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.
Dang man. I raced through this book in one sitting! It was that good.
We have fast-paced action, quite reminscent of The DaVinci Code (makes sense, as this book is said to be a YA version) and a book holds true to its title: there are conspiracies everywhere. The beginning was a little slow to me, but once things sped up, they sped up. Of course, since this is YA, we have a little more emphasis on romance during all the running away and gathering clues part of the book. Not that I’m complaining. It was really sweet, and I wouldn’t really call it a love triangle. It’s more like one love interest is based on the character’s feelings and the other is based on plot. Does that make sense? Maybe we should start from the beginning.
Avery June West is a high school junior that has always been moving; constantly switching schools and trying to not get too attached to people. Her mom works as a military contractor, though, so that means she has to move to different cities all over the country. Or is that the reason why? Avery’s father left them when she was little, so it’s just her and her mom. I kind of wish we got a little more of a view of their mother-daughter relationship, but from what we did get, they have a really tight bond that came from relying on each other throughout the years.
Avery is at her new school and sticking to The Plan – which is not getting too close to people, considering she’d be moving soon anyway. That changes in the case of Jack Bishop, though.
“I wasn’t just fascinated with his forearms, though, or his deep gray eyes, or the dimple in his right cheek. He was ridiculously attractive – not pretty, but good-looking in a chiseled way, his jawline an angle rather than a curve, not a strand of expresso-colored hair out of place – and to a lot of people, that would be enough.”
Bleh. Try reading that in the second chapter of the book. No thank you, I told myself. No thank you, I told myself as Avery sneaks off to go to prom with Jack without telling her mother, after she specifically told her to stay at home. But then again, Avery was just too tired of being passive. This will probably be her only chance at prom, so why not?
Why not, indeed, for at the prom we meet Stellan, a guy who is hell-bent on taking Avery away. Why? Well it turns out that she is a relative to a family in The Circle of Twelve, a society that controls the world behind the scenes. When they say control the world, they mean it. Throughout the story we get glimpses of sultans, politicians, and celebrities from all over the world.
“I paused, the lotion cap halway off. ‘You did not just say the Circle started both World Wars.'”
It turns out, Stellan and Jack are both Keepers of the families in the Circle, kind of like guardians. They manage to convince Avery to go with them, to see her family. Yes, apparently Avery’s father was a part of this mysterious Circle and that her family wanted to meet her, hence Jack being sent to her school to spy on her. Avery desperately wants to meet the rest of her family, and off they go… to Paris.
From there on, we enter a mafia-like world where private planes are an endless supply and killing people is something done every other day. Shit is happening, and it is happening fast. People are trying to kill Avery, for reasons unknown until she learns more about The Circle. At the same time, her feelings of Jack are developing into trust despite the situation around them.
“I’d spent the past forty-eight hours running across Europe, being shot at, stealing antiquities, but I still couldn’t deal with one boy.”
Normally I’d be annoyed with this, but it’s not so bad when you’re caught up with all the running and escaping our characters are going through. Originally I was barfing in my mouth because of Avery’s infatuation, but at the end I was swooning. Jack’s character makes it a plus, too! He’s so sweet, and caught up between his alliance to the family he works for and the girl he likes, which makes their romance a little more angsty. Jack is always there for Avery, and he supports her throughout the book.
On the other hand, Stellan is completely devoted to the family he works for, ruthless, and always has a knife on hand. Sometimes he’ll vacillate between being nice to being cold to Avery, and it seems like he would sell her out with no problems if the people he works for orders it. However, there are many hidden secrets about Stellan that allow readers to really understand his pain and the reasons why he does things. There is also an even bigger realization in the book that may change the whole Circle’s foundation.
“‘Toska.‘ He leaned forward, too. ‘It’s a Russian word. It has no translation into any other language, but the closest i’ve heard is the ache. A longing. The sense that something is missing, and even if you’re not sure what it is, you ache for it. Down to your bones.'”
Once we get to know about the Circle more, we are introduced to the baddies, with the totally original name: The Order. The Order has the same goals as the Circle, but who will get to it first? The Order formed at around the same time the Circle did, so they’ve always been against each other throughout the ages. While they’re battling for the answer to a prophecy that has been passed along, our main characters make a discovery that changes all the rules. The author’s writing really flows and allows the reader to follow the story even with such a fast-paced plot. This book has everything! Secret families, romance, an adventure that’ll keep your eyes glued to the pages, and even [hover to see spoiler].
I’d definitely recommend this for teens who enjoy Dan Brown and other mystery thrillers. People looking for some fast action in foreign countries and a book not afraid to show blood will like this. This is the first book published in 2015 I’ve read, and I would say it lived up to expectations. Although I would have liked some more character development, I wasn’t too put off by it considering the pacing of the story. The only pity is that waiting for the next book to come, because dat cliffhanger doe.