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Your Passport To Destiny

Maggie Hall's diverting sequel to The Conspiracy of Us covers a lot of action-packed (and international) ground.

Your Passport To Destiny

BOOK REPORT for Map of Fates (Conspiracy of Us #2) by Maggie Hall

Cover Story: Déjà Vu
BFF Charm: Caution
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: Page Turner
Bonus Factors: Globetrotting, Not a Bridge Book
Relationship Status: Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma'am

Cover Story: Déjà Vu

Beginning to wonder if we need to start a "Who Wore It Better" feature for YA covers.

The Deal

Map of Fates is the sequel to The Conspiracy of Us, so if you haven't read the latter, stop right here and go no further unless you're a fan of spoilers. (But, as always, I will refrain from spilling any major beans on the sequel with this review.)

Figuring out the identity of The One (i.e. Stellan) was a major accomplishment for Avery and Jack, but, to be a total Debbie Downer about it, their discovery really didn't bring them any closer to locating Alexander the Great's tomb and the mysterious weapon that can take down the Order. That lack of progress is now all too clear to Avery after a futile two weeks of hunting for clues in order to save her kidnapped mother.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Avery soon finds herself leading a double life in order to continue her search. During the day, she's a dutiful Circle member, an inspirational figure and a highly sought-after bride, but at night, she's a renegade hellbent on the mission to find the tomb before her mother's time runs out.

BFF Charm: Caution

After reading the first book, I didn't want to be friends with Avery so much as I wanted to be Avery. But now? Well, let's just say the costs might have caught up with the benefits. I still envy her position in that Jack and Stellan sandwich, and she continues to do some insanely glamorous traveling, but wow, death follows that girl like white on rice. Even with my jealousy tempered, I'm still not sure that I would bestie up with Avery, simply because... I like being alive?

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Let's just say that if you're Team Jack, you're probably gonna give this book a lower score on ye olde Swoon-O-Meter. Stellan is in top (FOINE) form here, and those inklings of attraction between him and Avery in the previous novel blaze up into something much, much bigger--and hotter. There's one scene in particular that warmed me and my lady parts RIGHT UP, if you know what I mean. (And you should, because I just used the term, "lady parts.")

Talky Talk: Page Turner

Like its predecessor, this book brings the action with exhilarating pacing and surprising reveals. I did, however, feel that the structure and tone broke down in a few places. Certain characters' actions and motives didn't really make sense, and the sequence of events in the last chapter took me out of the story completely, due both to their jarring abruptness and a lack of emotional stakes. Hall's writing brings the thrills but seems to falter when it comes to engendering reader empathy, and it's easy to fly through this book without ever feeling a connection with any of the protagonists.

On a side (and very picky) note, there's a whole thing involving a virus that does not seem at all scientifically plausible. Nor does it sound like a virus. END SCULLY RANT.

Bonus Factor: Globetrotting

Avery's passport* gets a whole lotta love in this installment, including stops in India, Italy and a yacht in Greece, and since my mother's life wasn't at stake, I got to enjoy these travels way more than our heroine did.

*Just kidding, she doesn't have a passport! You don't need one when you're a member of the Circle, flying around on private jets and being rich!

Bonus Factor: Not a Bridge Book

Sure, Avery doesn't solve the puzzle by the end of this novel, but there's a ton of developments that kept my interest and led to a few pretty spectacular twists.

Casting Call

I've already cast Avery, Stellan and Jack, so let's add:

Pierre Perrier as Luc

At 31, he's too old to play Luc, but I couldn't help picturing Pierre as Avery's sweet and slightly silly gay cousin.

Hayley Kiyoko as Elodie

Relationship Status: Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma'am

Book, you showed me a good time with no strings attached, and since neither of us is looking to settle down, I'm happy to just enjoy the ride. There's nothing serious going on between us, but you better believe I'll be back for more as soon as your trilogy comes to a conclusion.

p.s. TEAM STELLAN.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from G.P. Putnam's Sons, but got neither cocktails nor money in exchange for this review (dammit). Map of Fates is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).