Today on WinterHaven Books we have the lovely Sarah Beth Durst with us! She has kindly answered a few of our questions!! We also have a chance for our readers to win an ARC of Conjured!
Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
Released- Sept 3rd 2013
Pre-Order-Amazon / B & N / Chapters
Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.My Thoughts:
I've been a big fan of Sarah Beth Durst since her debut novel, Ice. Since then, I always look forward to anything this women writes. Her stories are always so full of life, bursting with imagination and cunning creativity and always so much fun to lose myself within these pages. Once again, Durst brings out the larger then life quality she pours into her books, with her newest novel, Conjured. Only, this time she took it one step further, bringing in an animated cast and story line fit for a magical mystery and whimsical journey of self-discover, power and truth.
To be honest, this story line is very different then anything I've read from Durst before. I've read magic in books before, but the way this was delivered was unusually unique, unpredictably strange and evasively written. Some may say that this was confusing and even frustrating, and well, they'd be right, and yet I still found myself mesmerized by this odd little book with even odder characters. But I figured out something while reading. I think that this book isn't meant to be read from just Eve's point of view, but actually read through her. Once I got that mind-set, It was easier to be invested with Eve's story right till the very end and appreciate Durst vivid vision and delicious dedication to making this book standout in a creepy, crafty and clever way.
This plot is more then a typical story about a girl named Eve who has no memories. She's lost and broken in every way possible. All Eve knows at this point is that she has a new face and a new body and that she's been in the witness protection program for months, hiding from someone or something. She knows that Malcolm is kind and considerate and that 'Aunt' Nicki thinks she's a waste of perfectly good space. She knows that she can't remember and has to be taught the basics of everyday functions; objects, places and people. She also loses time and has problems with her short term memory. When she does finally remember something it's in the form of flashes of unhinged visions of an eerie carnival, a story-teller and a madman, that is followed every time she does something magical. Magic, yes, Eve can do magic, but she doesn't know why or how.
Ever inch of this book is covered with questions and I constantly felt like I was missing something. The dialog read like I was already in the middle of whole conversations but not understanding the whole picture, back and forth banter, punch lines or the inside jokes. There were gaps of time that skips and jumps ahead which made this feel very disconnecting and peculiar, but still bizarrely intriguing. We are meant to be frustrated and confused right along with Eve. We are meant to learn with her. Eve seems to be the missing link. She's the answers to everything. The case, Zach, Aidan and even the deranged killer, but her own answers turned out to be very different and when we get to those revelations, everything about this odd little book will just click beautifully and disturbingly into place.
I really enjoyed all of these characters. They were all eccentric and wonderfully weird in their own ways.
Eve is a child-like character that felt like she was in pieces throughout the entire story. Twisted and tormented by the horrific and strange visions that don't make any real sense, but it's the only thing real that she has. She doesn't know who she can trust or believe in and who is really out to help her or harm her. She's sweet and gentle and kind, but she's also determined and brave. Her story is a a sad one and my heart goes out to her.
Zach is a very random and boldly honest character who is very intense and passionate. He doesn't lie and later we find out why. The connection he has with Eve doesn't have any rhyme or reason to it. It just is. They give a whole new meaning to magical kisses and breathing each other in. They give us a reason to believe and hope and they made me smile.
Malcolm was one of my favorite characters. He greatly cared about what happened to Eve and it showed with every kind gesture.
Aidan was more a means to an end, but he played his part well and brought in conflicting emotions that stirred the story line perfectly.
All in all, I had a lot of fun with this book. It's dark and twisted and It bends your mind and makes you believe in the impossible. It takes fantasy into that unknown dimension where everything and anything can happen. It's the stuff that makes Durst books great. She's not afraid to be daring and different and it shows with this extraordinary novel. Conjured is an entertaining and engaging escape fit for fans who like their books a little above abnormal but still just as amazing and fantastical as we come to expect from this wonderful talent. I look forward to seeing what Durst has in store for us next. Bravo!
Find the author:
Goodreads / Website 4 Snowflakes
Interview with Sarah Beth Durst
Find the author:
Goodreads / Website 4 Snowflakes
About this author
Sarah Beth Durst is the author of Vessel, Drink, Slay, Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. Her next book for teens, Conjured, comes out in September 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker. Her first book for adults, The Lost, comes out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira. She has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old and holds an English degree from Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children. For more information, visit her at www.sarahbethdurst.com.
Interview with Sarah Beth Durst
1) Your books are always filled with great imagination. Is there something that inspires you to create such compelling characters in a fantastical setting?
Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Seriously, what inspires me is a desire for magic. That's why I read and that's why I write. I want that feeling of being transported into another life, another world, and taken on a journey -- and then brought back again, perhaps slightly changed.
2) You've already tackled fairy tales, paranormal, magic and fantasy genre's, could you see yourself writing contemporary, horror or sci-fi?
No, sort of, and yes.
I don't think I could ever write contemporary because that's not how my brain works. If a character opens a closet door, I automatically assume there's a portal or a monster or at least a talking dust-bunny in there.
As for horror... CONJURED isn't horror, but it is the creepiest novel I've ever written, by far. There were times while writing when I refused to go in the basement after dark. Not that my basement has anything to do with girls with amnesia, creepy carnivals, or magic-wielding serial killers. But better safe than sorry.
As for science fiction... I don't have any immediate plans to write SF, but I do love it and might someday.
3) Do you have a favorite book or character among your novels and which was the easiest to write?
I can't choose a favorite book! I'd hurt their feelings.
But I can say that DRINK, SLAY, LOVE was the easiest to write. DRINK, SLAY, LOVE is about a vampire girl who is stabbed through the heart by a were-unicorn. She's evil, and it was so much fun. Essentially, all I had to do to write Pearl was think about what I'd never do or say -- and have her do and say that! I highly recommend writing evil characters.
4) All your books are stand-alone. Did you ever want to write a series or maybe add a sequel to one of the books already established?
I love both standalones and series. There's something really gratifying about wrapping up a story in a single volume, and there's also something wonderful about not having to say goodbye to characters at the end.
I am currently working on a trilogy for Harlequin/Mira -- the first book (THE LOST) will be out in June 2014. And I am also working on another YA standalone that will be out from Bloomsbury/Walker in fall 2014.
5) Being a huge fan of your books, I got to know. What do you have planned next?
See above. :)
I actually will have three books out next year: THE LOST (June 2014), MIND OVER MAGIC (fall 2014), and THE MISSING (Dec 2014).
Thanks Sarah for being on the blog today to answer some of our questions!!
If you would like to win an Arc copy of Sarah Beth Durst new novel, Conjured, then just enter the contest below. US/Canada only. Good luck!