The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

4 stars

Avery West has spent her whole life constantly on the move; there’s never been any point making friends or going on dates because it seems the moment she gets comfortable anywhere, her mother will receive new work orders and drag Avery with her across the country.

Putnam Juvenile, 2015

Putnam Juvenile, 2015

When the cute new guy, Jack, invites Avery to the prom she instinctively declines, but when her mother tells her they’ll be moving again in two days time, Avery decides she has nothing to lose and sneaks out to meet up with Jack. It’s this decision that changes the course of Avery’s life and transforms this Young Adult read from a clichéd school-based romance to an epic adventure full of suspense.

Whisked away from her prom with the promise of meeting her long-absent father’s family, Avery is swept up in the intrigue and mystery surrounding the secret, underground world of The Circle – the descendants of Alexander the Great’s Diadochi who have, for thousands of years, impacted every major world event from behind the scenes of history.

The Conspiracy of Us is a book touted as the Young Adult version of The Da Vinci Code – it certainly has that whirlwind, heart-racing feel that a great adventure suspense novel should have, and while the symbolic and historical elements may not be as thoroughly mapped out as one of Brown’s books, I personally think Hall has demonstrated a better style of writing and more well-developed characters, which is ultimately more important when writing for the Young Adult crowd.

I suppose my biggest disappointment was the absence of Stellan, who I found to be the most compelling character, for about a third of the book. It seemed odd that such a great character was introduced so early into the piece only to disappear on us for such a large chunk of the book. I am looking forward to seeing this character live up to his potential throughout the remainder of the series.

Of course, another minus point for me was something that has become the bane of so many Young Adult reads – the insta-lust between Avery and Jack. With the timeframe of the novel spanning only a few days, Ms. Hall doesn’t give herself much to work with, but then again, who knows – we’re still in the early days of the series, so this little fling could prove to be nothing more than a red herring.

If you like fast-paced, heart-stopping page-turners and are in the mood to be whisked away to Paris and Istanbul for an epic adventure, this is most certainly the book for you.

The second book, Map of Fates, will be out early 2016.

I own this book.

Review by Ash Bye

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