Vi Spy: Licence to Chill by Maz Evans

I have to admit that I’ve never really enjoyed spy stories. I have plenty of kids at my school who love Alex Rider and a few who are really keen on the Cherub series, but I’ve never really been able to get in to them. Maz Evans’ Vi Spy: Licence to Chill is a completely different kind of spy story though, and one that is a whole lot of fun.

Valentine Day (or Vi for short) lives with her mum and her Nan, both of whom are famous secret agents who are now retired. When Vi was born, her mum (Easter) gave up her life of espionage in order to keep her daughter out of harm’s way. Easter, who now calls herself Susan, is about to marry Vi’s teacher, Mr Sprout. However, Vi’s dad has other plans. Her dad, Robert, also known as the supervillain Sir Charge, hasn’t been around for most of her life, but now he suddenly wants to be a part of it. Her dad tells her that he is turning over a new leaf and becoming a good guy and Vi wants to get to know him. Her mother is furious and wants Vi to have nothing to do with him. Vi knows what she wants – to go to the prestigious spy school, Rimmington Hall. Villains and heroes alike are after a dangerous piece of technology called Neurotrol and Vi knows that if she finds it, that will be her ticket to Rimmington Hall. With her parents distracted with their own problems, Vi must get her hands on the Neurotrol to prove she is worthy of becoming a spy.

Vi Spy: Licence to Chill is an entertaining thrill-ride of a book, with plenty of laughs along the way. This is a spy story unlike any I’ve read before, as it pokes fun at spies and villains. There is something in this book for all readers, from flatulent supervillains with stinky feet and super-spy grannies with gadgets galore, to dance-fighting parents and secret agent waiters. Maz Evans has clearly had a lot of fun writing this book!

I was laughing almost the whole way through this book. There are just so many funny moments, such hilarious characters and great dialogue. My favourite part of the book is Chapter 5, where Vi’s dad takes her to the cafe. While they enjoy their gelato and catch up, assassins are trying to take out Robert. The waiter is in the background, knocking out ninjas and diffusing dynamite, while Vi and Robert are clueless to what is happening. My favourite characters are the Ex-Villains Improvement League, a bunch of supervillains who are trying to go straight. There’s Doctor Doppleganger (a two-headed villain who argues with himself), Dimitri (the vampire), Auguste (the clown), and my favourite, Siren (the femme-fatale with a flatulence and body odour problem). The dialogue between these characters makes up some of the funniest parts of the story.

Vi is a great character who is super-relatable. She’s been sheltered her whole life, thanks to her over-protective mum, but now she has a chance to prove that she can look after herself. She is desperate to become a spy, and her mum’s reluctance just makes her even more determined. I love the relationship that Vi has with her Nan and the relationship that grows between her and the Sprouts.

Vi Spy: Licence to Chill is the first book in this new series and I’m excited to see how Vi grows as a spy. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Maz will make me laugh next.

There is a fantastic collection of resources for Vi Spy: Licence to Chill on the Chicken House Books website. Check out their Schools Hub page for chapter-by-chapter resources, videos from Maz Evans, an extract of the book, and a super cool Spy Kit activity book.

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