Monday, August 26, 2013

Becky's View: Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
♦publisher: Bloomsbury
♦release date: September 3rd, 2013
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

Review: In Conjured, Sarah Beth Durst once again gives us a story full of haunting imagery that defies imagination.  After reading Vessel last year, and being left in wonder at the glass snakes in the sky and treacherous sandworms, I knew if anyone could bring the weird and whimsical to a carnival setting, it was this author.  

The story surrounds Eve, a girl who has no memory of her past, but also frequently loses what little short term memory she has gained.  While that has it's place in the story, it also made it somewhat difficult to get a grasp on Eve's character at first, as well as the other characters.  It starts off a bit confusing while trying to figure out who these people are that are with Eve and if they are good or bad---one was very serious and protective and the other was just plain mean. More characters pop up throughout and it was just as hard to guess their intentions. We get little glimpses of a peculiar carnival and of the powers that Eve has and it's all very cryptic.  It definitely keeps you guessing, but also left me a bit bewildered for the first 70 pages or so.  This was where the story really started to grab me and didn't let go until the end. Eve's visions start to take on more meaning, she starts to stand up to her protectors/captors (she's really not sure which they are!), and best of all, things start to happen with the charming and slightly geeky Zach.  One of my favorite love interests in a long time---Zach was a sweetheart and full of all this quirky energy and off-the-wall information, with personal dilemmas of his own and bravery where it really counts.   

The last part bursts into an unexpected and exhilarating  dose of sci-fi fantasy adventure as they race to track down the carnival that will give Eve the answers she needs.  It builds into an increasingly twisted and dark resolution that a reader may have gotten inklings of through Eve's early visions, but I don't think anyone could of guessed what was actually coming. 

Make your way past the slightly slow beginning and you'll find an extraordinary and wildly creative tale of a girl's journey to find out where she comes from and what she's made of. 

Visit Sarah Beth Durst: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook
Purchase Conjured:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. This one sounds really interesting! I love book that keep me guessing and it sounds like this one has that in spades. It also sounds like that love interest is awesome! I need a good one of those in my life. I'll have to check this one out soon. Thanks for the awesome review!

    1. He was definitely awesome. Like I said, slightly geeky and he wasn't all moody and serious like so many love interests out there. :) I hope you get a chance to check this out!

  2. Twisted and dark resolution, that does sound like my kind of book :D I'll keep in mind that the beginning might be a bit slow, but I think I'll like it :)


    1. Yup, this definitely gets dark in the end. I hope you do like it, Mel!

  3. thanks for the great review! I've started seeing this book around the blogosphere and I"m definitely interested now ;)

  4. I've heard some really interesting things about this book and the cover really piques my interest. Thanks for the great review. :D

  5. This is right up my alley! Great review! Added it to my to read list. :)