Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Series: The Hoodoo Apprentice #1
Source: eARC from publisher
Reviewed by: Lili
Be careful what you search for…
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.
CONJURE was a nice book that took me on an interesting journey into the world of hoodoo. This story is full of magic, a cute romance that will make you smile, and a race against time to save loved ones. Nolan’s debut novel is a quick read fully of fantastical elements.
The characterization in this book, for the most part, is incredibly strong. My one problem with this novel is that the characters seem to completely disregard their intuition, specifically Emma. Her gut would be telling her the proper, logical thing, but she’d go along with what the others say because she couldn’t stand up for herself and properly assert her opinions. So much could have been avoided if she did. Despite that, she was a great heroine and a likable character that had a crush similar to the crushes I had when I was her age. The attempted understanding of the characters was a little spotty as well. In her attempt to properly portray a set of fourteen and fifteen year old characters, Nolan completely missed their dialogue, and at times, their behavior. Within the first several pages of the book, I was tempted to drop it simply because the word “bro” tended to appear at least once of every page. Eventually, I realized that this is simply how Nolan decided to have her characters talk, but it frustrated me to see something so nonsensical and unrealistic. I can’t say that any of my male friends have ever used the word “bro” as much as Connor had in the first fifty pages of the book, but I powered through and kept going, not allowing it to bug me as much as it initially did.
Aside from my own problems with misinterpretations that made way for annoyances, the plot moved along greatly. Again, the beginning was slightly slow because Nolan had to set up the adventure she was about to take us on, but once everything was good to go the novel took off and never looked back. It was easy to forget the odd mood changes and initial lack of common sense among the characters in the beginning of the novel and continue on with the journey in excitement.
All in all, this was a good story. When I received my copy for review, I didn’t realize the audience that it was going for. I was under the impression that it was for young adults, but parts of it and the style of writing hint that this is meant for the youngest of young adult readers. Because it was such an easy read, I flew through it easily and came out of it with the knowledge that someone slightly younger than me would love it much more than I did, despite my admiration for the creativity and overall enjoyment as I finished it. If anyone is looking for something unique to read, this is a read to grab from the library without any hesitation.