Author: Lea Nolan
Genre: YA, Fantasy
See it at Goodreads
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 intrigued me beyond my expectations. I enjoyed it. There are curses, magic, treasure, and romance. There’s also nasty pirates--not like my favorite pirates from Pirates of the Caribbean--that pretty much helped kick-start the curses. Hoodoo magic? I honestly don’t know much about it, but I did love the premise of this book, and it was interesting to read about this ancient practice. I wanted something refreshing. A new take on magic and adventure, and Conjure gave me just that.
This was another read with a brother-sister duo. Seems I’ve picked up a few of these lately. I guess the whole sibling thing is getting quite popular, huh? I’m not complaining a bit. I like sibling relationships in books, just as much as I do with parent relationships. Though I had some issues with Conjure. Emma and Jack are twins. They are completely opposite, I get it, but I didn’t always feel it when it came to their sibling relationship. In fact, he often treated her more like a baby sister, rather than the same age. At times, he was even a bit cruel…belittling her when she was trying to help, acting immature and childish when she needed his help, etc. I understand he was going through rough times, but I felt he was being unnecessarily selfish.
Speaking of the characters as well, I often forgot they were fifteen. They came across as older. While I like that in reading, I had to remind myself a few times they were younger characters than I’m used to reading most of the time. Cooper was awesome though. Loyal to both best friend and the crush/other best friend. They’d all grown up together through the years, spending every summer together. Except something changed during this summer. He was seeing Emma in a different kind of light, and she was too. The development in their feelings was slow but realistic, and I enjoyed seeing the growth of them.
I didn’t like Maggie much. I found her character in the beginning too predictable. Once she appeared and the couple of strange events happened, I guessed the ending just like that. It made me sad to know it so quickly. But the book is such a page-turner, and of course, I continued to read just to make sure I was right.
While I enjoyed the story entirely and found it to be refreshing in the genre, I did find it a bit predictable in places. Maybe it’s just me. I tend to guess twists quite easily, so it’s hard to surprise me. The romance was light and fluffy, but not cheesy. In fact, I found it a bit dragging at times, and would sit there and wish her and Coop would just admit it already. Ha!
I read through this one with speed because I couldn’t put it down. I just kept wanting to find out what was going to happen next, and I grew attached to the characters as the story progressed. The rich details will pull a reader right along into the setting and events, and you’ll find your imagination running wild. It definitely sets up for a sequel, and I hope to see one. There are more things to do, more mysteries to solve, and magic to create. I want to read more, and soon.
What I liked best is that we don’t see many stories like this in the genre. Angels and demons and vampires do not abound in this one (though there are hellhounds!). So, if you’re looking for something new, entertaining, and full of magical goodness, this one is for you.