Review: The Conspiracy of Us – Maggie Hall

the-conspiracy-of-usTitle: The Conspiracy of Us  (The Conspiracy of Us #1)

Author: Maggie Hall (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Putnam Juvenile // January 13th, 2015

Genre: YA, Mystery

Source: Purchased

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Synopsis: 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.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

I am conflicted.

Like SUPER conflicted. Because there is a lot to not like in The Conspiracy of Us. 

Yet, I kind of loved it?

I read it in two sittings – a total of five hours of reading time. I flew through it and enjoyed every second of it. I bought the sequel before I even finished the first one  and REALLY can’t wait for the finale to come out next year? And I feel like I should care…..but I really don’t?

Yeah, I’m conflicted.

Let’s break it down:

What I liked:

  • The Plot – on paper. I’m a junkie for the adventure/treasure hunt/solve the historical mystery books. Dan Brown, James Rollins, and Steve Berry are my homies. I love a good conspiracy theory. The plot at the heart of the story – the 12 Families, Alexander the Great’s Tomb, a treasure hunt involving country hopping – was just what I wanted. It’s fun and complete escapism and made it easier to suspend disbelief and take everything else with a grain of salt. This is not the next great acclaimed YA novel – and I kind of love it because of that.  I qualified this because the plot is good on paper. Reading the plot of this novel,  it sounds amazing; In execution….there are problems. More on that later.
  • Avery’s Ingenuity. I’m not talking about her asinine decision-making skills (i.e. – her “why, yes, I am going to run off with one of the two unknown foreign guys who show up looking for me at my junior prom”. But in a moment of crisis, she thinks on her feet. She’s not the most physically capable heroine to ever appear in a book (and she shouldn’t be, given her background), but she isn’t completely useless. She might not have common sense, but she doesn’t fall apart in a moment of danger.

What I was “Meh” About:

  • The Characters. Like it says on the tin, I was very meh about the characters. I didn’t hate anyone I wasn’t supposed to, but I didn’t really care about what happened to them, especially the supporting characters. Most of them, even major characters – *cough* Stellan*cough* – came off as stock characters, people you’ve seen in similar situations many, many times before. Avery was the most fleshed out, and I did care about her and what happened to her. I did like Jack, he’s very much my type, but I’m not shouting from the highest mountain tops about him. Everyone else….very meh.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The Inciting Action. AKA “Why, yes, I am going to run off with one of the two random foreign guys who show up looking for me at my junior prom” thing I mentioned before. Literally, that is what happened. And that was also the moment that I decided that Avery had no common sense. I mean, I liked her, but there was no way she was coming back from that with me.
  • The Clichés. The clichés. There are many, I mean….
    • Looming love triangle with a smattering of forbidden love.
    • A Chosen One
    • A “special girl” with special eyes – Look! Look with your special eyes! – that no girl has ever had ever (but a ton of men have) and the reason why she and her eyes are so special is that she is supposed to marry the above-mentioned Chosen One. No special powers, no real power of her own – she’s going to marry the Chosen One. Yeahhhhhhhhh, I really didn’t like that one. I don’t even know if this is a cliché but….no. I really hope that changes later in the series.

tl;dr: Conspiracy of Us is a series opener with a creative premise  but definite flaws – unremarkable characters, clichéd plot points – but still enough of a spark that this reader really enjoyed it. I would recommend it for anyone who is looking for something not too serious, that can be read quickly, and can be taken with a grain of salt.


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