MAP OF FATES by Maggie Hall (ARC review)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MAP OF FATES by Maggie Hall
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: March 8th, 2016
Pages: 309
Song I Played While Reading: The Rhythm by MNEK
Rating: 3.5 stars

Two weeks. That's how long it took for Avery West's ordinary life to change forever. In two weeks, she discovered she was heirs to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle's enemies, and fell for a boy she's not allowed to love- just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 
Now Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it's too late. By her side are both boys: Jack- steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty - and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.
But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to it's knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: In the world of the Circle, no one is who they seem.

I was so incredibly lucky enough to have won this in a giveaway Maggie was hosting on Twitter and Tumblr. This was one of my top anticipated reads, since I adored THE CONSPIRACY OF US. It was a flawless debut, and I was eagerly anticipating MAP OF FATES. Sadly, it was a little disappointing.
I finished this last night, and had so many feelings boiling up in me that I had to let it all out to my poor mom and grandma. Then I had to take another 24 hours to really understand just what was missing from this. And it wasn't really a single piece, it was the overall story. There wasn't that spark that I felt in TCOU.
This is where things get a little confusing, since I'm so split down the middle. On one hand, MAP OF FATES wasn't a necessity to the storyline. We could have easily cut out half this book, and smooshed all the important parts into the final book, making it a duology. But, another part of me says that wouldn't have worked because we get a lot of character arc's in here. The biggest one was my love, Stellan. He really shines in this story, which I originally wasn't all that excited for, because I was Team Jack. But then, Hall did the unthinkable and mADE ME CHANGE SIDES. I rarely change teams. Ever. I always stick with my guy. I'm loyal. But... things changed, and Stellan opened up more and showed a sweeter side that we didn't really see before, and I was donezo. DONE FOREVER. There was certain scene with Avery and Stellan in the ocean that was the tipping point. If my mom hadn't been in the house, I would have been screaming my head off in glee.
Now, back to my point. Everything felt a little flat. The writing wasn't as otherworldly and mind consuming, and Avery felt.. off. I can't explain what it was, but she wasn't as present. I did love all the places they went too (India, Paris, London, Greece, and Cannes) and as usual, got a severe case of wanderlust. Hall excels in that department, and I've been struggling not to get depressed over my lack of traveling in the past couple of years (or seeing all my friends in college who are studying abroad right now).
But, MAP OF FATES still had it's fantastic parts as well. Stellan was obviously amazing, and I loved seeing him and Avery get closer. Jack, honestly, just got really annoying as the book progressed. I loved meeting all the other circle members, plus finding more clues to Alexanders tomb. We got even more interesting history on him, and we talked about his mom, Olympias, and it was so fascinating to see how Maggie twisted her story with real historical facts. That's what first intrigued me with TCOU: the fact that this secret society could actually exist today. She weaves the storyline so well that it's a plausible idea. Even my grandpa said that he's heard conspiracy theories about twelve families secretly ruling the world. IT'S SO COOL!
I didn't see any of the twists coming, or the big reveal at the ending, and am really excited to see how Maggie wraps this all up in the final book. It's going to be huge, and I can't wait to see how badass Avery becomes, or what she finally decides to do with her life. Stay in the Circle and become an active member, or spend the rest of her life hiding from them? WE SHALL SEE.

"My eyes flickered involuntarily back to that area. He might as well have a glowing neon sign on his crotch. "Right," I said quickly. "I guess I should have realized that."
Stellan was still grinning. "You Americans are so puritanical. I'm teaching you how to kill someone and you're being a tough little soldier about it, but I mention a mans crotch in a completely nonsexual way and you can't look me in the eye."
"I don't think you've ever said anything in a completely nonsexual way," I retorted.
"Innuendo is all in the interpretation, kuklachka. So that says rather more about your mind than mine, doesn't it?"

"I was surprised at first, but I let it stay. And the three of us sat there, shoulder to shoulder to shoulder, me and these two boys who turned out to be just about all I had left in the world."

"You look great," Jack jumped in again. " I just- it's so... different. I-"
Elodie frowned at him and threw her arm around my shoulders and led me to the front window.
"I hate them," Elodie whispered in my ear. "I've hooked up with both of them, and they were both terrible."
I hiccuped out an appalled laugh.
Elodie made a face. "Okay, that's a lie. It's a compete lie. But I hate them, anyway."
I glanced over my shoulder. "That was the worst pep talk I've ever heard."

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