The Conspiracy of Us
by Maggie Hall
Putnam Juvenile, 2015
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A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter
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.
The fact that it took me over a month to read this aside, I really enjoyed The Conspiracy of Us. I am a fan of puzzle books – particularly ones that have the characters going from place to place to place – and the addition of 12 extremely powerful families with a mysterious “mandate” just increased my excitement. My first thought upon getting midway through was how much this book reminded me of the National Treasure films. There’s not a whole lot of deep introspection going on – this book is pretty fluffy aside from some violence – but I still found myself thoroughly enjoying the story. My one complaint is that the ending was rather abrupt – yes, I know it’s the first of a trilogy, that’s not the problem – it was just that suddenly it was all ACTION, ACTION, ACTION and then BAM. The end.
I did like Avery’s spunk quite a lot; she’s willing to do things she didn’t think she could in order to save someone important to her, which is always a nice quality. I like that, even though things keep getting thrown at her, she’s still trying to do what’s right and what she feels needs to be done. And I like the rather fragile-feeling relationship she’s developing with Jack; the scenes in her room in Paris with them under the sheets were so tender and gentle and yes – hot. And nothing even really happened. I fully admit that I am rooting for the two of them, and am curious to see if that feeling continues in the second book.
There is a “bad boy” type in this book in the form of Stellan. He has your typical “story” insofar as he’s had a tragic past and is hiding his heart and feelings under a tough exterior. I suppose some might view his relationship with Avery as one part of a love triangle, but it’s pretty clear – at least to me – that she favors Jack. I still think they could become really good friends, and they’re going to have to work together to get everything straightened out, so. We’ll see where it all goes!
All in all, I found The Conspiracy of Us to be a fun read. There’s action and adventure, danger and intrigue, and a mystery to be solved, which makes this a perfect rainy day read. I also like that you’re not really sure who the “bad” guys are in this story, as both sides seem to be willing to do some rather distasteful things. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next!
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