This is a very dangerous book.
I can't keep a secret. Never could...
The Secret Series
is a series by Pseudonymous Bosch, a mysterious Lemony Narrator
, about two children who are not named Cass and Max-Ernest. Cass is a survivalist,
while Max-Ernest has a condition (though no one knows quite what his condition is). One day, they are swept into the dangerous world of the Terces
Society and the Midnight Sun...and the Secret.
There are five books in the series:
- The Name of This Book is Secret
- If You're Reading This, it's Too Late
- This Book is Not Good for You
- This Isn't What it Looks Like
- You Have to Stop This
In 2013, the series was followed by Write This Book: A Do-It-Yourself Mystery
. While not directly a part of the Secret Series
, it directly references several characters and situations from it.
Tropes used by the novel:
- Alpha Bitch: Amber comes up in the first books as well-intentioned although misguided, but later is revealed to be clearly this.
- Ambiguously Gay: Grampa Larry and Grampa Wayne are never outright stated to be a couple. Just two guys who live together since a long time ago, bicker amongst themselves even though they clearly care a lot for each other and have a substitute daughter and granddaughter and substitute grandson, in the fourth book together.
- Arch-Enemy: Dr. L to Pietro.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Lord Pharaoh. Although not a real Lord (nor a real Pharaoh). The rest of the nobility aren't particularly noble either.
- Artificial Human: The Homunculus in the second book.
- The Beautiful Elite: The Midnight Sun usually has unnatural beauty, which they sometimes exploit in their evil schemes.
- Big Eater
- Blondes are Evil: Ms. Mauvais.
- Brainwashed: Benjamin Blake, briefly.
- Butt Monkey: Max-Ernest.
- Cassandra Truth Played with, Cass is a survivalist that always predicts disasters, but they rarely come true
- Catch Phrase "How 'bout that?"
- Driven to Villainy: Dr. L.
- Doorstop Baby: Cassandra.
- Evil Chef: Seņor Hugo
- Evil Mentor: Ms. Mauvais for Dr. L. and Amber, by the end and Itamar to Ms. Mavuais
- Evil Twin: Dr. L is Pietro's twin. And the Skelton Sisters, both of whom are evil
- Footnote Fever
- Genre Savvy: Cass, survivalist and danger specialist, strives for it.
- Give Him a Normal Life: possibly the reason Cass was put on her grandfathers' doorstep.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Although his parents are well-intentioned, poor Max-Ernest has an unusual childhood to say the least. Both of his parents are absoultely certain that he or she is right, and the other is well-intentioned, but misguided. When Max-Ernest was born, they argued for several days about whether to name him "Max" or "Ernest". This argument lasted so long that the nurse threatened to put him up for adoption, name or no name. They then compromised, and then divorced. But they both still live in the same house, since the one thing they can agree on is that every child should be raised by both his parents. So they split the house in half and pretend the other half doesn't exist.
- Hurricane of Puns The Jester is the very incarnation of this trope
- Idiot Ball: You just had to eat that chocolate, didn't you?
- Knife Outline: Used for intimidation in the third book
- Lemony Narrator
- Long-Lost Relative: Dr. L for Pietro.
- MacGuffin: Every book centers around either finding some ancient artifact, or keeping it away from the Midnight Sun.
- Mad Scientist: Most of the Midnight Sun, and their founder.
- Meaningful Name: Cass, done purposely, and is lampshaded.
- Max-Ernest , or should we say M-E?
- Ms. Mauvais' name translates from French literally as "Ms. Bad" or "Ms. Evil"
- The Mole: Benjamin Blake, briefly.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. L.
- Motor Mouth: Max-Ernest. Also Cass (briefly) in the first book.
- My Beloved Smother: Both of Max-Ernest's parents, in competition with each other.
- Narrator All Along: This Isn't What It Looks Like suggests that Max-Ernest is actually Pseudonymous Bosch when he was young.
- Confirmed in the epilogue of You Have to Stop This.
- Nepharious Pharaoh: Lord Pharaoh is a prime example of this: evil, single-minded dedication to living forever and quite possibly taking over the world someday.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: This Book Is Not Good For You could've been done differently if Cass didn't open her big mouth regarding the Tuning Fork.
- Platonic Life Partners: Cass and Max-Ernest.
- Red Right Hand: All of the members of the Midnight Sun have gnarled, ancient hands that they hide under gloves.
- The Reveal: The Secret itself, surprisingly, at the end of the last book. While it may seem to be just a joke at first "Why did the ibis cross the road? To get to the other side.", it's established that "the other side" literally means just that - as in, the afterlife
- The Speechless: Max-Ernest, while Cass is in a coma.
- Super Senses: Cass has excellent hearing. And Pseudonymous Bosch claims to have perfect vision.
- Think of the Children!: The reason Max-Ernest's parents, despite their divorce, remain in the same house and the reason they eventually split up.
- This Is a Work of Fiction: In You Have to Stop This, the disclaimer reads "The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. Of course, you know what they say about good intentions..."
- Those Two Guys: Daniel-not-Danielle and Glob in the fourth book.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji.
- Unusual Chapter Numbers: If You're Reading This, it's Too Late has the chapters in reverse order (starting with Chapter 34 and ending with Chapter 1) because the author hopes the book (and the secrets contained within) will explode like the countdown timer on a bomb. In This Isn't What It Looks Like there are normal chapters, but also negative chapters for Cass and what she's doing in the past.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Owen in book 4.
- Why Did It Have To Be Mayonnaise?
- Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Samurai Yo-Yoji doesn't even need a real wooden katana, he kicks ass with a stick.
- Write Back to the Future: the trunk in book 4.
- Villainous BSOD: Dr. L when he realizes Pietro is still alive.