Review Map of Fates (The Conspiracy of Us #2) by Maggie Hall

Synopsis: Two weeks. 

That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 

Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.

But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

Rating: 3/5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Previous books in the series:
My thoughts:

Sequel Syndrome strikes again. Alas, Map of Fates was, sadly, a disappointment. My excitement and almost-childish awe of the first book dissipated, because the glamour of The Conspiracy of Us somehow failed to etch into its continuation, bringing the dull instead. However, there were two things that somewhat saved me from rating this one poorly: the killer second half and, most importantly, Stellan. 

The first half of the book was bland. Flat. Meh. Sigh-inducing. Eye roll worthy. Frustration trigger. Boredom incarnate. All the jumping from one corner of the world to another while breaking (really easily, I might add) into museums and following clues for solving the greatest mystery of all is in theory a great adventure. IN THEORY. In reality though, there was no real blood-pumping action. No real toe-curling romance. No real engaging plot. Hoping for new developments along the way is far from my definition of a plan for saving the world of impending doom. Thus, I was in no way invested into the story and, on top of that, Avery infuriated the hell out of me. 

The second half however, was undoubtedly GOOD. I suddenly couldn't put the book down. The action spiced up, the mythology finally conjured something interesting and the characters were developing, even if at a snail's pace. Good stuff, good stuff. 

Do not get me started on the love triangle. Jack was so very protective and so very careful that he started to resemble a fretting hen. He ended up being soft and weak and not one time did I imagine him as a knight in shining armor. He was okay in the first book but now he totally aggravated me. 

Avery, besides being again one-dimensional and naive, was also awfully dramatic, especially in the romance department. I'm not saying she lamented constantly about having two hot guys at her disposal, but that she was perfectly comfortable in that grey zone of "it's complicated" -- rightfully so -- where she could jump from one boy to another whenever she felt like it. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- Stellan is the Russian version of Jace and I love him. He was honestly the only character I completely liked -- he was sincere, sarcastic and had layers of personalization. The fact that he was hot was pretty much the cherry on the top. I liked his dynamic with Avery and I can only hope they'll end up together because they'd be a hella power couple. 

The secondary characters -- Elodie, Luc, Colette, Lydia, Cole -- were a bit underdeveloped and I would've liked to see them bond more with our trio. Despite that, I did enjoy the teen drama of secrets and past relationships even if it undermined the vibes of "seriously dangerous situation". 

Plot wise, there were some boring outcomes and a few really awesome twists and turns I did not expect, especially what the blood union unraveled. The villains took down their masks and it was the OMG type of reveal. On the other hand, I also felt they were not constructed accordingly, like not complex masterminds of evil, but sad substitutes with a fetish for ruling the world and killing left and right.

In the final scenes, I felt the distinctive need to face palm Avery thanks to a 'nice' decision that eventually bit her ass. Granted, the ending felt a bit rushed and not thoroughly developed in order to create the emotional wreck the author (supposedly) hoped for. Still, it was entertaining and promised lots of action for the last installment and I am pretty pumped for what's to come. World War III between the most powerful people in the world, you say? Bring it.

Map of Fates could've been a glorious sequel, but, although interesting and satisfactory, no way near the grandeur I thought it will encompass. I know I emphasized a lot of bad aspects, but it is still a good book, though, and I'll definitely read the last one because things are about to get down for real.


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