Book Review: Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
Young Adult, Paranormal, Magic
Publication Date: Sept 3rd, 2013
Walker Childrens, 368 pages
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
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.
CONJURED brings to mind lush words, dark secrets, and fairy tale whispering. Romance, terror and magic. A mysterious circus and a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer. This is a dark fantasy story you won’t soon forget.
SETTING AND SUMMARY: Conjured slowly lures you into Sarah Beth Durst’s fascinating world where magic, mystery, and romance go hand in hand with the bizarre and the strange. At the heart of the story is a psychological drama involving a teenage girl who is under a paranormal witness program. Eve is haunted by terrifying dreams and visions of a carnival tent, strange magic and someone telling her Once Upon a Time stories as they sew buttons into her skin and stitches upon her lips. The writing is intense and confusing as the reader is taken on a journey along with Eve as she tries to solve the mystery behind the magic-wielding serial killer who desperately wants her back. Eve’s memory loss is like missing pieces to a puzzle that the author slowly hands out, piece by piece. Slowly the story unwinds and Eve learns who she is and why she has such strange abilities.There’s terrible and hauntingly beautiful magic involved, timeless romance and some fantastic terror and danger before all is said and done in CONJURED. You won’t forget this story nor it’s vivid and gorgeous writing for a long while.
CHARACTERS: EVE is riddled by bouts of amnesia and terrifying dreams of a surreal and terrifying world the centers on a mysterious circus. Eve's character is at times dark and intense as she suffers through periods of "lost time" and amnesia. It's easy to admire her resilience and quiet strength as she desperately tries to recapture her lost memories. What makes Eve's character such a great heroine is her slow transformation from nearly lost and lifeless to something alive, vibrant and powerful.
SWOON LEVEL: Crush
THE ROMANCE: A sweet and wonderful romance that is fairy-tale worthy. I really enjoyed the sweet friendship and romance that blossomed in CONJURED. Eve has a perfect counterpart that encourages her to become more. An unlikely hero, who's world of books and dreams are exactly what Eve needs.
THE SWOON QUOTE:
“Tell me why you like me.”
His grin vanished. He had a crease, and his lips were pursed as if he were worried. “You’re fascinating...like a closed-up flower. You’re a cloud that hasn’t formed into shape yet, but could. You’re shadows layered over shadows.”
“You mean that?”
WHAT I LIKED: Sarah Beth Durst creates such vivid pictures with her words and the magical realms she creates with her prose left me wanting more. I was at times enthralled, enchanted and terrified.
WHAT I WOULD HAVE LIKED: I would have liked Aidan, Victoria, and Topher's characters to have been further developed and fleshed out more. They were so fascinating and had so much potential to add richness to the story, that I was sad they weren’t explored further.
THE ENDING: CONJURED is the sort of story that slowly unwinds, clues and hints teasingly given out, and action and romance are evenly paced. Everything is delightfully deliberate and leaves you satisfied in the end.