Title – Author: Conjured – Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Format – Source: e-ARC – Publisher via NetGalley
Eve has no memories of her past. She’s been given a new home, a new body, and a new job and told she’s part of a Witness Protection Program. The agency that protects her wants her to remember because her memories hold the key to bringing a dangerous murderer to justice. While Eve tries to learn how to function in her new world, she learns she has magic. But every time she uses it, she blacks out and has confusing visions and when she returns, days or weeks have passed of which she has no memory at all. Eve has to figure out who she is before it’s too late and the murderer strikes again.
I’ve heard amazing things about Sarah Beth Durst’s Vessel. I have a copy (and even got it signed!) but it’s still on my TBR list. When I saw she had a new book coming out, I decided to give it a chance based solely on general opinion of her previous work. Well, I’m glad I did because Conjured is a unique story.
I love books with unreliable narrators. Eve has no memories and often loses stretches of time when she blacks out. The agents who protect her and the others like her who are also under the protection of the agency all lie to her. They also manipulate her. She doesn’t know about her past and she can’t really trust the people around her. So as a reader, we learn with Eve about this world and her role in the investigation.
The author structures the narrative by alternating between Eve’s present and her visions. I really enjoyed this method of telling the story. Pieces of the mystery surrounding Eve are revealed slowly. At times this can be confusing, but there’s definitely a payoff when things are revealed and everything that Eve sees in her visions starts to make sense. There’s a great switch in perspective at the end that beautifully illustrates Eve’s coming-in-to-her-own.
Even with all the strange magic and unsettling and terrifying situations, there’s a very human story here. Eve has to decide who she wants to be. Will she let her past define her or will she choose for herself what she wants to become? The reveal of what she is blew me away and I appreciated and sympathized with her struggles to come to terms with this. Knowing the journey that Eve has taken made the story much stronger for me. It was unexpected and sad, but Eve gets a great personal triumph.
Conjured is a creative story that surprises and and intrigues the reader at every turn.
7 – really good but missing a little something – George Weasley