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Goodreads- A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance--perfect for fans of Ally Carter
Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead. To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.
Okay, so I know this has been compared to the Da Vinci Code for YA and yes, it is complicated, maybe a little too complicated, but it has a few too many faults for me. Avery is okay, but after living a very sheltered life, moving from place to place for her mom's job and never having friends or a boyfriend, she all of the sudden starts noticing a boy who suddenly asks her to prom. After a week at school. After she has found him stalking her. And she goes. To prom, that is. And then things get bad from there. She's a bit like a helpless bird who has crashed into a window and is stunned. Her wings are hurt and she spends most of the novel that way. Being rescued. Again and again and again. And while I don't mind the rescue thing, it does get old after a bit.
But the story line was very interesting. Twelve was the magic number- 12 months, 12 zodiac signs, 12 ruling families who can shut down Prada as well as have private planes on standby in every major city in the world. One prophecy looking for the One with the violet eyes. Bet you can't guess who has violet eyes??? Though she wears contacts to make her eyes brown so she keeps her identity a secret for a bit, gathering information about the prophecy and who her family is among the twelve ruling families. I'm still not sure who she belongs to and I didn't realize this was a series. I have to say that Avery gets more gumption and depth towards the end of the book and the story is much more interesting in the later third of the book than in the first two thirds. It's the only reason I will probably borrow the next book from the library and read it.
However, more troubling to me, I couldn't keep straight who the good guys were and who the bad guys were- The Circle or The Order and maybe that was intentional, I'm not sure. You will also have to swallow a lot of disbelief in the romance department. I believe this is a world record in how fast a YA couple falls for each other. I think it's a day and a half. Now, it might have something to do with the prophecy or something else magical though there have been no signs of magic so far. And there is a second guy, but I believe Avery's preference is clear, so I don't think there is a love triangle. Time will tell.
There is a lot of violence on and off the page. Some of it is really violent and could be disturbing to younger YA readers. Talk about the violence is glib among most of the characters as they are used to it, though Avery is not. I think a lot of readers would find this very fun to read and would be able to swallow what I found troubling in the novel. It might have just been the wrong time for me to read this novel. Or maybe I was just expecting something a little more. If you go in with a lighthearted attitude I think you'll enjoy it. But the insta-love, rescue syndrome, and bad decisions as well as hazy prophecy and secret societies just made it too much for me to really love this one.