Girl in blue ball gown stands over a 12-point compass embedded in a tile floor, by the words of the title: "The Conspiracy of Us" in white script

Book Review & Deal: Conspiracy of Us, A Fast-Paced Read

I walked into my local library a couple of weeks ago and saw a book on display–one of those “book of the week” displays–called Ends of the World. It had a beautiful  rich purple cover with a girl in a ball gown. I started reading the back blurb, and was instantly hooked…until I realized that it was the third in a trilogy. I was intrigued enough, though, that when I got home, I looked up the first book in the series, The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall, to see if it sounded as appealing as the third book did, and if I could find a good deal on it. Although I suppose I could’ve probably checked the library’s database to see if they had all three books, where would the fun have been in that? The Conspiracy of Us, which I found for $6.98 on Amazon, turned out to similar in a lot of ways to Truth Seer, which I just reviewed, but more edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, and emotional. It’s a YA DaVinci Code!

What is The Conspiracy of Us About?

Girl in blue ball gown stands over a 12-point compass embedded in a tile floor, by the words of the title: "The Conspiracy of Us" in white script

From Goodreads:

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.

Who Would Like The Conspiracy of Us, And Why?

Anyone who likes mystery such as that found in Conjured by Sarah Durst, will love this book. If you liked the love triangle in Twilight, you’ll definitely like it, because it has one of those too. If you like fast-but-well-paced books with plots that build as inexorably and swiftly as pyroplastic clouds, as opposed to plots that constantly build and then slump over and over again, you’ll like Conspiracy of Us.

What’s The Deal?

There’s a site called BetterWorldBooks.com that sells both new and used copies of books, and there’s a used copy in very good condition (which basically means it’s pretty much new), for $3.98 with free shipping.  

These Broken Stars cover

Book Reviews and Deals: These Broken Stars and This Shattered World: Tidal Wave Reads

I must start this book review by mentioning another book review site, The Book Smugglers, because it is from that site and its really good, in-depth reviews that I learned about These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. The book is sometimes called “Titanic in space” because the crash of a giant spaceship is what sets off its main conflict. The daughter of the richest man in the universe, and a poor, orphaned soldier are the only two survivors on a terra-formed, unpopulated planet, and they both hate each other. But they have to get along in order to survive. This is not the first time that such a conflict forms the centerpiece of a story, but it is the first time that it has been done with such original effect.

What Is These Broken Stars About?

From Goodreads:

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.  The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

These Broken Stars cover

Why I Liked These Broken Stars, And Why You Might Like It Too

I, for one,  loved the uniqueness of the plot and the premise, two young people marooned on a planet struggling to overcome the mindsets that keep them apart. They must search for other survivors and a way to communicate an SOS signal. In that sense, the plot is tied inextricably to their movement along their days-long hike.  The evolution of their dynamic feels very real, especially since the story is told from alternating points of view. Lilac, the daughter, learns how and why she should really rely on herself more. Not only that, her eyes are opened to the dark deeds of her father, who has kept her under his gilded thumb her entire life. And Tarver–his discovery of the fact that there are things worth protecting, not just dying for, but living for and taking care of–it’s a beautiful thing.

Were it just for those things, I would have rated These Broken Stars highly. But then, a twist developed that was wholly unexpected, that brought in more of a fantasy feel, that made it even better. I was, in fact, a very bad person when I read this, because I had to read it all through in one day! I felt like this book was well-paced, walking a perfect line between conflict and emotional development. It can be such a struggle to develop both simultaneously. It was one of those books that pulls you inexorably forward to find out what happens. A joy to read.

What’s the Deal?

You can get These Broken Stars for $3.98 on BetterWorldBooks with free shipping.

Nutrition Facts, Anyone?

Swearing (d*, sh*, f*, h*, g*d*): 56

Sex: none, although there’s some making out

Violence: little bit

Stars: 10 out of 10

Second Book in the Series: This Shattered World

The second book in the series, This Shattered World, did not disappoint either, although it was about completely different characters. Here’s its description:

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the rebels. Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. His sister died in the original uprising against the powerful corporations that terraformed Avon. These corporations make their fortune by terraforming uninhabitable planets across the universe and recruiting colonists to make the planets livable. They promised better [lives]. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion against them.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war. As Flynn and Lee attempt to uncover the truth about Avon, they realize that there is a conspiracy on the planet that runs deeper than either of them could imagine.

Why I Liked This Shattered World, And Why You Might Too

Everything about the second book is different–the characters, the setting, the conflict–but there is the same vividness of setting, starkness of conflict, and unforgettable characters. I wrote this in my Amazon review:

This was a 10 on my not-able-to-put-down scale! I loved everything about it. The plot had the impetus of a tidal wave. It was built around a conflict that was stark and very tense. Though this book’s setting is on a world very different from our own, I didn’t have a problem visualizing where things were taking place. The characters were marvelously believable and wonderfully drawn. There was exactly the right balance between internal monologue and external action; enough of the former to make the extreme changes the two main characters go through seem not only feasible but necessary, and enough of the latter to continually glue my eyes to the pages. Such a joy to read!

This Shattered World cover

What’s The Deal?

You can get This Shattered World through BetterWorld.com for $3.95.

Nutrition Facts, Anyone?

Swearing (d*, f*, sh*, h*, g*d*): 51

Sex: same as in book 1

Violence: same as in book 1

Have you read the third book in the series, Their Fractured Light? If so, what did you think?