Book Review: Illusive
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 15 July 2014
Page Count: 416
Source: ebook purchased from bn.com
Audience: Young Adult – Dystopian, Science Fiction, Adventure
Every dystopian author has a different view of what could happen to the world's population in the future. The only similarity is that a lot of the population dies and the ones who don't are left to pick up the pieces and learn how to survive in a strange new world. Emily Lloyd-Jones has created just such a world with her novel, Illusive.
Illusive is set in 2034, seventeen years after a plague threatened to wipe out the planet. A vaccine was created which had “adverse effects” on 0.003% of the people who received it. Those adverse effects were telepathy, perfect recall, increased intuition, the ability to create illusions, levitation, body manipulation, and hypnosis. In other words, super powers. After that, the world went a bit crazy. The government tried to round up all the “immunes” and recruit them, killing or imprisoning those who wouldn't go quietly. Those not wanting recruited had to turn to crime to survive, hiding who they really were. Ciere is one of the latter. She uses her gift of illusion to commit thefts. Her life, though not easy, is normal until she and her crew take on a job bigger than they could have ever imagined. Soon, she is running for her life from not only the police, but also the FEDs and the local mob.
Of all the dystopian fiction I have read, this is probably the most fun. Yes, this new world can be depressing at times, but a world with super powers is just exciting. The imagination and creativity that went into this story is brilliant. The author really took the time to think about how the world would react if super powers started to crop up among the population. Every government wants them, for experiments and for armies. Every country wants the formula to make more. The criminal element becomes more interesting and harder to capture. Most of the immune view it as a curse which has destroyed their lives; others use it to their advantage to get more power and money.
I love the characters and the back stories they each have. The book is written from two different points of view, Ciere, and Daniel, a member of Ciere's crew that is captured by the FEDs and forced to work with them against his friends. Both are well written and distinguishable from the other. Each of Ciere's friends has a reason for what they do, something that happened in their past to set them on their current course and I loved learning about each one, but I wanted to know so much more. I was left with questions that need answers.
Not only is the book about Ciere's life exploding into chaos, it's about Ciere finally finding herself after her tragic past makes it almost impossible for her to move forward with her life. I love the underlying story the author provided with this and the growth of the character. I am looking forward to seeing more of how she grows in the continuing story.
The world in nineteen years doesn't really seem that different from the world now - no superior cell phones or weaponry - except for these super powers. This surprised me at first, how normal it all was, but in the end it didn't make a huge difference. The story was still very enjoyable to read, the world made sense.
There is so much more to the story than what I have described and hinted at, but I didn't want to reveal any plot spoilers. There are twists, turns and surprises. I am usually pretty good at picking up on what is going to happen in a story, but this one kept me on my toes and guessing till the end and that warrants high marks from me. The second book in the series, Deceptive, is out now.
One Last Thought: The book starts out a little slow, but once it gets into the main plot, the job that goes awry, it picks up speed and I finished it in one sitting.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I love the different super powers the “immunes” have. I love the idea of possibly contracting these powers from a vaccine. Such a great idea.
First Sentence: Ciere Giba wakes to pounding on her hotel door.
Favorite Character: Ciere
Least Favorite Character: Aristeus
The X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of "super" criminals. When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She's what's known as an illusionist...She's also a thief. After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn't? The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.