Review: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle – Bob Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith

Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle

Title: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle
Author: Bob Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith
Series: Nick and Tesla #3
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher / Hardcover, 256 pages
Opening Sentence: “‘It’s her,’ Nick said. ‘She’s the spy.'”
Author Website (Science Bob and Hockensmith) | Goodreads | Amazon

In this third installment of the series, 11-year-old whiz-kids Nick and Tesla discover that someone in the quiet town of Half Moon Bay has placed their beloved Uncle Newt under electronic surveillance—but who is spying on him, and why? To expose the secret agent, Nick and Tesla build all kinds of outrageous contraptions. Throughout the book, the narrative is interrupted by blueprints and instructions so that budding young inventors can follow along. Science and electronics have never been so much fun!

I want to get this out at the very beginning: I think the more I read Middle Grade the less I feel like most MG is for me. Maybe I’m getting too old in mindset, but I don’t know. This feeling, unfortunately, spreads to Nick and Tesla. That being said, I don’t think this review is going to be very long… because I don’t feel like I have very much to say.

For much of the novel I was entertained, but the bare minimum amount. If I’m being completely honest? The only reason I kept reading was because this book was given to me for review. Otherwise I don’t think I would have been compelled to keep going. I actually tried starting it once before and didn’t pick it up again for months because I wasn’t captured by the story.

This is why I think it’s Middle Grade + me, not so much Nick and Tesla + me. The simplicity of the story killed it for me. The dumb jokes would make children laugh, I’m sure, but they were filler to me. I craved a more in depth and complex story and I wasn’t getting it… So I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked. Maybe I’m becoming a bitter adult? I just was having so much trouble getting into the story from the POV of the target demographic (as opposed to the adult I am).

So yeah. I wanted to love this book, I really did. But I think maybe this series and I are reaching our end. Sigh. I’m going to read the next book (because I have that one for review as well), but if I’m still feeling the same way then I’ll walk away content with the feeling that I gave the series a fair shake.

All of that being said, if you’re a hardcore Middle Grade fan then I recommend this series. I’ve spoken to several people who loooove it. And, of course, the science projects included in every book are super cool and most definitely a selling point.

Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Reviews from the rest of the series:
High Voltage Danger Lab (#1)
Robot Army Rampage (#2)


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