Conspiracy 365: January is the first in a 12 book series by Gabrielle Lord. On December 31st, Callum Ormund is confronted by a crazy man walking up his street. The man warns him about The Ormund Singularity, that “they” killed Callum’s dad and will come after him in the next 365 days. The crazy man is hauled away by paramedics without answering Callum’s questions. Callum has no idea what the man might have been talking about. He realizes he needs to figure it out after he almost dies that night when his boat is sabotaged. His shady uncle seems to somehow be involved, so he needs to be secretive. Callum is able to dig up some clues left by his dad with the help of his best friend Boges, but soon he is wanted for attempted murder – a crime he did not commit. He has to figure out who is after him, what the “Ormund Singularity” is, find a way to prove his innocence before he is arrested, and stay alive for another 11 months.
This is great idea for a series! A new book is scheduled for release every month this year. The month-named titles will prevent any confusion about what order in which they should be read.
It is a fast, plot-driven read that I think will appeal particularly to younger teen and pre-teen boys. The cover of the book lets you know that you are in for an action movie in book form. Set in Australia, there isn’t too much that would confuse an American reader, but it is never clearly stated that Callum is in Australia, at least as far as I remember. I do wonder if it could feel just a little weird to a reader who is not aware of this. For example, one might mistake the setting of Richmond for the capital of Virginia and wonder why it is warm in January. While there isn’t much character development done up front, the reader does get to know Callum and his family as the story progresses. Not a thing is resolved by the end of the book, but knowing there are 11 books to come in the next year, it won’t leave a reader hanging as much as a regular series would.
The chapters are time stamped, and while I understand the desire to break the book up in to short sections for reluctant readers, it seems unnecessary when a new chapter starts a few minutes after the last one and nothing has changed or happened to necessitate a new chapter. The page numbers count down, instead of up. It is a fun thing to notice, but I don’t really get the point of it. I think a better gimmick would have been to have the page numbers in each book pick up where the previous one left off.
Personally, I did not love it enough to read further in the series, but I plan to get them all for my school library.
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