Published by Greenwillow Books, Harper Collins on May 19, 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Source: Finished Copy from Publisher
What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.
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. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.
Illusionarium is a young adult fantasy novel that is super vivid. The sky is the limit with Heather Dixon’s Illusionists, and the world(s) she created are both captivating and freaky-deaky. I blew through Illusionarium in one quick sitting. This book grabbed me right from the start and I couldn’t put it down. The concept was crazier than I initially thought it would be, and I enjoyed the twists and turns that Heather had in store for Johnathan and the readers.
Set sometime in the future, London as we know it is no more. Instead people live on airships. A deadly disease called the venem is spreading so rapidly. It is only affecting women, but once infected with the disease, 100% of the victims die within a week. Scientists are working as quickly as possible to try and find a cure. The nations best scientist and Johnathan’s father (the second best scientist) are called in to try and find the cure. Lady Florel is the top scientist and she has discovered that the cure may lie in this new drug, called Fanatalium. The drug causes shared hallucinations, and scientists can illusion things to happen while using it. In these illusions, Lady Florel thinks they can manipulate time to speed up so they can test out potential cures and see the effects. It was kind of a cool idea. But I didn’t really understand why only scientists could be illusionists, and I didn’t really understand why there only seemed to be 2 main scientists in their whole part of the world. Either way, Johnathan, as his father’s apprentice goes on a quest with Lady Florel to illusion a cure for the drug. but things are not always what they seem, and along the way so many twists and turns happen that derail the experiments. I won’t ruin anything, because those are the heart and fun of the story.
There is not really a romance in this one, and I am unsure if there is going to be a second book or not. It was kind of left open ended. I would really like to see another book, because I think there are many different avenues that can still be explored and I really liked traveling into this crazy world. The idea of illusionists were really cool. I think that some people may take issue to the idea of the drug use with the fanatalium that causes the shared hallucinations, but the dangers of the drug are explained later in the book, so I don’t think it glorified drug use or anything like that.
If you like inventive young adult fantasies and don’t mind little to no romance, this would be a great book for you to check out. And I have to say, the cover is beautiful and the hardback book is intricately designed. I am so in love with the way everything looks. From the cog designs on each chapter to the color scheme of the actual hardcover. It is just beautiful. This was a really cool read.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- May Clean Sweep ARC 2015
I love that you blew through this in one sitting. It sounds like a pretty solid start to what hopefully is a new series with that open ending.
Great review Michelle and thanks for sharing this one!
I read too many “meh” reviews on this one to give it a try…That’s a shame ’cause I was really hoping it’d be good! 🙁
Illusionarium sounds great! I love the cover! I want this book! Thank you
I’m a total romance girl so little to no romance is pretty disappointing. Great review though!
Karina @ Watcha Reading
I wasn’t really intrigued in this, the only reason why I was interested in it was because the cover was so pretty. But once I heard that there was no romance, I didn’t really feel like reading it. Because it’s hard for me to get into a book with no romance. That’s why I decided to trade my arc copy to someone who would read it. But I’m glad you were able to finish it really quickly 🙂
Kel @ Booked til Tuesday
I’d definitely be willing to return to the world of Illusionarium, but I think I’d need a different protagonist. Great review!
Sierra @ Yearning to Read
I am soooo excited for this book. I’m trying to tone it down a bit because I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed….but I’m still so stoked. Entwined is one of my favorite books ever, and so naturally, Illusionarium has caught my eye. (And that cover! Gorgeous!) I do hear that a lot of people were a bit confused by the magic system and who exactly could do what…but knowing that going into the book I think it will help me have realistic expectations.
Thanks for an awesome review (and giveaway)!
I actually have a copy of Illusionarium waiting for me to read this summer! I love the cover to it and the idea of the world having a lot of creativity put into it and it being described vividly sounds just like the kind of thing I would like!
I AGREE I LOVED THIS TOO
It was really enjoyable. I actually also agree that I would love to see a second book but I am pretty sure it’s a standalone 🙁 Maybe if we make enough of a noise about it they will magically make this a series hahaha
I really thought it was amazing world building and such an interesting premise. The little to no romance was also refreshing—as I feel like every YA book “has” to have romance and if this one had too much romance I thnk it would have overwhelmed me as a reader..u know?? I really liked the twist at the end and that the main character was male. 🙂 Great review!
Tiffany (About to Read)
I loved the cover too! Actually did a post on similar dresses. I ended up liking the book less than you did, which makes me sad because I really wanted to love it.