Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Conspiracy of Us ~ Maggie Hall audio review [@MaggieEHall @PenguinTeen]

The Conspiracy of Us (Untitled #1)
Putnam Juvenile
January 13, 2015
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

9 hours; 34 minutes
buy from Audible/or The Book Depository

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.

If books like Just One Day will make you want to visit Paris, The Conspiracy of Us will have you peering around corners, looking for hidden meanings once you're there.

In just a matter of hours, Avery West goes from dreading the upteenth move forced on her by her mother's job, to being swept up in a world she never knew of.

The family she didn't even know about now has her in Paris, learning at least a little about the Circle. The secret, unbelievably powerful society her family has been a part of for millennia.

Avery's introduction to the society, to their existence and relationship to her, didn't completely work for me. I could see that it was necessary to get the story going, to progress everything, yet her instant agreement felt a bit off. Or, maybe, her lack of apprehension once it became clear just what that departure entailed, felt off.

Once she - and readers - learned about the Circle, about her involvement and why she now knew of them, I mostly forgot about 'how' she got there, more involved in what she was discovering. Maggie Hall thought through the Circle -- their past, their present, what they can control, what they've been responsible for, etc -- really well. Even as it is unbelievable that one group could have that much sway, that much impact throughout history, it was also, somehow, believable. It was just enough to be extraordinary, not so much that it was absurd.

The Circle's power and reach only make the danger Avery finds herself in seem that much more real.

I liked seeing Avery adapt to this new reality, while still continuing to be enough of an outsider that readers could relate and she, Avery, could think differently than those a part of the Circle.

The mix of the mystery, danger, history, romance and adventure in The Conspiracy of Us make for a very engrossing read. I really cannot wait to see what happens in Book 2.

As an audio book, The Conspiracy of Us was fantastic. It is narrated by Julia Whelan and when I first started it, I thought that might be a problem. Whelan also narrated In the After and In the End, which I recently listened to. Sometimes a narrator will remind you too much of a previous character they've done for you to get into the new story.  I did, at first, think of Amy from those books, but only for a few minutes.

Whelan does a terrific job becoming Avery, of drawing listeners into the story. I very, very rarely - mostly when Avery was emphasizing something - heard anything that reminded me it was the same voice of Amy.

On top of being a very enjoyable book, it is also a fun one to listen to. The narrator does a great job with pronunciation, pacing and with all of the different characters' voices.

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