I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The League of Delphi by Chris Everheart
Series: The Delphi Trilogy #1
Published: 2012 by Yellow Rocket Media
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
View on Goodreads
Zach White is a sixteen-year-old boy who moves back to his hometown of Arcanville after his mother dies. Before her death, Zach’s mom exhibited symptoms similar to schizophrenia. She was always on the run from someone and forced Zach to live under an assumed name, terrified that someone would find out who he was. Zach comes to Arcanville because he wants to understand why his mother became the way she did. Was she crazy, or was someone really after them? Who was she so scared of?
As Zach becomes acclimated with the town, he realizes that something seems off. A local teenager named Sutton kills himself, and everyone in the town acts as if nothing has happened. Even his parents don’t seemed to be phased by it. Then Zach meets Ashley, a girl whom everyone thinks is crazy, and Ashley tells him about a secret government that’s running the town and has connections all the way to ancient Greece.
The League of Delphi strikes me as a sort of Da Vinci Code for teens, aimed particularly at reluctant readers. The chapters are short and manageable, and are rarely more than two pages. The goal seems to be to tell a suspenseful story without making the book itself seem too intimidating.
While I applaud the author’s effort, I did have a few concerns. One of them was that Zach seemed to jump to conclusions a bit faster than he should. For example, he seemed very judgmental of Sutton’s parents, when in real life someone would probably have just assumed that they were pretending to be normal because different people grieve in different ways. There were a lot of times where Zach felt like something was off about the town based on scanty evidence that could have existed in any other town or could have meant something much more benign. Rather than jumping to conclusions that there’s a conspiracy, Zach should have been more skeptical and slowly realized that something was going on based on more than how people reacted to a teenager’s death.
And then there was the relationship between Zach and Ashley. Yes, I wanted them to be together, but there was a little too much insta-love going on, in the sense that Zach went from being shy and nervous to kissing her and saying “I love you” with very little to no development in between. The relationship didn’t seem to organically develop, rather, it suddenly popped into existence. That’s a shame, because one of the things that I liked about Everheart’s writing was the way that he was able to encompass Zach’s nervousness when dating so well. If he could have brought that hesitation into the early stages of the relationship and then slowly realized that being with a girl isn’t *that* scary, it would have made for much better storytelling.
I’m torn on this one. I think that I’d have liked it a lot better if I were its target audience. I read a lot of books, and am very picky about what I do and don’t like, especially when it comes to writing and plot. A reluctant reader doesn’t come into a story with that same baggage, and instead wants something interesting, suspenseful, and easy to follow. The League of Delphi has mystery, conspiracy, and secret societies, all of which are great things, but the book’s execution left me feeling like something was missing.