I have been reading through the Hardy Boys books in order to compare them to Nancy Drew. After I finished the Hardy Boys Digest series, I concluded that I enjoyed that series slightly more than the corresponding Nancy Drew series, although the difference is not enough to be decisive. I also concluded that the Hardy Boys are allowed more interesting cases in the Hardy Boys Digest series than Nancy Drew in the Nancy Drew Digest series.
The Nancy Drew Girl Detective series corresponds to the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series. I previously published my ratings for the Girl Detective series. I like the Girl Detective series a lot, probably more than most collectors. If you are a collector who really likes the Girl Detective series, please let me know because I feel like I am the only one. Maybe I am the only one...
I struggled with giving a rating to many of the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers books. Many of the books that I have labeled good are probably somewhere between good and not good. I went with the higher rating, so these ratings are generous. Therefore, it should be noted that many of the "good" books are more along the lines of weakly good and some may not be good.
1. Extreme Danger - very good, sabotage
2. Running On Fumes - not good, sabotage
3. Boardwalk Bust - excellent
4. Thrill Ride - very good, sabotage
5. Rocky Road - excellent
6. Burned - not good
7. Operation: Survival - very good
8. Top Ten Ways To Die - good, sabotage
9. Martial Law - not good
10. Blown Away - good, sabotage
11. Hurricane Joe - not good
12. Trouble in Paradise - not good
13. The Mummy's Curse - good, sabotage
14. Hazed - excellent
15. Death And Diamonds - good
16. Bayport Buccaneers - good, sabotage
17. Murder At The Mall - very good, sabotage
18. Pushed - excellent
19. Foul Play - excellent, sabotage
20. Feeding Frenzy - good, sabotage
21. Comic Con Artist - good
Murder House Trilogy - sabotage
22. Deprivation House - not good
23. House Arrest - not good
24. Murder House - not good
Double Danger Trilogy
25. Double Trouble - good
26. Double Down - good
27. Double Deception - good
Galaxy X Trilogy - sabotage
28. Galaxy X - good
29. X-Plosion - good
30. The X-Factor - good
Killer Mystery Trilogy - sabotage
31. Killer Mission - good
32. Private Killer - good
33. Killer Connections - very good
Lost Mystery Trilogy
34. Children of the Lost - excellent
35. Lost Brother - excellent
36. Forever Lost - excellent
Deathstalker Trilogy - sabotage
37. Movie Menace - not good
38. Movie Mission - not good
39. Movie Mayhem - not good
Out of 21 books (not including the trilogies):
Not good - 5 books or 23.8%
Good - 7 books or 33.3%
Very good - 4 books or 19.1%
Excellent - 5 books or 23.8%
Overall out of 21 books - 42.9% very good or excellent
Out of 39 books (including the trilogies):
not good - 11 books or 28.2%
good - 15 books or 38.5%
very good - 5 books or 12.8%
excellent - 8 books or 20.5%
Overall out of 39 books: 33.3% very good or excellent
I enjoyed the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series noticeably less than I did the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series. I rated 48.9% of the Girl Detective series as very good or excellent and only 33.3% of the Undercover Brothers series as very good or excellent. This is a significant difference. Even more significant, many of the books I labeled as good really aren't that good, so you could say that as much as 66.7% of the series is not that good.
I mentioned in my overview of the Hardy Boys Digest series that it is stronger than the Nancy Drew Digest series because Nancy Drew is constrained by her gender. The reverse is true for the Undercover Brothers series. In the Undercover Brothers series, the Hardy Boys are constrained by their gender. They are only allowed stories with lots and lots of action.
The Nancy Drew Girl Detective series is largely character-driven. The Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series is action-driven. In fact, most of the series reads like sports sabotage, which is my least favorite plot type. Even when the Undercover Brothers series is not sports sabotage, the stories are endless action of some type with sabotage thrown in for good measure.
Each book opens in the middle of an action scene as the Hardys wrap up a previous case. I read these scenes during the early books, but later, I skimmed or skipped all of them. They annoyed me tremendously. I don't want to read the conclusion of a story not featured in the series. I want to read the story that is the focus of the current book.
After the action scene introduction, the Hardys receive orders for their next case. This always occurs by someone bringing the boys a pizza or something else, them acting incredibly dumb like they don't know this is how they get their cases, and then the boys finally figuring it out and watching a DVD about the case. This was mildly annoying in the early books, but by later in the series, I found these scenes to be highly obnoxious.
The Undercover Brother stories feature an excessive use of gimmicks. The gimmicks are comic book characters, amusement park rides, or special devices that do crazy things. All of the gimmicks are described to an excessive degree. It's important that the reader know every minute detail about every single gimmick. And I found all of it to be boring!
Apparently many boys really enjoy this type of story; at least, they do if any of the reviews on Amazon can be believed. Amazon is rife with fake reviews of all products. Since the positive reviews appear to be from children who are probably boys, I suspect that they are real reviews. However, the series is not good from my point of view as an adult female reader.
I did generally enjoy the early stories in the series. By the time I reached the trilogies, I could no longer stand the series. The Lost Mystery trilogy is outstanding, but even during that trilogy I was weary from the rest of the series. So when I started reading the final trilogy, I just wanted to quit. I skipped those books and forced myself to read the two super mysteries.
As I tried to read the final trilogy and as I read the two super mysteries, I noticed how tense, stressed, and unhappy I was. Right after I finished the second super mystery, I started reading the first Super Mystery book. Since the book features Nancy Drew Girl Detective, whom I like very much, I relaxed and felt much happier. This drove home the fact that the last part of the Undercover Brothers series tortured me.
Most likely, I will never read these books again. I will probably sell the set sometime soon. I read these books so that I would have the full knowledge of the progression of the Hardy Boys series from 1927 to the present so that I could compare the Nancy Drew Diaries series to the Hardy Boys Adventure series. Reading the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series was worthwhile for that reason only. Otherwise, it was a horrible experience.