Friday, August 1, 2008

Book Review: Specialists: Native Tongue by Shannon Greenland

Despite initial assurances to GiGi that she’d be working from home base, book 4 of the Specialists series, Native Tongue, finds her preparing to go on her 4th mission, this time to South America to use a computer program she developed to translate some cave hieroglyphs that are supposed to reveal which of 15 indigenous tribes gets a vase said to have magical powers. Linguist Parrot, a Native American himself, is going along as the official translator. And wouldn’t you know it? One of the tribal elders, Talon, is an evil human trafficker from Parrot’s past and he has his own plans for the mystical vase.

In many ways, this was probably my favorite installment of the series so far, maybe because I relate to it the most. I’ve never been to modeling school (Model Spy) broken into a museum (Down to the Wire), or been to a cheerleading camp (The Winning Element), but I have ridden a horse named Diablo through the South American jungle! I was totally hooked by the linguistic aspect of the book. I envy Parrot’s ability to pick up languages so easily – it took me years to master Spanish and German – and although I could once get by pretty well in Japanese, I only have enough for party tricks now. Parrot gets a really cool language lab at the Specialists headquarters (all of the Specialists get their own tricked out labs) – it’s the one I covet the most for sure.

I also really like the way GiGi has developed as a character throughout the series. Once wholly absorbed in computer coding and not very social, she is now dating one of the other Specialists and has a flirt with Professor Quirk, a fellow blond genius who is charged with helping her translate the cave paintings. Her relationship with Parrot felt very authentic and it was sweet how she went out of her way to comfort him, something I couldn’t have imagined earlier in the series.

The mission itself wasn’t my favorite though (Down to the Wire wins there) because I never got a sense of what could happen if the mystical vase fell into the wrong hands. I mean obviously I was rooting for them to take down Talon, but I would have liked a tad more urgency.

I am very eager to read book 5, especially due to the teaser at the end regarding a possible relative of GiGi’s. I hope I will not have to wait too long for it to come out.

This is really an exciting series and one that anyone with a sense of adventure can enjoy.

Discussion question: What special ability do you have that the Specialists team could use to fight international crime? Both serious and wacky answers are accepted in the comments :)

8 comments:

ChickLit Teens said...

Great review! I am so jealous you've already gotten to read the book, I searched high and low yesterday and have yet to find it in stores! I guess I'll just have to order it.

P.S. I've added a link to the contest on my blog. Hope it helps me in the contest. I want to get my hands on the signed copies so bad! ^^

Lana said...

oooh, let's see... what great abilities do I have that might be helpful fighting crime? Well, every spy team on TV needs the lovable goof who literally falls over the answer on occasion - does that qualify?

P.S. I really enjoyed your review and am linking to your contest on my blog as well :-).

Lenore said...

chicklit teens - maybe they still had it in the back room? I always ask just in case.

lana - sure that qualifies :) So a bit like "The man who knew too little" - have you seen that movie? It is so funny!

Shannon Greenland said...

Lenore - you rode a horse named Diablo, too? How weird...

Lenore said...

Shannon, I know, too weird. It was a group of international teens and I was the only one with any riding experience so they gave me the horse named Diablo. And he really ran like the devil too!

ChickLit Teens said...

Lol I know what you mean about asking. One time I went to the bookstore and asked about the new Warriors book (yes I read them, even though they are childish ^^) The clerk looked on the computer (she was new) and saw that they had the book in the back. She went back and got me a copy. Well it turns out that the book was not supposed to be released for another two months, so I basicaly got an advanced copy.

Priscilla Sena said...

Wow... this book sounds totally great. But I could definitely relate to book #3 because I am a cheerleader... and they do push us to work hard! Book I agree, that Down To The Wire is probably one of the best book missions so far. I like it VERY much... and my heart got so mushy every time David made GiGi nervous... how cute! Ok... I REALLY want to get this autographed copy... And actually, I already bought the 1st and 2nd and rented the 3rd from the library... if I had a blog, I would totally link this to mine. But I unfortunately don't! Well, enough with me rambling on... I am off to go post a comment on the other entry. Bye!

Carol said...

Well I can pick up accents pretty well. If I stay in a place longer than a week I start talking like the natives. I'm also a trilingual in training. :) Great review!