REVIEWS & CRITIQUES

The MAGDALENA Series
Book 1  - FINDING MAGDALENA

H Booktasters Reviewer: 5 Star Review of Finding Magdalena

A fantastic thriller!

A very good book for a first-time author. The plot was intriguing especially for the emphasis of a strong female lead. The best parts for me were Maggie and Graham. At first, Shannon Condon got me appealed with the parents’ characters, but without a doubt, it is like being spellbound with enthrallment along with every character. Not to leave any spoilers, I was down with every detail that was spread all across the chapters. I felt most real with everyone each for a particular reason. For the most part, Magdalena had her magnificent spell of charm for her sincere personal relativism with everyone; it also made me feel a wave of ‘hiraeth’ homesickness of my own because of her humbleness and kindness. It is just like a magnet which automatically fuses you to feel with and love her. Not to mention, Graham also had his very special presence. It was his unique kinship that made me idolise his character. The way he stood by Maggie from the very beginning thru every problem she's gone through gave me a boost big enough for me to cheer them on.

I’ll just say that author Condon did a marvelous creation in making this book series. I am very glad and thankful I got to connect with the author for an honest book review, truly moving! It does full-heartedly deserve 5 stars!

Suzanne Tibbo, Goodreads Reviewer 5 star review of Finding Magdalena

I received an ARC copy of this book from the author for an honest review....

A very good book for a first-time author. The plot was very good with a strong female lead in Magdalena "Maggie". She had loving parents that she was very close to, but unfortunately was struck with tragedy when they are killed in an accident at the start of the story. This tells of how Maggie, with the help of her best friend Graham, gets through her school life and learns to cope. Though Maggie is an excellent student, she doesn't have many friends, until a year later she gets a new roomie Sarah who she becomes close to and is ""taken in" as an honorary member of the family. Unfortunately Sarah's brother Eric has other ideas.

There are a few points in the story where you become very afraid for Maggie, and rightly so, but she develops into an even stronger character than you would expect. A lovely story of strength in a young woman who wins both in love and her life in the end. Would recommend!

Well done Shannon.

Book 2  - THE BROTHERHOOD

Marsha, Goodreads Reviewer 5 star review of The Brotherhood

Does this ever happen to you? Whenever I read a good book, I see it play out in my mind like a movie. That is what happened to me while reading this book. “The Brotherhood” sees the return of Magdalena in the second of three books in the Magdalena Series. Maggie and Mateo move to Milan so that she can attend the Milan Conservatory while he works at Antonelli Architecture. As 19 year old Maggie tries to settle into life as a married woman, she discovers a secret organization called the Brotherhood. I first have to say that the cover photo was what caught my eye while I was looking for a good book to read. Since I never read the back blurbs, I just dived right in. The writer does a very good job of introducing you to the characters and setting the scene of the story. I was able to feel what the characters felt throughout the entire book which had me smiling at times and crying at others. I also love books with a twist and this book did not disappoint. I am rating this book 5 stars because the author was able to deliver a really good story line and I felt completely immersed in Magdalena’s life. A must read!!

Sefina Hawke for Reader's Favorite 5 star review of The Brotherhood

The Brotherhood by Shannon Condon is the second book in the Magdalena series that takes place where Finding Magdalena left off. Maggie is a nineteen-year-old who has just married her fiancé, known as Mateo, when the couple finds themselves in Milan for his job and her scholarship at the Milan Conservatory. However, things are not as happy as they seem on the surface as Mateo has suffered a complete personality change since their marriage, which is putting their relationship in jeopardy. Maggie ends up enmeshed in a secret organization known as the Brotherhood, but thankfully she has Shep’s black ops team to help her bring them down. Will Maggie be able to save her relationship and take down the Brotherhood?

The Brotherhood by Shannon Condon is a well written, fast paced, drama and action/adventure novel, which I absolutely loved! I did not read the first book in the Magdalena series, but that did not detract from my enjoyment or understanding of the plot or characters. The only aspect that I did not enjoy was the domestic abuse, but I felt like Shannon Condon did a good job of not making it too graphic, but I would not recommend the book to anyone triggered by domestic abuse or sexual abuse. That aside, I found the plot line to be riveting and I quickly found myself really loving and sympathizing with Maggie as I felt like I could understand her motivations and feelings. Overall, I am left with a feeling of excitement and hope for a third book in the Magdalena series.


Book 3  - SPIDER'S WEB

Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite - 5 star review

Being left at home to handle mission logistics from the computer center in the base of operations, Maggie begins to feel restless and left out in Spider’s Web by Shannon Condon. After surviving rape, attempted murder and other horrifying events in previous volumes, Maggie wavers between staying in the special ops business and being a wife, mother and college student. Trying to put things in perspective and analyze her options leads to a stunning betrayal where Maggie finds herself deep in the middle of an operation she will have to resolve pretty much on her own. The past has come back to haunt Maggie, but the present isn’t exactly what it seems as she tries to rendezvous with the team to escape Russian killers.

Things don’t go as planned, not just for Maggie but for others on the team as well. Not knowing who can be trusted makes life hard, but Maggie digs deep and finds the strength to keep on moving with the help and support of her adoptive parents. Choices are there, but making a decision is complicated by so many factors Maggie needs some kind of sign. When one appears, does it mean the future will be clear or does it only mean more trouble?


Events in the tragic past and dangerous present spectacularly collide in Condon’s fast-paced second Magdalena thriller. After a brush with death three years before, special ops agent Magdalena “Maggie” Curran is now helping covert missions succeed from the safety of her basement operations center in a quiet Virginia town. Restless from being sidelined with “safe” duties, Maggie longs to get back in the field despite the danger and the family she loves. She struggles to reconcile this urge with her desires to continue her musical training and her difficulty conceiving a second child with her husband, fellow agent Bernardo. When the son of an old enemy with ties to the Russians reappears and past truths are revealed, Maggie must uncover subterfuge, betrayal, heartbreaking losses,and danger to reclaim her life.

Finding Magdalena introduced Maggie as a teenager in a harrowing tale of love and loss. Now readers get to appreciate Maggie as an adult: agent, singer, mother, and wife. The dialogue can sometimes be stilted or trite (“I need to remember that a lot of women don’t even get one baby”), but the emotions underneath it are real. Domestic issues including fertility problems, jealousy, and mental illness intertwine and juxtapose with dangerous enemies including the mysterious group known as the Brotherhood, and loved ones become collateral damage when covert operations go terribly wrong, showing the tragic humanity in the espionage world.

Condon’s wonderful heroine is a survivor above all else. The story boasts a rare mix of daring spycraft and the domestic life of an extended family, though this sometimes leads to uneven pacing and an overextended plot. There’s much to enjoy as Maggie outwits kidnappers and Russian operatives while facing her own fears and demons. Both new and returning readers will appreciate the promise of this unique series and be eager to follow Maggie wherever her dangerous, fulfilling life takes her next.


Dynamic, exciting and action packed, Spider’s Web, Book 3 in the Magdalena Series keeps you breathless as you follow Maggie and her family through an intense adventure. Crisp dialogue and deep emotion add depth to the incredible action, which keeps you turning pages to find out what happens next. Some big surprises await and the ending leaves you perfectly in position, wanting to run to the bookstore for the next volume. Spider’s Web works great as a stand-alone story, with enough hints about the past to help everything make sense. Shannon Condon is a talented writer who knows not only how to hold your interest but how to also turn up the heat.


Reviewed by BookLife


The third book in Shannon Condon’s popular Magdalena series, Spider’s Web follows the titular character Maggie and her team of special ops, as they take on new missions from the safety of the Grid. Three years have passed since Maggie’s near fatal injury, but the memories and the scars still haunt her. Unfulfilled and depressed at home, Maggie is determined to reenter the field, whatever the cost. But she’s unsure of who to trust, and equally as unsure of the real world she’s kept herself away from. Before she even has time to plan her next move, Maggie finds herself kidnapped by an unknown foe while on holiday. With old enemies lurking at every turn, will she ever be able to escape the deadly web of her own making?

With plenty of twists, turns, and double crosses that will keep any reader guessing, Spider’s Web is a fast paced novel, part spy thriller, part crime fiction, and part character-driven drama. There’s enough action and adventure to keep mystery enthusiasts happy, and enough turmoil to keep contemporary fiction readers turning the pages. As much about Maggie as it is her kidnapping and the odyssey that follows, the Magdalena series’ third chapter proves Condon’s ability to entertain and enthrall, drawing us into the characters and the world she’s created.

Peripherally, Spider’s Web is a spy thriller, but Maggie is the core of the story. We learn more about her past, her family, and how all the pieces come together for her. Described as female James Bond, Maggie is an intriguing and complex character, whose hardened interior hides a soft, vulnerable core. Whether her anxieties and her panic attacks humanize her or isolate her, depends very much on the reader. For those that like their characters well rounded, if not flawed, Maggie will be a welcome relief from stock action heroes. But those uninterested in bouts of melancholic wallowing, may find that the heavy dialogue bogs down the storytelling at times. Less of a flaw than a marmite situation, Maggie makes or breaks the work, depending on which side of the fence you sit on.

Spider’s Web contains an involving story and some fine writing that is a satisfying read.

Book 4  - SUBTERFUGE

Literary Titan - 4 star review

Literary Titan - 5 star review


The Magdalena is slowly becoming one of my favourite book series as I have been lucky enough to receive all the books in the series for free in exchange for an honest review as part of Rowanvale Books review group. I am yet to be disappointed! Given how much I have enjoyed the previous books, Spider’s Web, The Brotherhood, and Finding Magdalena I had very high expectations. Once again I was impressed. As the book series has developed and Condon has been able to explore the espionage themes and action sequences her writing has flourished!

In Subterfuge, Maggie and her black-ops team must go undercover at a Spanish Casino in order to assassinate a Russian Crime Boss - Valdev Belevich. But as you can expect some ghosts from the past resurface making the mission more complicated for Maggie and questions arise on whether the team are actually working for the good guys anymore.

I have read quite a few books in my own time between Spider’s Web and Subterfuge so I was a little worried I might have forgotten some of the developing backstories mainly referring to Maggie as well as her team. But thankfully with Condon’s use of flashbacks allowed me to read the book effortlessly. In my opinion, I think you could possibly read this book as a standalone (though you would miss out some three fantastic books!).

In this book I enjoyed the shift in narrative focus slightly, Maggie was on as many missions as she has been previously. I like this as it showed a realistic reflection on Maggie’s priorities a focus on her family! It was perfect in developing Maggie as a mother allowing the reader to see Maggie maturing further than the other books.

I can’t wait to see if there is another book in this series! I’ll keep my eyes peeled!

Kirsty Richards Goodreads reviewer rated it Five Stars it was amazing


★★★★★

"Subterfuge, by Shannon Condon, the fourth book in her action thriller series, is a story about deceit and betrayal. It is the story about Magdalena, a member of a black ops unit, who together with her team, is on an assignment to assassinate a Russian crime lord. However, soon they realize they are working for the enemy, and it is not a government contract as they were led to believe.
The narration is straightforward yet sufficiently descriptive to create vivid imagery. The author takes you on a visual journey with the characters and whatever they are doing. Also, I felt that there was a good balance between narration and dialogue between the characters. So, you get to see what they are saying and the emotions they are expressing while saying it.
The story is engaging and fast paced, with each chapter ending in some kind of suspense that will nudge you to read the next. A good author knows when, and how, to end a chapter.
What I liked most about the book is just when you think everything is going well, the author surprises you with an unexpected twist to the plot. At first, everything goes according to plan, almost too perfect. But this is a story about deception, so nothing is really as it seems.
Another thing I liked about this book is that you need not have read the other three that precede it in the series to understand it. The author provides flashbacks to help you understand the series arc in summary and gives a bit of background to each character. The interpersonal relationships between the characters also make the book much more enjoyable.
Subterfuge is a fast-paced story with twists that are rarely, if ever, expected. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series."

Available at your favorite online bookstores.

© 2021  Copyright | SHANNONCONDONAUTHOR.COM | All Rights Reserved.