BOO!ks for October/ARC Review: Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Regina | 4 Comments

BOO!ks for October/ARC Review: Conjured by Sarah Beth DurstConjured by Sarah Beth Durst
Published by Walker Children's on September 3, 2013
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley
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Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N
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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 is Magical Realism at it’s finest.

(Okay, I am posting this ARC review waaaaay late, but as the saying goes, “Better late, than NEVER!” )

Conjured is the kind of story that makes me want to invent words to use to describe it. Basic vocabulary seems unfitting for such a unique story. After reading it, the first thought that sprung to mind was, ” Man, I really want to interview this author!”.  The cover to Conjured hooked me on first sight, but it was the poetic dialogue, fantastical world building, and imaginative tale spinning that reeled me in.

Eve’s story is truly mystical. Eve is our main character, and we are immersed in her consciousness the whole story. She is being protected from an unknown danger, while being used as a tool to close the case she is at the center of. The identity of a killer needs to be discovered before he starts taking more victims, and catching him depends on Eve’s recollection of her past. It’s this mysterious element to the plot that drives the story along, and kept me intrigued throughout. Darkness and light both precariously exist in Eve’s world, and her struggle to adapt to her unfamiliar surroundings and mysterious memory loss make for an unpredictable story.

Conjured is set in the ”multiverse”, where multiple worlds, magical and mundane, are connected by silvery portals. Eve is in the human world, where using magic  is forbidden. We witness Eve learn what she is capable of, and the true nature of her existence as she tries to piece together unstable memories from  her past.

I thoroughly enjoyed Eve’s character and story, but Zach, someone Eve becomes romantically involved with in the story, is my favorite. His clever sense of humor, and abundant knowledge of the random and useless make him a memorable, and hysterical character.

The modern and mundane were beautifully juxtaposed with the magical and mystical throughout this book, and reading it was a visual treat. The worlds and memories Sarah Durst paints around Eve felt tangible and dream-like all the same. The feeling I had while reading the book was reminiscent of certain scenes in Big Fish, and Carnivale. It had that fuzzy, strange, dreamy quality, and carnival-esque darkness rolled into one. Sarah Durst’s writing and imagination are coupled exquisitely in this novel, and I am eager to read more of her work.

 He scooped a book off the shelf next to her and sniffed it. “This one smells like bacon.” He picked up another. “Cigarettes.” A third. “Just book. I like the smell of fresh books best, […..]. He stuck out his hand. “I’m Zach, library page, at your service.” […] ” I think it’s a shame that it’s customary to shake hands upon greeting when what I really want to do is kiss your lips and see if you taste like strawberries.”

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Classical music nerd by day, freelance writer and blogger by night. When I review books, I don't dish out and rehash every character and detail. What's the point of reading a book if you give most of the deets away in a review??? My reviews are more about my impressions and over all experience with the book. I am also a world-renowned armchair psychologist, and love to psychoanalyze authors.
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