Thursday, May 14, 2015 21:34

Review 226. Heather Dixon – Illusionarium.

22840398Title: Illusionarium.
Author: Heather Dixon.
Pages: 368.
Published: May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
A brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. 
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.
Rating:

I wanted to love this. I really did. Heather Dixon is the author from Entwined and that turned out to be one of my favorite retellings from that particular fairytale (The twelve dancing princesses). I was so stoked when I saw the announcement of her new book, but it wasn't what I expected. At all. The whole concept of illusions, aerial cities and parallel words sounded amazing, but it was confusing to me. I still don't get how the illusions work and there is something about it that doesn't feel right.

You have to be under the influence of some kind of drug, you can create things out of thin air by building it with the right elements if you have the right gift. Only people under influence can see your creations. This was an interesting idea, but then we get an explanation that those items come from parallel worlds and I got lost.

”If you can illusion something identical to another world, you can somehow manipulate the physics of the world into thinking it belongs to the other world.”
You create something that isn’t there, because it’s an illusion, but at the same time it’s real? I just didn't understand the parallel worlds and how people are able to travel between them.The explanations fell short on TRULY explaining what was going on and it doesn't make sense if you scientifically look at it.

I like that the book is written from the POV of a boy, called Jonathan, but he doesn't necessarily feels like a boy. If we would have switched his name to, let's say, Joan, it would have been the same. I never felt I got to know him. He stays flat and has no characteristic personality traits, although I like how loyal he was to his family.

I liked the sickness that is spreading, which all started the Illusionarium business, but I wish we got more information about it. Perhaps it's just me and my love for medical things, but I wanted an explanation why it only targeted women and not men? I want prove that the author thought about those tiny details.

I have to give Heather points for creativity and the fact that there is no overwhelming romance whatsoever. Jonathan has some feelings for a girl, but he is far too busy with the fact that important people are getting sick & that he is stuck in another world. That gives his personality some credits, because far too often we see people falling in love - and then they forget about what truly matters. The ending wraps everything up in a nice way, but mweh. I'm disappointed. I will still keep an eye out for new work by the author, because she knows how to write, but I hope she returns to the quality of Entwined.
author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

30 comments:

  1. So sad to hear you didn't enjoy it. The cover is really amazing (even though I'm not always a fan of that sort of cover art) and the concept really does sound so creative! It's hard to get into a book you can't really understand, though. It sounds like a lot more could've been done with Jonathan's character as well, and that's a shame -- flat characters are so blah. It also seems like alternate Londons is becoming a trend, haha? A Darker Shade of Magic, and now this.

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    1. @ Every Book a World http://www.everybookaworld.com :))xx

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    2. This book had so much potential. It's a shame it failed to deliver. A darker shade of magic is freaking good, by the way.

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  2. It took me about a chapter to figure out that the POV was male. Haha, I always assume it's a girl. Yeah I didn't make it far in this one (I hate admitting defeat but I DNF'd it) , nothing interested me. Thanks for sticking it out!

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  3. I really had high hopes for this book. But I've been reading so many bad reviews that my hopes and interest have pretty much vanished.It's really sad that the topics weren't well developed - I found the idea behind the illusions interesting. :(

    Thannya @MyLovelySecret

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  4. Oh this is heartbreaking! I really want to love this, too, but I am a bit apprehensive because all of your arguments make complete sense and make this book sound like a book that is so not a Lili book.

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  5. I wanted to read this book so bad but when I'm easily confused, I might just drop this altogether. Thanks Mel for that honest opinion.

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  6. I have the toughest time with books that don't explain their technicalities well. I'm worried that'll be the case with me if I try to read this as well. ;( I also love reading from male POVs, and it's disappointing that Jonathan doesn't really have an authentic male voice. I like the sound of the hero giving more importance to his situation rather than a girl. I might start with Entwined first though. Fantastic review, Mel!

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  7. Aw I'm sorry you didn't like this book too well, Mel :( Jonathan sounds like a bland character, what with the lack of personality and development. I totally get why this didn't work well with you :( I hope you read a much better book that will lift up your spirits next time!!

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  8. Man, the premise of this story sounds EPIC. What a shame you didn't like it like you wanted to! I've had my eye on Entwined for years, but alas, I haven't had the time to actually seek out a copy so far. The thing about these sorts of novels is that there needs to be viable explanations for things, but not too much science-y things that'll draw readers away, you know? It must be difficult to find a balance there. Lovely review! I hope I can get around to reading something but this author soon. :)

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    1. Yes, I know exactly what you mean. It should make sense, but not be overly complicated that you have no idea what she is talking about.

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  9. Oh Mel! I am so sorry that this one didn't work out for you :( I had high hopes for this one too and couldn't resist requesting a copy but from the way you described it, I'm not sure it'll be any better for me. I like odd and different...even weird but this sounds WAY out there. And the fact that you didn't really connect with the characters on top of that worries me. Wonderful review all the same and I really hope your next read is/was much better :) xx

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  10. You know what, I feel like I was the only person who actually read Entwined but good to hear that you did as well! Man, this book really attracted me because it reminds me of the movie, the illusionist. But even with your science background, if you couldn't wrap your head around the illusions and how they were real, I wouldn't be able to either. Which is a shame, I was looking forward to this one! Lovely review Mel.

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    1. Of course I did, fairytales for the win, haha.

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  11. Eh, I hate it when the main character is as flat as a steamrolled pancake. SO disappointing. It's interesting that the romance was fully on the back burner though...wow! Don't usually see that. xD I'm definitely going to read Entwined someday, but this? Eh not so much. >_<

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  12. Stunning review Mel. <3 I must admit, I'm thrilled that you didn't like this book, lol :D It was, sadly, a one star for me. Ugh. But I also loved Entwined, when I read it :( So yeah. I'm also really disappointed. Which just sucks. Like this book, lol. It was just.. so bad o.O Love reading your thoughts about it. <3 Thank you for sharing sweetie :)

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  13. I read this one sometime last year and absolutely didn't care for it very much, either. I felt that it was too fast-paced, going to another scene with little to no build-up (he didn't know how to make illusions and then after a few practices, he's the freaking Houdini?? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!). Plus, the world-building just truly didn't make any sense :(

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. He sure had to be HIGHLY intelligent to pull that off :p

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  14. That's so disappointing, as I loved Entwined! I've heard a lot of similar responses to the book, so I may just have to put it at the back of the TBR.

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  15. If only this book was explained better.... it just dove right in and nothing made sense *sigh* I just traded for Entwined though so I am going to give that one a try still since everyone (including you) says it is so much better!

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    1. It is, it is, it is! It's such a shame that people might read this book and decide they don't want to read anything else by the author.

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  16. I think Blogger ate my comment :/

    I was just saying that while you didn't like this one and I'll avoid it, I won't avoid all her other books and I think I have Entwined somewhere...

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  17. Oh,I am sorry you were disappointed with this novel Mel! I hate it when the main characters are bland puddings.
    Hope your next read is better luv!

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  18. Bummer! I was really hoping to love this one, but now I'm not so sure :/ I loved Entwined as well, but if this book lacks romance, I may not like it as much. Interesting though that it's from the guy's POV though. I don't seem to read very many of those.

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  19. Unfortunately I've heard very similar things about this book from just about everyone. Seems the scientific explanations and worldbuilding are really vague and unbelievable. :/ I was really looking forward to this one but I don't think it will be my cup of tea!
    Great review, Mel. :)

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  20. To be entirely honest, I'm not surprised. I could barely bring myself to finish ENTWINED, so therefore I have absolutely ZERO interest in reading this book.

    Being a scientist, I have to be given a lot of facts for things like parallel worlds and multiple dimensions for me to go along with the notion in the book. It sounds like ILLUSIONARIUM does a pretty bad job at explaining exactly what is going on. And I'm prety sure that would drive me up the wall.

    I find it so disappointing when male-narrated books are interchangeable with female-narrated books. It takes away so much of the excitement of FINALLY having a fantasy novel from a guy's perspective.

    It's a shame you didn't love this one, Mel. Especially since you liked her previous book so much!

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    1. I'm in science as well, so perhaps that is why I expect more from it too, so ugh :(

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