Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

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Conjured
   by: Sarah Beth Durst

Publication Date: Sept. 3, 2013
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC received from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 368 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 2/5 stars


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.
 

I was first drawn to this book due to the simple, yet striking cover. I thought the heart with pin needles stuck through it was quite intriguing and the title Conjured got me very excited to read about magic! However, the blurb makes it sound a lot more exciting and gripping than it actually was. 150 pages in and I was still left waiting for something spectacular to occur. I found I couldn't connect with any of the characters and I found them to be quite dull and lackluster. The plot, while original and beautifully descriptive, just did not captivate me enough. It took a lot of pushing on my part to keep reading. The story did pick up, but it was very late in the novel before I was actually interested enough to care what would happen to the characters and how this twisted tale would play out. Because it was seriously twisted.

Eve, our main character, is suffering from memory loss. She has no recollection of who she is, where she came from. She just knows she is under the direction of a guy named Malcolm and a woman she calls Aunt Nicki, and she has been placed in the witness protection program. Her safety is their number one priority, but they are also trying to acclimate her by encouraging her to have some sort of semblance of a life. Eve was a difficult character to relate to, because she couldn't even relate to herself. She is literally a blank slate- She has no memories, only visions of scenes she doesn't understand. She ends up taking a job at a library, another safe haven, which will hopefully help her adjust to her new identity. It is here she meets Zach, the quirky but sweet boy who ends up being a source of strength for Eve.

"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 out 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 kinds of things. Prevents misunderstandings later. I don't want you thinking that we can ever just be friends. Unless it's friends with benefits." (e-ARC 28)

I supposed I liked Zach's character. He was quirky and strange with his babbling, which Eve ended up liking. However, after kissing Eve for the first time and realize that they're flying due to her magic, he doesn't freak out or act like she's some kind of freak herself. The way Zach handles her having magic just wasn't very believable. After he learns how Eve's magic works, it almost seems like he wants to kiss her to make magic, not because he truly has feelings for her. However, as the book wears on and we see the choices Zach makes, I felt that if he didn't have feelings for her, he would not have made those decisions or put himself on the line for her safety.

However, getting a new job isn't the only thing in the cards for Eve. Malcolm brings her to the office so she can interact with some other kids her age, who have magic. Aidan, Topher, and Victoria seem nice enough- until they begin testing her to see what she can do with her magic. It is after their encounter we discover that Eve's visions and memory loss are tied to her using her magic. This is where I really began to feel for Eve. She is starting to make new memories and associations and then she has time ripped away from her, where she doesn't remember her own actions or what she was doing. I did not care for Aidan, Topher, or Victoria. They were not developed enough and what we did see of them wasn't anything to write home about. They were vindictive and only had their own agenda to consider. Victoria and Topher do not play as a great a role as Aidan does, however. After a blackout, Aidan shows Eve affection and I groaned at the thought of there being a love triangle. Aidan is the gorgeous, bad boy who oozes confidence and sexuality, where Zach is the nerdy kid who works in the library. Luckily, Eve's relationship with both boys did not take the love triangle route. Aidan's affection for Eve is only there to serve a higher purpose.

Malcolm is my favorite of the two agents. He really cares about Eve and wants what is best for her. He does not want his superiors pushing her to remember and access her past memories. He wants her to be able to remember them on her own in hopes it won't be too overwhelming for her. However, the agency is on a timetable. Eve's memories are the key to stopping a serial killer from killing more innocent kids. The more Eve uses her magic and blacks out, the more likely she is to remember her visions. Aunt Nicki was a complete bitch. She was rude to Eve and clearly did not want to be the one to baby-sit her and take care of her.

As I said earlier, it wasn't until the last part of the book where things actually picked up and I was interested. Seeing Eve put together the pieces of her visions/memories, finding out who the serial killer was, and discovering the true nature of Eve as a whole (Which, I'll be honest- I never saw coming.) managed to perk me up enough to push through to the end. I kept hoping Eve would end up developing her own personality, but that wasn't something I really saw occur. After discovering her true nature, she just gave up. It is Zach, who is the one to encourage her to fight and remind her of all the things he liked about her.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the book for me. Lackluster characters, lack of character development, and a slow moving plot were all negatives for me, though I did think Durst has a beautiful writing style and her descriptions were very well done, especially of Eve's scrambled visions. While I would not personally recommend this one, it is certainly one you would have to gauge for yourself.

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18 comments

  1. Ugh I hate not connecting to characters, it completely ruins a book. So sorry you didnt enjoy this one. I'll probably pass on it as well. Thanks for the honest review!

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    1. Thanks Teresa! I was seriously bummed that I had so much trouble getting through this one.

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  2. Oh no :( I loved the blurb on this book, but I need a plot that moves forward on a nice pace, and I can't get myself to read and enjoy characters if there is no development.

    Great review!


    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. Thanks Lexxie! I was quite disappointed in this one because I wanted to love it. It sounded so intriguing but just fell flat, sadly.

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  3. A lot of the same feelings I had. I'd be rolling my eyes and sighing, and then it would pick up again. I think the last quarter was the best part. Sad, because it had such potential!

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    1. I agree Sarah! The last quarter was by far the best. And yes, so much potential!

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  4. Oh poop, I liked the sounds of this one too. But yeah. it sucks when it takes so long to pick up. :(

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    1. I did too, Sara! I thought it sounded so cool, but yet it just didn't hold up.

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  5. I've seen very mixed reviews on this book so far. I think I'll start with one of Durst's other books -- probably Vessel, since my daughter really liked it and we tend to have similar tastes.

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    1. Let me know what you think of that one once you get to it Lark!

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  6. Great review! I agree, the cover is definitely enticing and I like the sound of the synopsis. It's too bad it doesn't live up to its potential.

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    1. I should know better now that to judge a book by its cover. Sigh...

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  7. It's a sad thing to hear this about this book. I have seen some other not so great reviews. I mean the cover looks so lovely that it'd make me pick up the book immediately. Sorry it disappointed you. Great review :)

    Tanja @ Ja čitam, a ti?

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    1. Thanks Tanja. :D Unfortunately this one just didn't do it for me. Oh well! Can't win them all I suppose!

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  8. Great honest review!

    I can't get into a book when I cannot connect with the character or see no development in them. And I need a good paced book!! Oh yes! But it's good that the author's writing style was beautiful! The cover is very striking! Sad you didn't enjoy this one.

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    1. Thanks Magen! I agree- for me if the book doesn't grab me at the get-go, it's going to be a tough one to get through.

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  9. I'm sad this one fell flat for you hon. It sounded really good!

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    1. I was quite bummed myself. :( Oh, well, guess you can't win them all, yeah?

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