Author: Maggie Hall
Series: The Conspiracy of Us #1
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
First of all, that cover. I know, I know. Never judge a book by its cover. Blah blah blah blah blah. But that dress! What I would give to own that dress. I look enough like the girl on the cover that I can tell that I would look dynamite in that dress.
But, I digress. After reading only 40 pages, I made the following predictions about this novel:
1.) There will undoubtedly be a love triangle between the three characters we've already met. Because this is young adult, people, and young adult novels these days just have to have a love triangle. Why? Who the heck knows why. They just do!
2.) Sixteen-year-old Avery is going to annoy me. She is going to be one of those female narrators that I can't stand, because she doesn't have a lick of common sense, and will do anything because a handsome stranger bats his eyelashes at her.
3.) I'm still going to enjoy this novel, because we are already jet setting across the world in it.
Well, turns out, Avery is not as annoying as I thought she would be. Don't get me wrong, she's still incredibly naive. After all, she hops on a private plane with the mysterious new boy in school and a guy that holds a knife at her (at prom!) all because they say they might know who her father is. Well, then, yes, of course the logical thing is to just hop aboard. I learn very early in this novel that you cannot take it seriously, and that Avery clearly has some major daddy issues.
I also didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. As I just mentioned, it of course cannot be taken seriously. It's a book about a teenage girl who is somehow involved in this Circle of twelve families that combined basically run the world. It's been compared to Ally Carter's novels, and they are right in a sense, but the fundamental that this book is missing is the classic humor/wit/charm that makes Carter's novels so fun. This novel tries to be serious, and in so forces you to try to take the book seriously, which you just can't. The only character who really shows humor is Stellan, and his humor is so poorly timed that it usually falls short or makes me cringe. And then there is the whole Avery-Jake dynamic that just felt so forced as well that even it was hard to take seriously. But I was not wrong about the love triangle, so at least I get a point there.
I just don't think Hall has the strength as a writer to pull off this type of novel. Not yet. Sure, it was fun to zoom around the world with Avery, but her character is hardly believable in a lot of the tight situations she finds herself in, often life or death (and, PS, what kind of assassin deals only in knives? Get guns with silencers, you cheapos). And again, without the humor as an underlying layer of the story, this book just misses its mark.