Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Me on Illusionarium

Title: Illusionarium
Author: Heather Dixon
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow (HarperCollins imprint)

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path.

Illusionarium is magical and mysterious, a journey to a new and dangerous world, one Jonathan might not be able to escape.

Jonathan is a clever young man with good intentions. It's clear that he's never faced danger like this before in his life, the dangers he face in the illusions. He has a very strong sense of right and wrong. He's consistently shocked when someone does something 'wrong' and they aren't apologetic, unused to people without morals, people who act on their own best interest as opposed to acting in order to help others. At times he can be sarcastic and witty, some amusing quips are thrown at certain characters when they're being jerks to him. It lightens the mood at times.

There's some very lush world building going on in this book. First comes Jonathan's world with its aerial cities and airships, the country taking its name from Arthurian legend. Then comes the new world, the world filled with impossible illusions, imaginative illusionists, dangerous foes and almost zero allies. It's a place where Jonathan must stay awake and be light on his feet if he wants to return home.

It took me a little while to get into the story, I kept wondering who the villain was and what Jonathan's motivation was. There was a time or two that, because of the illusions, I was confused as to what was really going on. Was it an illusion, or what it real? Was any of it real? When I got into it I did enjoy it, enjoy watching Jonathan figure out what to do and how to illusion it into being. And the cover is rather misleading. Please don't go into this expecting an epic romance, there's barely any romance to be found here. I imagine fans of impossible illusions and clever, well-meaning heroes will enjoy this.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this from Edelweiss through HarperCollins.)

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