Monday, November 04, 2013


Lost memories. Magical abilities. Nightmare visions of a terrifying carnival, a Magician, and a Storyteller whose tales turn dark with blood and misery.  These elements combine to make a supernatural story full of mystery in Sarah Beth Durst's Conjured .  Teenage, Eve, cannot remember her past or her family. She has gone into WitSec, a witness protection program of sorts and she spends her time with the agents who pretend to be her family. But where family should be--or any memories--is a void.  Eve's body isn't even her own but has been surgically altered to the teenage girl she appears to be. But Eve has the ability to change her eye color by magic, to make birds fly off of wallpaper and become animate too. Unfortunately, every time she uses her magic she loses consciousness. That's when the visions--or are they memories?--of a dark carnival come to her. Eve can't remember how she came to be in this world, and every time she has a vision, she loses more memory in real time. Weeks pass without her remembering a thing. When she begins working at a local library, she meets Zach, and when she kisses him, she's able to keep her mind in check. But so much is missing. . . how do all the pieces come together and how can she use them to bear witness against a supernatural murderer, one who is surely stalking Eve?

It took a little while for me to get with the flow of this book. I found myself impatient for some answers, but when those answers eventually came, they were so satisfying they were worth the wait.  One weakness is that it's hard to connect fully to a girl who cannot connect to herself. Luckily, Eve grows steadily through the book. Unaware of her past she creates who she will be, even as powers work to control her, and some, to try to kill her. I loved the human agents in this book, Aunt Nicki and Malcolm, who seems to be Eve's protectors but whom Eve can't trust completely. I loved the uncertainty of Eve's being able to trust anyone in WitSec and the gradual revelation of what they do and what they want from Eve.  One thing the reader must be willing to overlook--the fact that these super cool secret agents can apparently guard the front door of a house but don't seem to spend any time making sure the back door is covered. It's a little plot device necessary for some scenes, but kind of a cringer. Ah, well. There's too much other good stuff here to quibble over it too much. Characters like Nicki and Malcolm, and three other,also supernaturally enabled,
(but disturbing) WitSec teenagers, make this an intriguing read. Anyone who goes for supernatural romance and has a thing for spooky carnivals is bound to enjoy this one.

Have we seen the last of the characters in this book? Perhaps there will be more to come. . .

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