Avery West has spent her whole life moving from town to town for her mother’s job—never staying long enough to form real relationships. Including one with her absentee father, who hasn’t been in Avery’s life since her birth.
Despite her mother’s objection, Avery sneaks out to prom with the new kid Jack—who weirdly has a picture of her in his wallet. After a confrontation with the handsome but dangerous Stellan, Avery is told that she is a Saxon and that her family is part of a secret society called the Circle. The Circle consists of twelve families—made up of world leaders, pop stars, and royalty—that are descendants of the Diadochi, Alexander the Great’s twelve generals.
Avery jets off to Paris to meet her new family, but is immediately put in danger. The Circle is being hunted by a group called the Order, with the only solution being to fulfill an ancient mandate—the purple-eyed girl’s and the One’s union in blood. Avery travels around Europe, avoiding the Order and collecting different clues to fulfill the mandate and save those she loves.
First, can I just say how much I love covers with girls in gowns—like a lot. I think that’s part of the reason I bought Maggie Hall’s The Conspiracy of Us on Book Outlet, because otherwise I haven’t heard a lot about it. Cover aside, this was a really fun read that was totally me. It had everything I love, from a female protagonist, to a cute romance, mystery, history, and adventure.
I had a little bit of trouble with how Avery just up and leaves to go to Paris. She doesn’t know the boy she takes off with, and she doesn’t even wait to talk it out with her mom. I kind of got it because of how much she’s always longed for a family, but still.
This being said, I liked Avery. She’s really determined to act in line with her own beliefs and feelings rather than being restricted by the rules put in place by the Circle. And she develops this inner strength throughout the novel. But she can be kind of a typical young-adult female protagonist at times, and I’d just like to see her fleshed out a little more—especially because the males in the book have such strong personalities.
Let’s start with Jack. He is a Keeper—basically a bodyguard—for the Saxon family, which Avery belongs to. He’s very rational, serious, and intelligent. Normally I wouldn’t believe the personality for someone so young, but Jack grew up in the Circle so it really did work and made sense. And he has a British accent!
Stellan is more of a bad boy. He is a Keeper for the Dauphins, another one of the twelve Circle families. Avery really never knows if she can trust him, and they have this really interesting, exasperating, and sometimes flirty—on his end—relationship. He’s also part Russian, so he throws in some Russian either to annoy Avery or in moments of frustration.
This being said, there’s kind of a love triangle. I know I said in a previous post that I’m kind of getting sick of love triangles, but this one is presented in a really unique way—I can’t say more without spoilers. I’m expecting more to come romance wise in the second book Map of Fates.
This book was great setting wise. Avery and her companions globe trot around Europe—from Paris to Istanbul. All the traveling really added to the adventure and Hall did a great job immersing the reader in each location. Plus there were clues! It was a fun and high-stakes treasure hunt.
Just to clear up the Circle, it’s basically this really powerful secret group of twelve families that descend from Alexander the Great’s generals. They are movie stars, royalty, and world leaders who basically control the world—shutting down Prada and starting wars. I was a little confused at first, just trying to absorb the rules of the Circle and its’ history, but the farther I got into it the more I was immersed in the world. I haven’t read anything else like the society and power structure Hall sets up, and I just really loved it.
Not going to lie, right after I finished I ordered the sequel Map of Fates. The ending and the characters were so compelling, and I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t wait. You can find The Conspiracy of Us on Amazon and the author Maggie hall at maggiehall.com. Give it a read and let me know what you think in the comments. Plus leave recommendations for my next book!