Book Reviews, Debut Author Challenge

Debut Author Challenge: THE CONSPIRACY OF US

Author: Maggie Hall
Series: The Conspiracy of Us, #1
Publication Information: Putnam Juvenile, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Recommended For: People who like conspiracy theories, settings that make you want to travel, mysterious and dangerous European boys.

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.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Why I Picked It: As we all know by now, I’m all about the girls in dresses covers. Combine that with the comparison to THE DA VINCI CODE (which I read in a single afternoon back in the day), and I knew I had to read this one.

The mystery in this book was the main thing that kept me turning pages, since it moved super fast and I loved how the history of Alexander the Great and the Diadochi were incorporated. That being said, preparation to suspend your disbelief going into this book is important, since the main character, Avery, makes some decisions I couldn’t quite understand. Number one being, running off to Europe with two boys she barely knows, one of which followed her around town and brandished a weapon at her. I understand that she wanted answers about her father, but jumping on a plane without bothering to try talking to her mother first? That was a little far-fetched, for me. But once I set that aside, I was able to get really into the story.

There is a love triangle in this book. I happen to love love triangles, as long as they’re done well, and this one was done well. I could understand Avery’s attraction to both of them, and while I found Stellan to be a slightly more compelling character because of his motivation for working for the Dauphins (and also because he broods and is morally ambiguous, really), I think either boy would be a solid choice. I really appreciated that, while they kept warning Avery she had no idea what she’d gotten herself into (which is fair, since she didn’t), they also didn’t underestimate her, and she also played an equal part in solving the mystery. Additionally, it’s not actually that clear which boy Avery is going to end up with, which should make the romance aspect of the next book really interesting. (I mean, it’s clear which direction Avery is leaning, but there’s also room for that to change. CONFLICT.)

Finally, the setting is fantastic right from the beginning. Avery starts out in a small town in Minnesota and ends up visiting Paris and Istanbul, and each setting felt unique thanks to Hall’s use of details that grounded us in each setting. At the same time, the use of detail didn’t feel overwhelming. I think Hall did a great job balancing the exposition with the action in the story.

TL;DR: Overall, THE CONSPIRACY OF US is a fun mystery with wanderlust-inducing settings and a fast pace that just takes some suspension of disbelief to get really invested in.


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