Book Review: Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill’s Conspiracies

Posted August 23, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult

This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.

Book Review: Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill’s Conspiracies

Conspiracies

by Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill

two-stars

Series: Shadow Grail #2

Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Unnatural Issue, "The River's Gift", Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar, Foundation, Intrigues, Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit, Owlknight, Charmed Destinies, Changes, Beauty and the Werewolf, Invasion, Home From the Sea, Dead Reckoning, Bedlam's Edge, Crown of Vengeance, Redoubt, Harvest Moon, World Divided, Elemental Magic: All New Tales of the Elemental Masters, Sacrifices, Steadfast, Bastion, Victories, Blood Red, The House of the Four Winds, Games Creatures Play, Closer to Home, Born to Run, Wheels of Fire, When the Bough Breaks, Chrome Circle, Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, Arcanum 101, A Tangled Web, Winter Moon, Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, From a High Tower, Hunter, Closer to the Heart, Silence, A Study in Sable, Elite, Closer to the Chest.

Genres: Urban Fantasy

This Hardcover has 342 pages and was published by Tor Teen on July 5, 2011. Discover more about it at Goodreads. You can also buy it at Amazon

Second in the Shadow Grail urban fantasy series for young adults and revolving around a core group of magick-wielding students at a special boarding school. Mmmmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

My Take

I suspect that Conspiracies is a bridge novel setting us up for the next story in the series and I certainly hope it’s better than this bit of ho-hum. I can’t believe Lackey and Edghill put out such drivel. I think Richelle Mead does this much better in her Bloodlines series.

Well, the school is certainly a nasty place. It seems to be run more like a stalag than a posh academy. With all its guards with their heads in the sand.

Then there’s the whiny Spirit. I can’t really blame her friends for thinking she’s harping on this for the attention, although, at the same time, I can’t believe they’re just fluffing recent events off. It’s difficult to get enthused about this story with all the bitching going on by both sides of this group of friends. Combine this with the convenience of some of the attacks and…yawn…

I had hoped for some tension over whether Dr. MacKenzie is evil or good, but even that fizzled. And just why are the teachers so clueless?? The Riders were certainly a no-brainer. I can’t believe how lame that was. Hullo, black snakes on everyone at BAS’s jewelry…it just screams bad guy. How stupid do Lackey and Edghill think we are?

Oh, brother, one of the big “mysteries” from Legacies was a notation about being Tithed. Well, duhhh, they may not have Internet access at the start, but they do have their history books!

I did enjoy the Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and other movie references as well as the finale. Otherwise, hamhanded and obvious…gag…

The Story

In Legacies, Spirit and her friends fought the Wild Hunt, a supernatural troop of riders who were taking students while the administration covered it up. It’s only a few days later and Christmas is quickly approaching, but nothing has been said to anyone.

Spirit is angry that the entire incident is being covered up, but her friends think she’s simply stirring the pot. Then Elizabeth Walker comes along with her story and Spirit begins to think the others might be right.

Until a new Hunt appears.

The Characters

Spirit White has lost her parents and baby sister to a supposed car accident which has resulted in her being sent to Oakhurst Academy in the middle of Montana, a posh boarding school only for future magicians who have been orphaned. Even though she’s been told that she has magic, there has been no evidence.

Muirin is an Air Witch and something of a snob who falls right in with the BAS gang. Step is her stepmother who is eager to get her hands on Muirin’s trust fund. Addie is the heir to Prester-Lake BioCo and a Water Witch. Loch Spears doesn’t particularly miss his father, Benjamin Spears. He was never really there. He has some minor Gifts: Shadewalking and Kenning from the School of Air and Pathfinding from the School of Earth. Burke Hallows has been an orphan his entire life but does have foster parents he cares for. His Gift is Combat Magery in the School of Earth. He’s also fallen for Spirit.

Kelly Langley is “one of the nicer proctors”. Elizabeth Walker is a new student upon the story’s opening. Her family fell through thin ice and now she’s trapped here not knowing who to trust. The dreams have been coming for years and now she thinks they’re coming to life.

Dr. Ambrosius is the headmaster. Mrs. Corby and Mr. Devon are his bodyguards. Mrs. Corby is also his personal assistant although she lacks magic; Devon is a supervisor of the Boys’ Dorm Wing. Ms. Smith is the math teacher who seems fixated on how awful everyone’s experiences were. Dr. MacKenzie is the school shrink whom everyone is supposed to visit.

Nothing is ever fun at this school. Everything, and I mean everything is graded. Even the gifts they receive at Christmas are geared toward preparing them for their classes.

Tom and Adam Phillips are the local townies from Radial who helped Muirin and Seth smuggle contraband into the school.

Breakthrough Adventure Systems is the new big employer in Radial. Run by a couple of Oakhurst Academy alumni, Mark Rider and Theodore Rider, they claim the game-designer factory has relocated here to help protect the school and the students. It certainly provides a useful opportunity to take over the school. Madison Lane-Rider is supermodel-perfect, Mark’s wife, and is replacing the suddenly missing Ms. Holland. Anastus Leontivich Ovcharenko, Russian Bratva, will take over teaching the school’s defenses with Mia Singleton and Zachary York even as they boost the school’s external defenses.

Shadow Knights are the bad guys Elizabeth knows from her dreams; the Riders (Yes, the authors are posing this batch of bad guys as separate from the Riders mentioned above. Is this too obvious or what??) are a modern Wild Hunt on horses and snowmobiles.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a study in browns. No, seriously, it could be a study with its wood paneled walls and the imposingly elaborate fireplace surround topped by the school’s banner. Spirit is front and center in her golden plaid school skirt and cream mock turtleneck sweater while Loch and Burke are in their school colors: brown trousers and a gray jacket on Loch, a gray cardigan on Burke and both wearing the school tie. Both boys are ready for action.

The title refers to the Conspiracies Spirit believes are swirling around them.


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