Friday, March 14, 2014
Me on Elusion
Author: Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)
A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications or consequences of real life. Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father's unexpected death, Regan can't bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality. Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion, accusations that it's addictive and dangerous, Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty, a decision that will affect the lives of millions.
Elusion is a look at one girl's world of illusions and secrets as she struggles to find bother her father and the truth in a world dark and decaying. A peaceful and magical world instead of a reality with acid rain and constant dust in the air? Who would say no? But nothing is perfect.
I went into this book under the impression that Regan started off angry about her father's death and hating Elusion, but she's not and she doesn't. She is sad, but it's an unfortunate mix of sad and bland. She's upset over his death and life seems bleak, but she won't escape into Elusion because the end result would always be her returning to reality. And so she exists, giving her barely any personality. I wanted some emotion out of her in those first few pages. The only thing that gets her going is her father, is talk of her father, is any negative talk concerning him and his work.
The love triangle aspect, which I'm rarely a fan of, felt problematic. Patrick's been a friend of Regan for years, and making him a possible love interest seems too convenient. Couldn't he have just stayed a friend that over the book turned secretive and potentially evil (potentially because this is only the first book in the trilogy)? There's some chemistry between Regan and Josh, but I question her interest in him because he's new and different. Of course, Regan has a hard time being interested in anything beyond her father and going after anyone who attempts to sully his name, so I'm putting it mostly on her.
Thoreau's Walden is rather important to the story, to Regan's search for her father. It's the result of Thoreau's time in the wilderness, getting back to nature and leaving the buzz of the city. He preaches living deliberately and mourns what our souls have lost because of modernity. What a curious book for Regan's father, a man of technology who creates a completely false world, to hold dear.
The world of Elusion is intriguing, a take on virtual reality with actual limitations. It's beyond 'enter this magical world where everything can be perfect.' There are time limits, there are aftereffects on both the min and body. There are consequences, which is good.
I'll admit that how Elusion comes across in the book isn't what I expected. I thought it would be more that Regan was never sure if she was in or out, if it was more about differentiating between reality and illusion. The mystery behind Elusion was interesting, and I'm curious as to how the trilogy will progress given the ending, but it fell short of what I expected because of Regan's lackluster personality.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from HarperCollins Canada.)