Thursday, January 2, 2014

THE EATER OF BOOKS! GUEST REVIEW: Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.
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.
Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Number of Pages: 400
Type: Hardcover
Rating: 4 stars

Reviewed by Alyssa, age 18

What I Liked:
First, let us all take a really good look at that beautiful cover. Isn't it magnificent?! It has got to be one of my favorite Harper covers yet. Their design team is AMAZING, just saying. I marked this one as must-read when the cover was revealed only because of the cover. Then I read the synopsis, and I knew this book would be a winner for me. Lovely cover? Heavy on the science? Romance? Perfect for me.
The wonderful thing about foresight is that, with books, it rarely lets me down! I really, really enjoyed this book! I mean, I was totally sucked in by the pretty cover, and then the intriguing synopsis, but the actual book itself was great.
This book starts with a prologue that features Regan and her father testing out Elusion for the first time. When the story begins, with chapter one, we learn that Regan's father has been dead for months, and that Regan does not go to Elusion anymore. Regan's father protege (who is also Regan's friend) is now in charge of all things Elusion. This young man - Patrick - is responsible for the amazing escapist world that is Elusion - and the consequences of using Elusion. 
Elusion isn't what it seems. Certain things were set into motion before Regan's father died. Regan doesn't trust Patrick to tell her the trust, because when she asks, she gets nothing from him. All the while, innocent users of the Elusion program are losing brain activity, getting addicted, or even dying. There is something seriously wrong with Elusion, and Regan will be the one to find the truth.
The plot moves fairly quickly in this book, once Regan realizes that there is a problem with Elusion. The beginning is a bit slow, but understandably so, because Gabel and Klam seem to want to show readers what this world is like when everyone is using Elusion. This made the beginning drag a little, but I suppose it was necessary, to show readers without telling readers how strange Elusion is, and how wrong it is.
Let me put Elusion into perspective for you. It's a program that you can connect to, and escape the real world. Like, virtual reality, or an alternate experience, or something. People can plug in and visit Elusion at any point, but they have a time limit every time they go to Elusion. So, the first scene of the book describes the way people are - hundreds of people are plugged in to Elusion, and they seem zoned out like zombies.
Gabel and Klam built up the plot (and climax) of the novel gradually, but for the most part, there was never a dull moment. I wouldn't say there were too many twists and turns and unexpected curveballs, but as I was reading, I was dying to see how things would be resolved. Would Regan find out the truth about her father's death? Was Patrick responsible for the addictions? Would Nora be found?
The ending was a little messy, in my opinion, but after reading it twice, it made sense. I can't believe Gabel and Klam would end things the way they did! It's not a cliffhanger, but let's just say I need book two in my hands right about... now. 
Romance, did I mention anything about the romance? If you're like me (a hater of love triangles), put your mind at ease, because there isn't one (that I can see). I thought there would be one, as there is definitely potential for one, but I don't see the romance going in that direction. Regan and the male protagonist are together, and that doesn't seem like it will change. That being said, I like the romance! I like Regan and this male protagonist together. I won't say who it is though, so as not to spoil things.
At first, I wasn't really connecting with Regan, but eventually I started to connect and really like her. Her character is a little flat, in my opinion, but there are times when she has depth to her. I just wish there was more to her that made her more unique.
I mentioned this briefly, but this book is has a heavy science basis - which I loved! This book deals with brain chemistry and neuroscience and addictions... I really enjoyed seeing so much science in the book. There was also a good amount of technology and computer science, which was cool. The math/science nerd in me approves! 
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable debut novel for these two authors (debut for the two paired; I know both authors have books out). It's not action-packed and extremely exciting, but the story is very interesting and the concept is relevant to today's society.

What I Did Not Like:
There was nothing specific that I didn't like - maybe a few pacing issues here and there. Sometimes, the plot dragged, other times, things were happening way too quickly. Like, at the very end, I had a hard time picking out what exactly was going on. I read the ending twice though, so I understood eventually.
In general, I didn't have any problems with this book. I just wouldn't consider it a five-star read from ME, because it doesn't feel like a five-star novel. It's not a new favorite, but I am very happy with this book. I will definitely be reading the sequel!

Would I Recommend It:
Yesyesyes! I'm sure the pretty cover will attract many readers (just stare at it for a few seconds. It's hypnotizing, isn't it?!). BUT, the content is just as amazing as the cover. I'm quite sure that science-y people like me will be all over this one, and even if you're not a science-y person, the concept will intrigue you. And the cover is gorgeous. Did I mention that already?

4 stars. I really enjoyed this book! The science really appealed to my nerdy math/science side. Bring on book two!

About Alyssa:
Alyssa is the blogger/reviewer behind The Eater of Books! blog. Currently, she is a freshman at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in environmental engineering and Spanish. When she's not reading a book or studying in the library, you may find her blogging, watching sports, playing sports, or sleeping.

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This book releases March of 2014! 
Buy Hardcover | $17.99

Happy reading!
Alyssa, age 18

We'd like to thank Alyssa for this fantastic guest review. Her one-year-old and thriving blog, The Eater of Books!, has new posts everyday. She's sure to cheer you up on Twitter and has great taste in books--we recommend you check her out! 

1 comment:

  1. YAY for Elusion! Thank you again SO MUCH for this opportunity! You all rock <3

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!


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