Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Genres: Action, Thriller, YA
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase
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.
I’ve been having a whole lot of books that I feel range between 2-3 lately, and I’m really not sure what to rate them. Though I do believe this one is closer to the 2.5 side of things, I have decided to be nice [; Also, despite faults I managed to have a lot of fun.
There was also a undeniable compulsive writing style that immersed you in the story. Even at a large 400+ page story, I found myself flying through pages. It really did feel like a action movie, with all of the twists and turns. While some were predictable, I actually was surprised to find myself shocked by quite a few of these twists. I also just loved the subject of the story, I love superheroes/villains (I’m definitely a Marvel girl) and that was why I was so excited to read this one. I truly adored reading about all of the superpowers in Illusive. They were just fascinating and seeing them in action was pulse racing. There were also multiple plot lines going on. That could have been confusing in Illusive, but I found them all connecting and working together seamlessly to create one awesome action story.
While the plot worked in Illusive, I found the world building lacking. The information given to you does seem plausible (yes, I did have to suspend some imagination, but it did seem a little possible) and makes sense. However it’s told to you in a few info dumps in the beginning and never mentioned again. You get Ciere telling you the story of how these superpowers came into existence, in which she basically just tells you what happened through a story her Mom told her.
Once upon a time, there was a pandemic.
It was a new strain of meningococcal diease. Named Meningococcal Krinotas- or simply the MK plauge- it embodied the worst traits of both viral and bacterial meningitis. Because it was a virus, antibiotics had no effect, and the current viral vaccines were ineffective……
That’s a quote from chapter two, and the rest of the explanation tells you about the severity of the disease, and how a vaccine was created. Of course there were side effects (SUPER POWERS) of this vaccine, so that’s explained too. And that’s basically what the entirety of chapter two is. I did have a few questions still, and if this wasn’t a series then I would be very disappointed in the lack of development of this world. I felt like there was a lot of unexplored potential.
Something I also enjoyed was how things weren’t black and white. Sometimes in stories that involve superpowers, you get the contrived villains and the obvious heroes. In Illusive I didn’t just see criminals and good samaritans. I saw ‘villains’ driven by their own experiences making decisions that to them was the right choice. I saw corruption and violence in the police system. So, really who was the hero? There’s definitely a grey area and Illusive shines some light on that.
Illusive was told in in two different POVs, Ciere and Daniel. I personally didn’t enjoy this choice. I felt as though it prevented you from connecting with either character on a deep level, especially Daniel. It was his POV that I found the most unnecessary, as it only popped up around eight times and only distracted from Ciere’s storyline. I really don’t think Daniel’s POV added anything to the story, without it we wouldn’t suffer any loss and I actually think Illusive would have been better focusing on Ciere. The writing was also in third person present, which definitely was something that took a bit of getting used to. I think it did work well with the action scenes though, and added to the compulsive reading quality. However I think if the author was going to use duo POVs, it would have made more sense to do them in third person in order for you to truly connect to the characters.
Speaking of the characters, I really didn’t enjoy reading about the main ones. I found myself apathetic to Daniel, only really sympathizing with his plight. There was some back-story with his sister which was interesting and tragic, but never really expanded on. You’d think this wouldn’t be the case with a 400+ page story. I didn’t connect to the other character as much as I’d like to: Ciere. I felt like the story was focused more on her, so this was a issue. I found Ciere to be quite naive. This doesn’t really work when you consider the fact that she’s grown up in this corrupt and confusing world, you’d except her to be quite the survivalist and would think things through. Instead she was prone to making rash decisions and at times put herself in unneeded danger.
“You’ve got that will. We’re going to use it and find the formula. And then we sell it to Guntram get the Gyr Syndicate [a verrrry powerful mob] off our backs and no one will ever know.”
Sounds like a solid plan Ciere. Nooooothing will ever go wrong. Hah. However, by the end of the story I do think Ciere went on a personal journey of sorts, was much less naive and if there’s future installments I feel as if she’d be a much more enjoyable character to read about.
The side characters in Illusive were actually my favorite. Though they weren’t involved as much as Ciere, their moments in the story really shined to me.
“Ah,” Kit says grinning. “Friends don’t let friends drive while hemorrhaging?”
I found the side characters to have the best dialogue bits, the ones which were witty in the grittiest times and actually made me laugh. Kit and Magnus were older characters, and to me filled the much needed parental role in the story. They were the voices of reason, all while being mysterious and having some great dialogue. However I did get some interesting vibes from the two. I swear Magnus and Kit had a thing for each other. Which is awesome (and I would totally be all for it), if a gay relationship is what the author actually intended. If not then….awkward. I’ll just quietly ship them then.
The other side character that interested me was Devon, who also brought some humor to this story. He had a great friendship with Ciere. Note, the had. The majority of the story really doesn’t have much romance. However in like the last fourth of the story, you get a new guy thrown into the cast of characters. I felt as if Ciere totally trusted this guy waaaay too easily, once again speaking to her naive nature. She also just seemed to toss Devon to the side and favors mysterious new guy, which frankly annoyed me. You shouldn’t just toss aside your friends you’ve known for a waaaay longer time for some new male in your life. Ciere’s relationship with said new guy wasn’t developed enough for my liking and was rushed in the last part of Illusive.
The ending was awesome though, with a twist I didn’t see coming. It was a action packed climax, to say the least. There were no super long and lame villain speech, which does seem like quite the common stereotype for action stories. It does seem very open ended though, and I believe there is a sequel in the works. If not then there would be a lot of unanswered questions and a mild cliffhanger.
I would recommend Illusive for those able to look over clear faults, but still be able to appreciate a fun read. It’s also great if you enjoy superhero/super villain stories.
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