Genres: Romantic, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Walker Childrens on September 3, 2013
Reviewed by: Abigail
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.
There is always a challenge when it comes to characters who suffer from amnesia. It can feel like the reader is just as confused as they are. In CONJURED, Sarah Beth Durst handles this conundrum better than most by creating a hazy but still intriguing reality for her short-term memory challenged protagonist with surprising bursts of information well paced throughout the book. Oh and the literally magical kisses didn't hurt.
If you aren't already a fan of Sarah Beth Durst (and you should be) she's deft at handling both irreverent humor and tender drama, the later of which shines in CONJURED. Eve is so lost in the beginning, literally, she will suddenly become aware in the middle of breakfast and have no idea how much time she's lost, who she can trust, and what parts of her life are real. It's fascinating in a teen Momento kind of way.
On the downside, the depth of plot and character that seemed necessary for this kind of story never really manifested fully. Neither Eve, Zach, Adrian, Marcus, or Lou felt as rich or as real as they should have (Aunt Nikki was the one character who did have real depth). The concept--once it was fully explained--fell short in taking advantage of how cool it really was--and it was very cool. I wanted more information about the intricacies of the Witness Protection Program (WPP) and how the paranormal branch functioned, because it's such a fascinating premise. Likewise, as sweet and adorable as Zach was, I wanted a little more authentic reaction from him when he learned about Eve. He was way too easy going and accepting. And I wanted the romance that developed to be more swoon-worthy than it ended up being.
Still love Sarah Beth Durst. Still wildly intrigued by the premise and ultimate resolution of CONJURED. Still applauding the way Eve's amnesia was handled in such a way that readers can experience her confusion without having to be frustrated by uncertainty within the story itself. Wish it was the start of a series about the paranormal WPP. Wish all the characters were as three-dimensional as they should have been. Wish the overall story had been as robust as it could have been and almost was. Wish more books had truly magical kisses.