Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in... Tiger Trouble Review

Hello my fellow readers and venture with me to a land of ninjas and secret agents… It is time to review Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in...Tiger Trouble by Grant Goodman.


Thirteen year-old Agent Darcy is one of the top students at the Bureau of Sneakery, where there are three rules every agent must follow: never make friends with an outsider, never speak of the Bureau, and never reveal your real name. Lately, Darcy has hit a rough patch: her rival, Agent Serena, keeps outdoing her. If things keep going this way, Darcy is convinced that no one will ever assign her a real mission.

Ninja Steve’s city, Ninjastoria, is the home of sword fights, throwing stars, and Tae Kwon Donuts. Unlike his genius older sister, twelve year-old Steve isn’t the best ninja student. He’d rather be swinging a sword instead of taking notes in class. Steve, however, is about to learn that being a true ninja means far more than being able to use a sword.
When Darcy is sent to Ninjastoria as an exchange student, it will turn both of their lives upside-down and raise all kinds of questions:

What do the mecha-moles want? Who is the man in the gray mask? What do ninjas eat for lunch? And why is there a menacing tiger on the cover of this book?

Time to read and find out! – summary

“’Why would anyone build a giant labyrinth made of mirrors? And why would they chose to keep it for centuries? The whole thing just gets in the way of getting places. Our campus isn’t weird like this.’

‘Our campus has entire sections that are replicas of towns. We fill them with hologram people and sneak after them. Are you telling me that’s not weird?’”

If you can’t tell by the summary this is an incredibly fun, self-aware book. Are Ninjas and secret agents silly and full of clichés? Of course. But does Grant Goodman know that and poke fun at those clichés? Heck yes! There are so many ways Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve could’ve gone wrong, but I’m glad to say that this is an enjoyable book from start to finish and a great one-time read.

As I said, Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve is an extremely fun book that knows it is working with material that has been hundreds of time in pop culture. This is great because Goodman uses these clichés to his advantage by playing off of them and turning them into jokes. These jokes add to the tone and help the story to work as a lighthearted adventure. From the first page, the reader know what type of story this is going to be because both Steve and Darcy’s point of views are filled with jokes and lighthearted banter between characters. Then, as the plot picks up, it becomes more of an adventure novel filled with action, fun, and more jokes. The lighthearted tone continues into the more action packed areas of the novel, however some tense and surprising moments still sneak in. The ending does a great job of setting up for a sequel while still wrapping up the events of this book. I was expecting Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve to be a standalone so I was a little surprised when it set up for a sequel but it was done well.

The world in Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve was surprisingly explored throughout the novel. I wasn’t expecting much world building from a 200 page novel, and while there wasn’t high fantasy levels of world building, the reader definitely learned a lot about the culture of both ninjas and secret agents and how their life works. This allows the reader to be able to accept more ridiculous and silly scenarios now that they know the rules these societies operate under.

Overall, Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in...Tiger Trouble was a great break from all the super serious books that I’ve been reading lately. Its self-awareness allowed it to play with tropes of both ninjas and secret agents to turn those tropes and clichés into jokes. The humor is on point, the adventure is fun, and the world is silly but explained. Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve is a good book for kids especially in grades fourth through sixth, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

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