Review The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Review The Conspiracy of Us (The Conspiracy of Us #1) by Maggie Hall

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: 4/5 stars
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Paranormal
My thoughts:
After the roller coaster Never Fade has been, I wanted to read something light and I thought The Conspiracy of Us fit the bill perfectly. Especially after I've been drooling for it since I've read the synopsis and then that gorgeous cover got released.
Well, let me warn you. The first few chapters or so were the definition of shitty writing, shitty characters and shitty intrigue.
I was bored out of my mind and I kept rolling my eyes at the clichés portrayed. Avery, the main character, was a mix of naïveté, stupidity and childish impulses and, of course, she was a Chosen One and, of course, she was kept in the dark about her legacy and, again of course, she had to rebel against her mother and run in the whole wide world to finally find her beloved unknown family with some god awful dangerous strangers -- oh, but they look hot so what's the point in arguing about possible reasons to be downright afraid of them? Nahhh, we shall embark on this journey with open minds and hearts and pretend this is normal. Kill me now, please.
“Ah. Daddy issues, then,” he said with a sage nod. “Though I suppose that should have been obvious when you immediately agreed to run off with strange and somewhat threatening men you didn’t know.”
BUT BUT BUT. Fortunately, eventually and gradually, it gets better. Much better. I think the author tried to give a foundation to get the actual story and action going, but she failed in the plausibility department. But once you stomach past that pathetic milestone, you can't put the book down.
There were three big elements that helped improve the story: a good dose of character development, the fast pace and the original and captivating concept.
I'll start with the concept, because that's what really saved the story for me; that's where the true awesomeness was. It's not every day you find a book centered on the Alexander the Great's twelve Diadochi general families. And sure as hell you don't read about them being also the ones that run the entire world -- you know, that old tale about some really powerful people that pull the strings from the shadows. Yep, that's them and they call themselves the Circle -- sketchy, huh? Throw in some ancient prophecy about unimaginable power, invincibility and the means to shatter any enemies that has every Circle member in an uproar and then add an opposition group named Order that doesn't shy away from killing, kidnapping and spying in order to not let said-prophecy fulfill and Ta-daaa! You got yourself a pretty great plot. Not to mention a lot of ramifications are discovered on the way and that made things all the more exciting, yaaay.
“What is it you’re looking for?” I said.
He paused dramatically, then leaned close to my ear. “Treasure.”
Also, the fact that the Circle is rich as hell was gorgeously manipulated by the author, who used it to the novel's advantage and introduced some pretty lovely settings -- Paris and Istanbul.
The pace was exactly what I was looking for in a light and relaxing book -- fast, gripping and thrilling. I'm not ashamed to admit I devoured this book in one sitting and finished it in a matter of hours and then I wanted more, because although I saw the big twist coming from miles away (the synopsis pretty much gave it on a silver platter, so I suggest you go in blind) I still liked the exhilarating display.
The tricky part is the characters. Avery grew A LOT by smashing head-on with reality. It was funny really, to see her comprehend what a dumbass she'd been and how the shit hit the fan. Oh well, I do love some drama. She stopped bugging me after a while, but I didn't start giving a damn about her afterwards either. I was content with Avery being the heroine and pointing the story forward, but I was in no way attached to her.
“In the space of one day, I’d turned into what I thought I’d never be: a naive, hopeful idiot.”
Now what could I have possibly missed? Oh, yes: the mandatory love-triangle. In this instance though, it's kind of a pseudo love triangle (again, don't read the synopsis because it predicts the whole outcome) one that doesn't even give a fair share for the boys "competing" for Avery's heart. In one corner we have Jack Bishop, intriguing and mysterious Brit Boy, and in the other arrogant and intense Stellan I-Don't-Remember-His-Last-Name (or even if he had any). Jack proved his determination and adorable overall cuteness, sprinkled with a dash of vulnerability and edge at the same time, but I honestly couldn't care less, because Stellan? Hot damn.
He strikes me as a Russian Jace Wayland and everybody knows my love for Jace knows no bounds, so the choice to be on Team Stellan was not so much of a choice -- but I don't want to see him with idiotic Avery at all. He's a tormented, sarcastic and sexy bad boy and it pained me not spending some more time with his kick-ass persona.
I want the next book pretty badly to see how the dynamic between this trio plays out, since they're going to be forced to work together. On the other hand, I felt like the secondary characters were very underdeveloped, but I'm satisfied just with the awesome story. In addition to that, Maggie Hall's writing improved in the process so that's always another plus.
“It turns out falling for someone doesn’t feel like falling at all.”
The Conspiracy of Us delivered a fascinating blend of action, secrets and mystical allure and I'd especially recommend it to fans of Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawking. I don't know if the comparison to DaVinci's Code or Ally Carter's series is true based, having not yet read these books (no tomatoes, please), but I still think you should read it. It's a perfect book for a spring afternoon -- easy to read and suspenseful enough to entertain you regardless of the characters' personalities.

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