanced technology and scientific research. The story flashes to a specific CIA team – Sparrow 59 – and their mission to extract data. However, things are botched up when Sam (the heroine) realizes her entire team is wiped out besides her and on top of which, Drew (the hero) is missing. Not willing to believe that her real-life partner defected from the agency and sold them out, she makes it her goal to find out the truth behind her team’s assassination and more importantly, to find Drew.
Up until the 90% mark, I liked the story. It was entertaining and kept my attention but nothing was mindblowing…at least not yet. Just when I thought the ending would deliver a smashing conclusion to the story, I was greatly surprised by the plot twist and it blew my mind all right, just in the worst way possible. I don’t want to directly spoil what happens but I think with this kind of twist, the author was aiming for a heroic approach and it totally failed to work on me. Depending on how the twist is portrayed, it’ll either induce tears or make my blood boil, and since I didn’t particularly love any of these characters to begin with, I ended up steaming mad.
Another thing that bothered me were all the references to advanced technology that made me think this story was more futuristic and leaning towards the sci-fi genre, even though it’s not. The gadgets, memory resoration/wiping, etc…just wasn’t portrayed in enough detail in my opinion, so I had a hard time accepting their roles in this book.
I did like the writing style as it’s laidback and casual, making it super easy for me to ‘get into’ and despite being annoyed with certain events in the story, I was never bored so this was a rather quick read for me. Even though I’m not a big fan of this book, I will definitely be checking out the next one regardless because I need my closure.
Sparrow 59 is a romantic suspense thriller featuring spies and isn’t a standalone. I personally wouldn’t categorize it as NA because aside from the characters’ ages, nothing about this book has any aspects of a typical NA read. Low steam level as well. There is a slight cliffhanger but I wasn’t bothered by it much as it ends on a high note.