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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 

Freaking Liz Taylor Eyes

The Conspiracy of Us - Maggie  Hall

I almost, almost, DNF’d this one.  I should’ve DNF’d it.  There were three strikes against it within the first hundred pages:


1) Purple eyes.  Sorry, no.  There are way too many Liz Taylor’s in the YA genre.


2) Bastardizing sensitive history.  I like when history gets twisted, but stating that two tragic world wars were caused by a super elite family (um, no).


3) Forbidden romance.  Enough said.



So, why did I keep reading this one?


The concept.


The concept was made for me.  I was so sure (before I read said book) that this was going to be my book soulmate.  I like conspiracy theories, ancient puzzles and mysteries, and some of my favorite movies involve McGuffin like quest.  The Da Vinci Code comparison sealed the deal on the preorder button for me, but to be honest….the adaptation of The Da Vinci Code where Tom Hanks wears the heinous hair plugs is better than this book.


Even that show where Scott Wolter whines on and on about how The Templars did it is better than this book.


That’s sad.


What’s the problem?


Well, it committed three cardinal sins and it happened to suffer from bad characterization and bland jet setting.


Don’t worry, I’ll talk about all of them

Cardinal Sins:



1) Liz Taylor Eyes:


Yes, I know that violet eyes can occur in real life.  Liz Taylor had them and so do other people, but it shouldn’t have been used as a major plot point to make our main character a super special snowflake.




I’m done with eye color plot lines.  The truth behind eye color is really boring and deals with science, not magic.  Plus, having a whole prophecy surrounding a purple colored girl is stupid considering that a small segment of the population has purple freaking eyes.


I think I really would’ve been able to handle the purple eye trope more if  Avery just had purple eyes and it didn’t evolve into this whole big super plot.


Really, I was thinking Hall was almost trolling her audience when she decided to use that trope-that’s how overdone it is.


2) Bastardizing History:


I don’t mind alternate histories, but some events are too horrible to be bastardize.  And that includes both world wars.  I’m sorry, I have a hard time believing some super secret family started World War II or II.  Let’s just forget about all that horrible history that occurred.  Let’s just overlook those people’s faults because an evil World Order started it all.


3) Forbidden Love:


Do I even need to go here?


It just makes me roll my eyes at this point because it so overused.  Here, I couldn’t care because of the poor characterization.  I think a problem that often occurs with this trope is that the forbidden aspect is told to the audience BEFORE any relationship or world building is done and that’s what happens here.  Seriously, it was like…oh, I have to give this relationship some oomph value…I know how I’ll make it forbidden.  Add a prophecy that links two members of the triangle together and you have some vomitrocious worthy scenes.



Bland Characterization:


The characterization was zero.  Avery is nice enough with her Sue eyes, but she has little no personality.  And she had quite a few TSTL moments.  The whole agreeing to go to Paris thing really didn’t make that much sense to me.  I get that she’s a teen, and teens can act on impulse.  But there was no logic to her decisions.  And one of the guys who took her to Paris threatened to knife her…


Stupid much?


The boys.

One’s a secretive asshole with a British accent and one’s an outright asshole with a Russian accent.


I don’t joke.


They’re really about the same to me.  However, the British asshole screams more love interest than the Russian asshole who’s just a tad bit psycho.


Both of them, obviously, are super model good looking.


Bland Jet Setting:


This book takes place in both Paris and Istanbul.  The use of those cities alone should make me excited. But except for visiting Prada-which I could do if I went to the Galleria area in Houston-and a few French phrases that anyone can learn if they take Rosetta Stone.  There wasn’t anything remotely French about this book.


The same goes with Istanbul as well.


When you’re jet setting, it’s important that the audience feels the cities you’re visiting.  Both Paris and Istanbul are rich cities with character.  However, both of them could’ve been in Nowheresville, America as far as I know.



This book wasn’t disgusting overall.  Despite reeking of cliches and tropes, I have read worse.  The thing that bothered me the most about The Conspiracy of Us was that it had so much potential and it squandered it.


Overall Rating: C-.  Sigh…I really have to think about continuing the series.  If I do, it will undoubtedly be library-ed.  I don’t have the money to put up with purple eye shenanigans.


Source: http://howdyyal.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/purple-eyes-make-my-eyes-roll-the-conspiracy-of-us-by-maggie-hall