Read Conspiracies by Mercedes Lackey Rosemary Edghill Online


The second book in the Shadow Grail series by the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill Spirit and her friends Burke, Loch, Muirin, and Addie have managed to defeat the evil force that has been killing students at Oakhurst Academy for the past forty years—or so they think. When a series of magical attacksThe second book in the Shadow Grail series by the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary EdghillSpirit and her friends Burke, Loch, Muirin, and Addie have managed to defeat the evil force that has been killing students at Oakhurst Academy for the past forty years—or so they think. When a series of magical attacks disrupts the school, Doctor Ambrosius calls upon alumnus Mark Rider to secure the campus—and start training the students for war. The only student without magic, Spirit doesn’t trust Mark or his methods. She knows that Oakhurst isn’t safe. And if Spirit and her friends want to live long enough to graduate, they have to find out what is really going on—before it’s too late....

Title : Conspiracies
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765328236
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 342 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Conspiracies Reviews

  • JJ
    2019-03-15 10:40

    I sighed my way through the first book, so I approached the second one with very low expectations. It seems to me the main problem with these books (aside from the fact that they're boring) is that the authors are torn between two fundamental instincts. The first is to make bank off of Harry Potter. The second is an absolute terror of being compared to Harry Potter. The result is a muddled mess that fails to conjure up the world it's supposed to be exploring, but wastes no time planting the image of two authors taking regular breaks from typing to give each other peptalks on how "This is totally nothing like Harry Potter, because we've added Arthurian elements and that makes it LITTERATURE, so step away from the open window and let's add another scene where the characters point out how this is absolutely nothing like Hogwarts." By the time a character is described as "looking exactly like Jensen Ackles from Supernatural", you can practically hear the dull thuds of Edghill whacking her head against her desk in an orgy of self-loathing.I would have much preferred it if Lackey and Edghill gave into their obvious love of the magical boarding school trope and just enjoyed themselves. Instead we get a mess of a book that consists mainly of the main character telling us how boring and awful her life and school is (yes, I can see how being sent to a lush private school that throws parties every few weeks and lets your performance in a magical snowball fight count toward your grade point average is SUCH A CHORE compared to being dumped in fostercare). But my frustration with the main character pales in comparison to the authors' attempt to amp up the Arthurian stuff.Look, I'm not adverse to the idea of reincarnated Arthurian characters. I am, however, one of those people who gets the creeps when a book starts with a twelve-year-old girl enjoying flashbacks to when she, as Isolde, used to sneak away from her husband to enjoy marathon sex-sessions with Tristan. I could also have lived without the girl comparing those memories to a porno she watches with her friends. SQUICK. And she's apparently been having these dreams and memories for "as long as she can remember". DOUBLE SQUICK.Despite this bizarre blip on the plotline, nothing much happens. Oh sure, there are dementors and conspiracies and lot's of "We have to get to the bottom of this!" moments, but they're more like placeholders in between repetitions of the same infodump and ensuing conversation, which goes a little like this:Main Character: We must find out XX!Other Character: Lol, I've been presented with ample proof for XX, but I'm going to call you a conspiracy nut anyway!Main Character: Don't call me a conspiracy nut. This is super important!Other Character: Okay, I guess you're right. So what are we going to do about XX?Main Character: *Convoluted Theory!*Other Character: That's convoluted! BTW isn't it weird how all of our families died in fires or firey crashes?Main Character: It's not convoluted! And we're not talking about the fire stuff until book 4!Other Character: You make a good point! So, what are we going to do?Main Character: Something!Other Character: Good plan!*nothing happens*Basically any time these characters go somewhere or do something, it's just so they can have a new setting in which to have long, limp conversations about maybe possibly doing something at some point.Oh, and also, having your characters point out that this is the whitest book since "The Great Book on White Bread Set Against Snowy Backgrounds" doesn't actually make it any less white.

  • Lexie
    2019-02-26 08:36

    Two things really stood out to me in this second book in the "Shadow Grail" series--Spirit is an overwhelmingly negative person and the combined pop culture knowledge of Lackey and Edghill is staggering. The opening few chapters alone have half a dozen different Star Wars references never mind the movie, comic book and even some anime references spread throughout the rest of the book. To center on Spirit's negativity for a moment; I fully understand and agree with a character who later on validates Spirit's grief and inability to move past that grief. Its been more or less implied by almost every character of importance to Spirit that she can't find closure for her grief so she is instead projecting her need to fill that hole in her life by being useful. The fact that she is right every single time is a bit more irritating. We're not given a real understanding as to why her friends keep rocking back and forth on whether Spirit is crazy delusional or scarily accurate in her fears, its implied that the Oakhurst rings they have to wear have something to do with it, but that's about it. So its frustrating as a reader to hear Spirit try to discuss reasonable fears, with justified reasoning and proof to back it up in some cases, and to have her friends say 'Oh Spirit get over yourself and try not to make everything about you.'. Every. Single. Time. It becomes a predictable pattern as Spirit voices a concern, in increasing measures of urgency, her friends pooh-pooh it at first telling her to calm down, Spirit wonders if she's going insane, something occurs and ta-da! Her friends all come streaming back to apologize. This happens at least three times.So maybe Spirit overall negative attitude is understandable, just doesn't make it easier to read. She expends more energy worried that her friends aren't more worried then she does proactively fighting what has her so afraid. When she finally realizes this its almost too late to actually do very much but contain the situation enough so no one else gets hurts.Meanwhile the book itself jumps around a bit in terms of pacing. Without knowing the particulars of the plotting process I'm left to wonder if they meant for this book to be two separate editions or just didn't realize how much they were trying to pack into the page length. We find out more about the ones who may have been behind the Wild Hunt in the first book, Legacies, as well as the mirror side to that fight. A character, Elizabeth, is introduced mostly as a plot device to explain to Spirit (and her friends) that entire backstory. Between Spirit worrying about her friend's non-worry, her grief, her schoolwork, several mandatory school functions and a budding romance we're introduced to a couple of plot details that I wish had more play time. The fact about the group's rings, the alumni and possibility that things conspired to bring the kids to Oakhurst and the arrival of Mark Rider and his troop of diabolical merry minions.Character development wise a guess I had about two character's feelings in the first book are confirmed, though to the credit of Lackey and Edghill the reveal about the one is handle in a 'And so this is who this person is, doesn't change anything does it?' at least until the Sadie Hawkin's Dance. Spirit also bluntly points out to Muirin, Addie and Burke that they were sheep until her and Loch showed up, in regards to what was going on at the school. While this one didn't bowl me over, it did keep my interest going as to the true nature of Oakhurst and answers to the mysteries therein. With the ending to this book being as explosive as the ending to the first, I certainly hope this means Book 3 will give us a showdown to remember.

  • Juliann Whicker
    2019-03-15 08:40

    I didn't feel like anything really happened. I really liked the first book and I felt let down by the second. Spirit doesn't develop in any interesting way, her relationships feel really superficial, it was as though they were trying to cram in a back story and not really bother with things like making this book a book that could stand on its own in any way. The first book didn't have that kind of problem, so I'm wondering why it felt like one long something interesting almost happened but not quite. The creepy teacher, but she fades out without anything, the reincarnated girl who shows up, then vanishes right when we think she might be interesting, all these little clues and hints about stuff that don't add up to anything. I really want this series to live up to the first book. We'll have to see how it goes. As far as I can tell, the overarcing plot goes something like: Spirit thinks bad things are happening. No one wants to listen to her. Bad things keep happening. No one likes Spirit because she keeps telling them something bad is going to happen. Bad things keep happening. Her friends all decide that what they need to do, is convince whoever is behind these bad things, that they aren't clever or smart enough to figure out anything. They succeed. In spades. Hurray! I'll probably read the next book, but I'm not going to have high expectations for it.

  • Savannah (Books With Bite)
    2019-03-10 05:33

    This book pick up from right where it left on bringing on more trouble in the school. I like how this time around we see Spirit grow up more. She is more kin to her surroundings and is much more careful but also sneaky. Her friends on the other hand, I felt like they betrayed her, especially Loche. He is so different in this book that it scared me. It was like he was a whole new person.The storyline was somewhat boring. Some things happen but it pretty much was just filled in with drama from the friends, teachers, etc. It didn't get exciting till the part of the new student Elizabeth who brings a whole new element to the book. And I must say, it was a nice surprise. I really like how they incorporated an old tale in the future of these students. It really brought the story of Spirit and her friends to a whole new level.The love interest in this book was good. I like it when characters take their time getting to know one another, It makes it much more intimate to read. I love seeing Spirit happy and worry free of what was going on in the school. I also like to see Spirit just happy for once. She deserves it.Conspiracies laid down the foundation for a whole new side of the book but brings so much more to the table. The book is filled with more secrets, betrayals, and great twist I even enjoyed! I am looking forward to see what happen to Spirit and her friend in the next book!

  • Sandra Pulliam
    2019-03-23 06:35

    Once again I am loving this series! From page one I could not put this book down. I love Spirit and Loch but Murr-cat she is pretty awesome too! There is so much mystery and things I still can't figure out but not in a frustrating way. I'm left smiling at the end and not feeling like I'm left hanging. I can't wait for book three, hopefully a lot of the gangs questions will be answered. I still don't know who is really the bad guy. I think I know but again brilliant writing that leaves me super excited for the next chapters!

  • Kathy Davie
    2019-03-02 05:35

    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 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 StoryIn 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 CharactersSpirit 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 CoverThe 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.

  • Vanessa
    2019-03-03 11:42

    This book was a lot like the first. It also had too much going on and was confusing. The plot was actually pretty good, if a bit confusing. But there were so many plot holes! So many things didn't make sense, and things that Spirit should have easily concluded or wondered about were never even mentioned. It was a good story, but I wanted to slap the main character for most of the book.

  • Natasha
    2019-03-04 09:27

    Having two authors gets confusing if you don’t have an editor that cares/is paying attention enough to spot plot holes or discrepancies. Like, there were parts of the book that were like “not EVERYONE at Oakhurst is an orphan” and then there was others that were like “everyone at Oakhurst is an orphan” and it just…. was confusing at points. And sometimes things are repeated with weird…ness. Just weirdness.Also so much for being able to pretend the cast isn’t super white, because the kids make a point that almost everyone at Oakhurst is white (when they are trying to determine who was behind the Wild Hunt issue in the last book) and it was ALSO super annoying b/c they were like “it would have to be someone descended from England” and uhm, hello? There are PoC in England and have been??? It was super annoying and bothered me.Otherwise yay awkward character development (awkward in a good way b/c the situation was awkward) and y’know how I was like “Oh there’s gotta be a Fire magic person to join the group” There almost WAS but then she got… disappeared off??? (Spirit assumes killed b/c she has major mourning cynicism going on still which is ok, but I’m more hopeful. Then again, so many nameless kids died in this book.) And she’s the one who introduces the whole Arthurian legend thing. (BTW I totally missed the Arthurian legend link, the whole “reincarnates of mythological characters” thing. I love that plot idea though so pleasant surprise for me.) They also go see the school therapist to talk about the new attacks and it gives Spirit a chance to process some of her grief, or at least get what seems to be accurate and pretty damn good psychological advice from the guy.Oakhurst gets shadier in this book, with alumni outright being the Bad Guys and I feel for Spirit not knowing who she can and can’t trust. I don’t like that plot, where like, you just know someone is going to betray her and I loathe betrayal. It seems obvious to me that Oakhurst is set up as the “evil force” of this magical world. Like, if Lord Voldemort set up his own wizarding school in opposition of Hogwarts. (More like if he set up a secondary school like university or college and recruited people from Hogwarts once they graduated.)At the same time, I feel like Dr. Ambrosius isn’t really evil? Like by some magical means he’s being tricked or mind addled or impersonated or something. Like he didn’t mean to set up this school that way, but its become that over the years and he’s being trapped or manipulated somehow.The ending was idk. Burke and Spirit kiss and “go steady” and first of all wtf “go steady”and at the same time awwwwe melty, fluttery, teen romance!!! Also about midway through Loch comes out as gay to Spirit and admits he has a “crush” on a boy, but doesn’t say who and I’m like “Please don’t be Burke b/c everyone having a crush on Burke is just too easy and ridiculous.” (Burke’s like Tuxedo Mask that way though. I bet everyone in Spirit’s friend group has a crush on him. omg I hope in the next book, in a fight scene, he throws a flower or something. I would be so happy.)

  • Lianne Burwell
    2019-03-23 06:22

    Recently, I've been on a kick of rereading early Mercedes Lackey Valdemar novels. That made this book interesting to look at. On the one hand, her writing skills have definitely improved over the years. On the other hand, this book had a certain amount of plot-by numbers to it.In the first book, Spirit White was orphaned, and sent to an Orphanage/Private School that her parents were apparently students at. The school turned out to be for magicians, but she doesn't have any magic, or if she does, it's well buried. There, she is told that there is a magical war coming, and the students are being prepared. Spirit makes friends, who are all mysteriously orphaned, and find themselves fighting the Wild Hunt, which appears to have been stealing students for decades. Students who are marked in the basement archives as 'tithed'.Now it's Christmas, and even though her friends are ready to leave everything to the school again, Spirit isn't convinced. Someone inside the school must have let the Wild Hunt through the magical defences. But her friends tell her that she's just looking for a way to feel special. Then there's another attack at New Year's, and they're back on side. Except that when school alumni show up to train them, they turn away from Spirit again, even though earlier attackers were wearing alumni rings, only to swing back to her when there's further problems.With friends like this, who needs enemies?In the end, the immediate problem is faced, more hints of the overall story are revealed, and yet, it was somewhat unsatisfying. Mainly, I got annoyed with the seesawing of the friends (even if there are hints that they are being manipulated by magic, and Spirit's non-magic makes her immune). There's a character who gets introduced to reveal one bit of information, the promptly disappears again. I'll be annoyed if she doesn't appear in one of the remaining two books in the series (the ad at the back of the book says the series will be 4 volumes, but the next book is not on the publishing schedule yet).While the book is a young adult, I get the feeling that the authors underestimated their readers. Other than Spirit, you only get to see in one other character's head (the one that disappeared). None of the friends really come across with a personality, including the one who goes through his own tragedy in this book. The bad guys were far too obvious (they almost are wearing signs saying 'I am a bad guy', and Spirit is the only one who sees it until one actually spills the beans while getting drunk with a teenaged girl). I would have liked a bit more character development and a lot more story depth.But maybe we'll get that in the remaining books. Besides, even a bad Mercedes Lackey book tends to be a fun read, even if it's mainly fluff.

  • Colleen
    2019-03-11 11:32

    BOOK #1 SPOILERS AHEADNow I think I know why Tom Dolby's The Secret series is so underwhelming ... Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill are doing a much, much better job with a similar storyline. I'm very happy that the world-building and character development wordiness of Legacies (book #1 in the Shadow Grail series) was just a set-up so that the action can come fast and furious in subsequent novels.Because you are already entrenched in the world of Oakhurst Academy and its well developed characters, only cursory recaps are necessary to refresh the memory and move forward with discovering the secrets behind the history and staff. Is Oakhurst a benevolent group helping magic endowed orphans or is there something more sinister in their desire to recruit, train, and develop these young magicians' talents.Spirit White and her for friends, Loch, Addie, Muirin and Burke start investigating Oakhurst's and the property's history, including the enormous and mysterious oak tree around which the main hall seems to be built and whether Doctor Ambrosius is friend or foe. Despite triumphing over The Wild Hunt, Spirit and the gang know that whoever allowed them onto the property is still on campus and may/may not also be behind the Fear Inducing Power Outage at the Sadie Hawkins dance.Spirit also meets the new girl Elizabeth, who believes herself and other Oakhurst students to be reincarnations of people from Arthurian legend -- although she's not sure who is who yet. Is Elizabeth insane or has she stumbled upon another clue to the secret of what's happening at Oakhurst?I'm a little disappointed that Spirit still hasn't discovered her magical abilities and that her relationship with Burke has really progressed. However, I'm heartened to learn that this series is intended as a quartet so that assuming her powers manifest quickly in Book #3, Spirit will have time to learn how to use them. I'm also interested to see how the Arthurian aspect plays out.It's not a perfect YA series, but I am enjoying it and look forward to discovering what the future holds for these characters.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-25 11:28

    Better than the first, but still falls short of its potential.This series disappoints me, yet at the same time part of me can't give up hope that it will get better. The good stuff that is there is really good, it just gets overshadowed by the not-so-good.More questions get answered, but the way it gets done it almost seems as if the authors didn't know what to do and just decided throw something in and see if it sticks.While the Wild Hunt and King Arthur is cool and the mythology fits, in some way it doesn't fit right in the story. I'm not sure why, it just doesn't feel right.I think in some ways this series is trying to be over ambitious. It's a young adult series and it's about a bunch of teenagers, yet a lot of the story would be so much better if it was written as an adult series. There is a lot more action in this story than the first- it doesn't wait until the last few pages for something to finally happen.I think the thing I disliked the most about this book was Elizabeth's character. She's probably one of the most important characters in this book (and series thus far), in some ways even more so than Spirit, the main character, yet her part is downplayed and she is gotten rid of halfway through the book. I'm sure she'll probably be brought back in some way in a later book, but I think the handling of this character was very poorly done.All in all, the series is mildly enjoyable and I'll probably continue reading it as the next books come out (although right now there is zero information on when the third book will be out), but it's not really worth owning, and I'm not even entirely sure I would recommend it to someone.Disappointing, because it has a lot of potential.

  • Soma Rostam
    2019-03-07 05:32

    I love co-authored books. It is always fun to figure out which author wrote which part. But sometimes, like this book, the writing is so in harmony that you can never figure it out. Which points to the authors' unique writing style.Minor spoilers if you have not read Legacies (my review here)... Spirit White has survived the Wild Hunt with her friends. But the enemies of Oakhurst academy have much more in mind. Suddenly,students are being taken away again. There is a cold, raw fear circling through the academy whenever all the students are in the same room. New teachers arrive and insure them that they will bring safety. Her friends are slipping further away and her heart is torn between Loch and Burke. What will happen in Spirit's not-so-perfect life? Find out when you read this imaginative, captivating novel, Conspiracies... I loved this. Legacies was a very adventurous and mysterious read, this was even more so. Many new things happen in the creepy academy and we see a whole new side to the characters. Spirit's struggles are believable. she is cautious, curious, and she doesn't fit in. Easy to relate to. The pack of secondary characters are well though-out and very easy to relate to, too. The love interests are both great, sweet guys. I couldn't pick a side, until.... There are some huge twists in this book that you will definitely not expect. Every time I tried to go with the flow, another twist was thrown in, and I was swept off my feet again. Conspiracies will not bore you! Not even one page will pass without something important and valuable that adds to the story. I cannot wait to read the third book! Recommended to everyone who likes some fantasy!

  • Julia
    2019-03-11 05:28

    I didn't see these books on the new books shelf in the library when they came out, and found them recently in the YA section after seeing on GR that Mercedes Lackey had written a series that I didn't know about. (I guess YA has its own new book section, which I haven't been looking at.) I wasn't missing much.Although the books (this is for #1 and #2, haven't read the third one yet) are written well enough that I kept going, they don't work well enough to suspend disbelief. There are major plot holes (view spoiler)[, starting with the premise that although something has been going wrong for at least thirty years, when Oakhurst was founded, no one has realized it or tried to fight back until Spirit White (the main character) comes on the scene.The book is mostly about Spirit and her group of friends. Periodically the authors put in something about how the PTB try to encourage competition and break up friendships, but when Burke asks Spirit to go steady no one comments on how that just isn't done. If students have to hide friendships, what would happen to a romantically linked couple?Elizabeth Walker is an interesting and likeable character, but she is written out of the story as soon as she has shared the information that enables the plot to move forward. (hide spoiler)]The characters are generally whiny. Spirit is upset because no one believes her even though she is obviously right. The other characters whine about Spirit not relaxing. The teachers seem interchangeable - I couldn't remember who was who.I will go on to read the next book in the series, but only because I read quickly and want to know how the ultimate mystery is resolved, not because of real excitement.

  • Nara
    2019-03-14 09:38

    Granted I haven't yet finished this book. I will, but as a second installment this is grinding along at a tedious pace. It feels like the same things are happening 17 different ways and the five central characters fade in and out of awareness that they are in danger, that there is an unidentified threat, and students are still disappearing and seemingly no-one is alarmed, curious, or in any way concerned beyond "oh, well, they're dead now I suppose".I am unsure whether this will be "revealed" later to have been part of a distraction spell or some such, but it makes for unrealistic reading, and I haven't built up any empathy for any of these characters. Any of them. 1 and 3/4 books in, I can't say that I know who any of these kids are.There's a lacklustre romantic subplot that is picked up and put down at random and with no substance to engender any interest. No wonder nothing happens in this story. Everyone is so scattered, and incapable of remembering or connecting anything that happens, that it seems that every few pages we get a paragraphs-long recap that reads something like "oh dear, no one believes me that there is something happening. Oh - a dance, I have to dress up. How distracting. Why is everyone so distracted and no one believes me that there is something happening. Oh, it's dinner time and I have an email with my class schedule on it. Oh, email. We can't email the outside world. I wish I could so I could tell someone that something is happening."

  • Shiloh
    2019-03-17 04:22

    After defeating the Wild Hunt in the last book, Spirit and her friends are now trying to figure out who at Oakhurst is trying to kill them. It seems that they're caught in the middle of an ongoing battle between reincarnated Mordred and Arthur, with no idea who is on which side or which reincarnations might appear. Meanwhile, a group of Oakhurst alumni are on campus, probably with nefarious purposes, and they might also be mixed up with the Arthurian battle.As is unfortunately true of most middle-of-the-series books, this one was weak. Too much of it was given over to the aftermath of Spirit and friends' defeat of the Wild Hunt, and too much of it was concerned with building up to the attack on the students at Imbolc. Lackey and Edgehill introduced a new character, Elizabeth, who is the reincarnation of Isolde, but she's barely utilized in this book despite being far more interesting than anything happening with Spirit and Co. Quite a bit is left open for the next (last?) book, despite not much happening in this book. The connections between LEGACIES and CONSPIRACIES are weak at best, as though LEGACIES could have been stand-alone but they chose to continue the series.Also, for a book about a school for magicians, there's surprisingly little magic at play here, at least until the very end.

  • Matthew
    2019-03-12 05:44

    Christ on a Macbook, that was...something. A quick read, for one thing. Somehow, though, this felt more depressing than the first book. Maybe it's the school. It feels like Brakebills, the school from The Magicians, if it sucked in every way possible (i.e., it's in Montana, all the students' entertainment options are severely restricted to only things that suck, and people frequently disappear to an unknown fate). I felt that the restrictions were more emphasized in this book, which may have made things feel worse.As for the plot, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Five Man/Woman Band at the heart of the series has something to do with Arthurian legend, and they're all reborn Arthurian figures. I'm just not sure which ones they are. I think one of them is Galahad, but I'm not sure about that, so don't quote me. Still, outside of the immediate plotline, the plot seems fairly impenetrable to me. Maybe I'm just not getting it.Still, an interesting read, and I will be waiting for the next book in the series.ETA: Also too, the cover art was better, IMHO, than the last one. That is all.

  • Annie Ericksen
    2019-03-01 07:15

    When I first began this book I was tempted to put it down. I got so tired and annoyed by how paranoid Spirit was and how bipolar her friends where acting. Luckily it got better and then I was glad that I hadn't given up on it. I liked the story line and the idea of it being Arthurian. I don't really get the romance and don't think Spirit and Burke have much chemistry. I thought that it was interesting that it made it seem that Spirit would end up with loch but that he ended up being gay. I thought that was quite the twist on what I was expecting to be a nauseating and incredibly stupid love triangle. I think the only side character that I liked the whole of the book was Addie. I liked the addition of Elizabeth walker and can't wait to hopefully find out what happened to her. A lot of this book kinda felt repetitive but I guess if your friends don't believe you then your probably going to bring it up a lot. The book is called conspiracies so I probably should have expected how paranoid Spirit was but I though it was a bit over kill. Other than that this was a good book and I look forward to reading the next one

  • Teresa
    2019-03-08 04:31

    4 Stars *** No spoilers were harmed in the writing of this review *** While I must admit this book did suffer somewhat from the middle book syndrome of feeling like a "bridge" book (bridging the story line from book one to book three) I enjoyed Conspiracies quite a bit more then I did the first book, Legacies. Even though there is less action, the characters are more fleshed out and the plot feels more cohesive.Conspiracies starts right where Legacies left off.The suspense is building and the mysteries are deepening. The eerie feelings our heroine, Spirit, is experiencing are taking there toll. Emotions are running high and relationships seem to be fraying. Spirit knows something bad is happening and it is getting worse, but no one else seems to care or even notice. The shadows are gathering but Spirit has no idea how to stop them. Being a long time fan of Ms. Lackey, I really, really wanted to like this series. And I did, I liked the first book of this series and I thought this book was even better. Starting the 3rd book tomorrow.

  • Erica
    2019-03-12 08:19

    Anyone else feel like Spirit is the Thelma in this Scooby Doo crew? While this book didn't resolve much, I felt like it at least moved in the direction of answering questions left over from book one. Spirit can get a bit annoying (although it hasn't even been a year since her family died and she learned about magic, so, she probably has every right to have breakdowns) but otherwise this book seems to be building off of book one for books three and four. We do learn a bit more about the rings, about the nearby town, and about the 'war'. That said, there is still a lot to learn about the tree, the school and professors, and perhaps even more importantly, about Spirit's magical abilities. My biggest pet peeve would have to be the sheer simplicity that the baddies seem to have in offing students and the rest of the student body simply accepting the disappearances. For supposed super-powered mages, these students don't seem to be particularly smart. Maybe not all that re-readable, but still not a bad way to while away a few hours.

  • Regina
    2019-03-10 08:16

    so ive been having this one on my shelf forever but never got to it but i finally buckled down the last few days to finish it. i liked it but i didnt love it like the way i hoped i would. the second book does feel darker and the whole Loch thing blindsided me because i didnt expect it but hey that was a way to end a love triangle in the making right? well its not that i mind but i feel as confused as Spirit as to what the hell is going on most of the time. i wish the action was not so slow because i found myself skimming through the boring parts. overall it was a solid sequel with new secrets popping up right and left to make me curious but at the same time i felt like i was kept in the dark too much and it frustrated me . i liked most of the main characters and Spirit is pretty strong in her own way as a female lead but the male leads kinda bore me. I think this is gonna be a four book series so i look forward to the next installment. i wonder when it would come out though since i dont see a planned release date.

  • David Fournier
    2019-03-07 03:32

    I was disappointed with this 2nd installment of the series. All the characters are one dimensional (except for the main character Spirit), throughout the book until the last two chapters. It makes it hard to care what happens to them and weakens the any impact that the main character might provide to the story. And once again the author has ended the story without saying or hint at what ability(ies) that Spirit (the main character) may have.Also, throughout most of the book it's the old saying "With friends like these, who needs enemies." One of the main things I've also noticed is that Spirit's friends don't seem to care about anything (even that someone my be trying to kill them), until the author finally realizes that this indifference is hurting the story, and then we get some activity.So far, my recommendation is that this might be good if you don't have anything else to do or read.

  • Terri
    2019-03-20 08:28

    The second book in the Shadow Grail series was just as entertaining is the first! Looks like I have another series to follow - generally, if Mercedes Lackey authors or co-authors something, I am hooked before I start! Even though the protagonist and central characters are teenagers (and i am not!), they do not come across as either stereotypical or overly childish. One of the many reasons I enoyed this book is Lackey's and Edgehill's understanding that "group think" and "safety over truth" are philosophies of defeat. I am a rugged individualist and enjoy characters who don't seek to "fit in" to a pre-designed structure. I have always been a proponent of "doing what is right instead of what is easy" (to quote Albus Dumbledore) - young adult ficton that exemplifies this theme always stikes a chord with me!

  • Libby Ames
    2019-03-24 10:27

    Reading this second book of the Shadow Grail Series, I realized its weakness and why it does appeal to me as much as some of Lackey's others. This is her first attempt at a young adult series and I don't think she gives teenage readers enough credit. Trying to compensate for what Lackey expects to be less astute readers, her characterization and plot building becomes less subtle. After hearing no less than ten times that Oakhurst tries to placate their students with food and parties, I felt offended as a reader.The overall plot is a little recycled, but I can see the draw for a teenage audience. However, for her future books I hope Lackey will credit teenagers with the intellect I know they have. The writing doesn't have to be so spelled out. By this age, teenagers can deal with subtlety in their reading. I may or may not continue with this series. Still undecided.

  • Courtney Phillipson
    2019-03-09 04:26

    Let's just say that I sort of anticipated Loch to be gay. I thought he was either going to be a bad guy or gay. I must say I am very happy that he is the latter. This was a great book. I enjoyed it a lot. I am mind blown due to the fight during the dance. However, I would think that they wouldn't need to have built a fire to make fire. I mean couldn't one of the fire mages have just conjured up some fire and threw massive fire balls at the Shadow Knights? I don't know, but this was amazing. I loved how Dylan took charge. (: I am very excited that Spirit and Burke are going out. I totally expected that one. (: I think that Burke is an awesome character. Now, since this have major spoilers I am going to have to hide this review. Haha, I usually don't do that. But i just loved this book. I started the third book today and I LOVE it (: Again, I love all the Harry Potter references. (:

  • William Bentrim
    2019-02-25 03:31

    This is most definitely a YA book. That is not to disparage it but a caution that it may be a bit juvenile and if that turns you off , you should be aware of that fact. Spirit White is still magic-less at a pseudo Hogwarts Academy that appears to be infiltrated by the bad guys. The story is as much a relationship story between friends as a urban fantasy. The core group of Spirit's friends are impacted by the arrival of alumni claiming to be there to protect the students from the forces of evil. The identity of the forces of evil seem to be tied all the way back to the legend of Arthur and Merlin. There are some confrontations and very mild violence but there are deaths. The story is more captivating than the first book in the series. I recommend the book.

  • Samuel Lubell
    2019-02-25 07:30

    This second book in the Shadow Grail series deepens the mysteries set up in the first and explain some of the links to King Arthur, although once the students start to see the Arthurian connection, I kept waiting for someone to make the obvious connection that their headmaster is Doctor Ambrosius. Too much of the book is spent with all the characters, save Spirit, in denial about what is happening and the characters are too ready to accept the alumni organization called in to save the school when they know that their attackers are alumni of the school (because they were wearing the rings to get through the magical security when they attacked). Still, there are interesting elements of horror here and linking to the Tristan legends was a nice touch.

  • Joy
    2019-02-24 07:36

    I'm already on #3 and really hooked on the mystery. That 1984 is often quoted gives you an idea of the situation and dynamics of the action in this story. It includes all the elements most young people often fear. To be orphaned and forced to live in a super-regimented, highly competitive school where you have no options to runaway, to find you a great evil is at work killing your fellow students and to be unable to tell the good guys from the bad so trust and friendship is always in question.I originally gave the first book only 3 stars but now I realize it was mild because it was only setting up the foundation of this "Scooby Gang" of young magicians who are up against major powers of destruction, but who it it?

  • Katy
    2019-03-18 07:36

    The tension is ratcheting up in this book. The antagonists attempt to break Spirit's friendships, and come close to succeeding.I knew they were in trouble when the Dementors showed up. (Except in this universe, they're not Dementors, they're a cabal of evil Blizzard employees.)I had my suspicions of ties to Arthurian legend back in book 1, when the headmaster was introduced. Naming him Ambrosious is anything but subtle.Liking this better than some other similar books (I'm looking at you, The Magicians), both because of more sympathetic protagonists, but also because I think I have a reasonable expectation of an eventual happy ending. The characterization is not complex... but the journey is definitely entertaining.

  • Michelle Graf
    2019-03-18 04:20

    I definately want to read the next book. I could feel for each of the characters, and it made sure I wouldn't want to go to Oakhurst. I'm also glad that I finally found out why the series is called Shadow Grail. The one problem is that the ending is sort of choppy. I won't give away anything, but just like the first book, the authors built up to an amazing conclusion, and then it comes... and then it's gone too soon. I was left with far too many questions at the end, and little resolution. I also didn't like the cover, trivial as it is. But the rest of the book won me over,so I'll stay to the end.

  • Douglas Larson
    2019-02-28 04:24

    The second book in the Shadow Grail series, this isn't quite as good as the first one. This story drags a bit though I found the ending more satisfying than the ending to book 1. I don't know how many sequels the author has planned but I believe there will be at least one more. The protangonist, Spirit White, I find believable and interesting as she tries to understand the loss of her family, remember details of that terrible night when it all started, fit into a new school for magicians, and discover what her own magic is (which to date, has not made itself known). Mercedes Lackey is quite the voluminous author though I have not read any of her other books.