By Maggie Hall
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: January 13th, 2015
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.
With its description as a YA Da Vinci Code, I went into this book expecting something fun and light with international adventure and some slightly out-there conspiracy, which is exactly what I got. However, the book starts with the main character, Avery, getting into the whole situation through what can only be described as bumbling naivete. This made the book hard to read in the beginning, and sadly, was something that distracted me for the rest of the book.
Fortunately, Avery’s annoying habit of ignoring suspicious happenings is quickly rectified after her first near-death experience. We as the reader are now able to move on to more interesting things, like what is the importance of Avery’s eye color, where is Jack’s missing mentor, and why do I get the feeling that after that ending line from Stellan things are about to get a lot more complicated in the romance department? The first two questions were answered, the third left me anxious for what may happen in the second book. Speaking of Jack’s mentor, who has his own interesting ties to Avery, I was hoping that we would get to spend some time with him in this book, but, since we didn’t, I am really hoping that we will miraculously see him in the next book, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
As for the romantic relationship front, I enjoyed that it didn’t overshadow the main plot or keep things from happening. I liked Jack’s character and enjoyed his interactions with Avery, even if the sum total of days they were together could be counted on one hand. Still, its a better choice than Stellan, who just rubbed me the wrong way. His supposedly sexy air came off as rehearsed and slightly slimy, with bits and pieces of sincerity that were outweighed by the otherwise rehearsed-feeling interactions, which only further endeared me to Jack’s much more respectful and gentlemanly character. We also uncover that Jack and Avery have a sort of shared history that helped add legitimacy to the fact that they developed such an emotional connection after such a short time.
The plot was pleasantly fast paced and I enjoyed the treasure-hunt-racing-against-time feel to it. There were some points, however, when Jack, Stellan, or Avery, in her internal monologue, gave long winded explanations of the the history of the secret society the Circle or of the historical places they visited and it drew me out of the story because, while the explanations were necessary for the reader to understand the direction of the plot, they did not always feel organic. I am also excited that, since the book ended on a slight cliffhanger with the characters’ places in the society sort of in question, that the next book will be much more of treasure-hunting goodness.
My main questions about this book are when the hell did Avery even shower during her country hopping adventure and wasn’t it uncomfortable and inconspicuous to be running around in an outfit meant for a club for the majority of the book? Because showering is important and so are comfortable clothes that you can get stuff done in. So really, this book gets four stars because of that hint at a love triangle and the drawn out explanations which were balanced out with super fun treasure-hunting time and the promise of more treasure-hunting time to come. “Treasure-hunting time” is not a euphemism.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.