Saturday, 21 February 2015

Review: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Be warned for mild spoilers

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.
To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.

I wanted to like this book, it had such a great cover and blurb and really sounded like it could be something quite exciting. It was being compared to ‘The DaVinci Code’ (which, shush, don’t tell anyone but I kinda enjoyed…) and had a wonderful array of masked balls, international travel and conspiracies. Plus a gorgeous cover. I couldn’t wait to read it.

I’m wondering now I’m on the other side whether it was just the wrong time for me to read it, because sometimes I come back and re-read a book I disliked and really enjoy it the second time around. However, this time it really wasn’t my cup of tea.

There were so many illogical choices and moments, starting with Avery deciding to run off with absolute strangers out of the blue because they said they knew her family (always trust random strangers kids!) and continuing right through wearing her contact lenses for three/four days straight, to hey you have to get married even though you’re not willing and it’s not legal without permission from your parent or guardian!

I know that it was supposed to be a young adult book and therefore we need characters who fit into that age bracket, but the idea that these big powerful secret society families would employ sixteen year olds to organise security/kill people/tote guns around seemed completely ridiculous. If the characters had been aged up to 18 – 20 then a lot of the issues would have been dealt with. As it was it was just irritating.

The other big issue for me was that it really wasn’t compelling. Given the high stakes, the racing around trying not to be murdered, you would think that I would have been racing through the pages to find out what happened, but instead I had to really push myself to keep reading. I was bored. It was a quick read, and once I sat down and got on with it I was through it very quickly, but there wasn’t any hook to keep me interested.

I also wasn’t convinced by the hints of the love triangle, or the romance involved. It just felt a bit flat and forced, but I think that was a spill over of my feelings about the rest of the book. However that could have also been a reflection on the characters as none of them seemed to have anything to them apart from Stellan. The dialogue was awkward and insisted on incorporating pet names in French as though to remind the reader where they were from, and no one was really developed beyond the basic character stereotypes.

It may be one I come back to again at a later point – it’s the start of a series so maybe there will be some development in a later book, but for now I really wasn’t fussed and it left me feeling decidedly non-plussed when I reached the final ‘twist’. 

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