Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Art of Spying: Young Agent Edition” by Lynn Boughey & Peter Earnest

February 6, 2017

What I love most about the Potter fandom is that we can really get our geek on. We reread the books all the time, we watch the movies over and over, and when we get together as a group to discuss the series, theories and opinions and all the feels start flying around! With the addition of Fantastic Beasts to the wizarding world and the new book cover designs for the Potter novels, there’s also a whole new generation of readers joining the fandom, which makes this book a great addition to the universe.

I consider myself to be a very intuitive person and think that I see (or in this case, READ) between the lines to what lies deep underneath. However, when it comes to Potter, the Pensieve runs deeper. Just when you think you have it all sorted or you’ve discovered the hidden gems that Jo has laced throughout the series, someone else brings to your attention something you never thought of before.

That’s what this book does. It marries the need to understand the Potter series on a deeper level with, as the title indicates, the art of spying.

Before the previous edition of this book, which was geared toward the older Potter fan and released in 2014, I’d never really thought of what Harry and his friends were doing in the series in quite those terms. What is supremely interesting to those addicted to Harry’s journey and the world he inhabits is that there were so many things going on around Harry that affected him but that he just had zero clue about. He was completely new to the wizarding world and didn’t understand the rules that governed it. We as readers had access to information he didn’t, albeit sprinkled in what appeared to be a random sentence or paragraph that seemingly had no bearing to his journey. Knowing what we know now, those bits of information were never random and never without purpose.

The authors, Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest (the founding director of the International Spy Museum!), explore important moments throughout the series – breaking down each moment by reflecting on the actions of the characters. They help us understand the various methods of gaining information, how that information informs the decision-making process, and they reveal truths about each character and their motivations that we may not have seen at first glance.

“Although some Potterphiles consider ‘Order of the Phoenix’ to be one of the lesser books in the series, we heartily disagree. This book is Harry’s true coming-of-age story, alongside his best friends Hermione and Ron. With little to no help from the adults, the famous triad rebels against authority, organizes a subversive organization, and takes matters into its own hands! The fact that the kids must do this in secret allows them to develop important skills not only in magic but in spy craft as well.” – Art of Spying

What this new edition brings to the table for younger readers are activities that help the reader understand the terminology as well as test their retention of the material in a way that keeps them engaged! There are code-breaking puzzles, mazes, vocabulary exercises, fill-in-the-blank puzzles, and character-inspired games that include matching the wizard to their Patronus and guessing the correct order of all of the Ministers for Magic. There are also some really great illustrations sprinkled throughout the book from artist Kevin Cannon, which really add to the fun and wonder geared toward the younger fans, but older Potter readers will enjoy them as well!

 

 

Harry Potter and the Art of Spying: Young Agent Edition is definitely worth the money as an addition to your Potter collection, especially if you are introducing a younger reader to the wizarding world – you’ll never look at the series the same way again!

The Young Agent Edition is tentatively scheduled for a March 11, 2017, release date and MuggleNet readers can order a copy through the Spy Museum store now by clicking here! You can also order the original book here.

An advanced reading copy was provided by the publisher to MuggleNet for review.