Friday, August 16, 2013

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst ARC Review *some spoilers*


Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
eARC, 368 pages
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers
Published on: September 3, 2013
Rating: 3/5 Stars


Synopsis: Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

Thank you Netgalley.com and Walker Childrens for my electronic ARC of this novel.

This is book is Pinocchio meets Alice and Wonderland in a creepy, supernatural novel about a girl is haunted by her past. This book is magical, creepy, and surprising. I have to admit that I'm really getting sick of books where the plot moves forward from the main character trying to remember memories that were taken from her, but at least in this case the memories were unique and bizarre.

On a side note, Netgalley and Goodreads.com has this book listed as a children's book but I would say it is more of a pre-teen and older book. There are descriptions of death and dismemberment that I don't think is appropriate for children.

Strengths/Likes: 

1) The ending of this book really surprised me. I figured that she was tortured and being from another world, but I was not expecting this. I actually had a hard time wrapping my head around it. It was something that belonged to a plot line from the TV show Once Upon a Time. 

2) I loved Zach. He was really cute and his unrelenting chatter and imagination was extremely endearing. I found myself highlighting all of his sections. He was such a cutie-pie ^_^

3) Another one of my favorite characters was Aunt Nikki. I found her to be the most realistic character in the novel. She wasn't unwillingly devoted her time to Eve, and was right to be suspicious and a little afraid of her. She has a very dry sense of humor, and her sarcasm made me giggle almost every time.

4) I liked the magical elements in this book. Everything sounded so enchanting and beautiful. I'll include some of those moments in the Favorite section.

5) I found the writing style to be pretty ordinary but in one thing that it was extremely effective in was that I felt just as disorientated as the main character. This is pretty amazing considering the book is written in third-person.

6) I love how the Magician and the Storyteller's love story unfolded backwards. What I mean by that is, the their story starts at it's end and as the plot moves forward we see their relationship back track all the way to the beginning.

Weakness/Dislikes:

1) Besides Zach and Eve and the Magician and the Storyteller, the relationships in this book were lacking. The way it was written I felt like people were only grouped together for power-alliances or were co-workers. This book is not a small one, so I felt that the author could have benefited more by developing the other character's relationship--or lack thereof. I even wanted more out of Zach and Eve's relationship and they were the main couple.

2) There was too many flat characters. The three other characters with power, Aidan, Topher, and Victoria, I didn't know enough about to consider them main characters. In fact, the story in my opinion would have been completely unaffected if Topher and Victoria were cut from the book all-together.

Favorite Quotes and Moments (SPOILERS):


1) "'I'm Zach, library page, at your service.' After a second's hesitation, she shook his hand. It was warm and soft. 'I think it's a shame that it's customary to shake hands upon greeting when what I really want to do is kiss your lips and see if you taste like strawberries.'

She released his hand. 'I'm Eve. I've never eaten a strawberry.'

'Allergies? I'm allergic to cats. Not cats themselves, per se. Hairless cats are fine. It's the cat dandruff, caught in the fur. Need serious anti-cat-dandruff shampoo.' His hair had slid over his eyes as he talked; he shook it back and smiled at her. 'Glad you didn't freak when I said I want to kiss you. I'll wait for an invitation, of course, but I believe in being up front about these kind of things. Prevents misunderstandings later. I don't want you thinking that we can ever be just friends. Unless it's friends with benefits'" (28). 

2) "'Never met an Eve, either, come to think of it. I will resist the obvious apple jokes, promise.'

So he wasn't sent by Malcolm to watch her. 'Apples?'

'Little-known facts about apples: apples are members of the rose family, it takes energy from fifty leaves to produce one fruit, and humans have been eating apples since at least sixty-five hundred BC. Bet you're asking yourself how a handsome guy like me who can't seem to stop talking ended up working in a library where the talking thing is not so condoned.'

She continued to stare at him, blinking once.

'Or perhaps you're wondering about hairless cats. They're less cuddly than you'd think. Also prone to sunburn. And oddly prone to more earwax, due to less ear hair. But I'm boring you. Cardinal sin when talking with a beautiful girl. Not to be confused with the original sin…And I promised no obvious jokes. Sorry. Don't hate me.'

'I'll try not to,' she said gravely.


'Now you're just being polite'" (29).


3) "'Oh. Well, that's okay, then. But you'll excuse me if I'm still a little bit jealous. Is this Aidan good looking?'

Eve shrugged. 'Yes.'

'Well, this just gets better and better.' Zach pushed away the pillows and stood up. He tossed the pillows toward the chairs. 'Buff guy? Likely to beat me up? Not that I wouldn't fight for you. I totally would. You are completely fight worthy… 

'Sorry, but it's somewhat of a shock to kiss the girl of your dreams and then find out she already has a boyfriend. I kind of wish you'd told me that earlier, except that I probably wouldn't have kissed you, and there goes fodder for my dreams for the next decade.' He ran his fingers through his hair. 'Did you mean what you said? You'd rather kiss me?'

She nodded. 'You don't play games.'

'Great. What a rousing endorsement next to Pretty Boy'" (113). 

4) "Behind him, she saw books sail off the shelves and then stack themselves around them, interlaced like stones in a wall, closing off their row from the rest of the library… green tips of plants burst through the worn carpet. They grew, thickening and sprouting. Curling, they wrapped around the bookshelves and spread across the ceiling tile. Leaves unfurled, and soon the bookshelves and walls were draped in lush summer green. Red buds popped from the bends in the green. And then the buds opened all around them, a right of burgundy roses" (175). 


5) "I don't want to travel forever. Someday I want a home that's ours, that we stay in, that we fill with our things and our memories. It should have lots of skylights. Maybe be near an ocean. You know, oceans cover seventy percent of the Earth's surface, and if you extracted all the salt, you could bury the continents in five feet of salt. It would be nice to be near an ocean" (358). 

4 comments:

  1. I just finished up this book and I sad to say I just don't think it was for me. I didn't really connect to any of the characters, except for Zack. Like you, I really thought he was fun. I guess Aunt Nikki wasn't a poorly written character either, I just didn't like how mean she seemed in the beginning. I think I just was turned off to her and didn't really realize she did really redeem herself in the end. After reading your review I do have to say I think you NAILED why I didn't like the story with this quote, "I felt just as disorientated as the main character. " I did, and I think that was the entire bother for me! I just didn't really have a handle on what the heck was going on. Great Review!!!

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    1. I think the writing style was meant to seem detached from everything, that's why us readers felt detached. I didn't feel that Aunt Nikki was redeemed in the end, I just thought that she was one of the few characters with a distinct voice and had the most realistic reactions to Eve.

      Thanks for commenting =)

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  2. Love the quotes! I'll look for this one!

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    1. That's why I post them! I feel like more than my review, they will help make people decide if they like the style of the book.

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