Jul 15, 2014

Illusive by @em_llojo Review

Illusive by Emily Llyod-James
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 416 pages
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 always been amused with super powers.  I've always wanted one.  When Jess told me this was like a young adult X MEN, I immediately picked it up at ALA Midwinter.  No hesitations, I didn't even read the back cover.  I literally just went MINE!  And let me tell you something, I had no regrets.  This book was really good.  Such a strong debut from author Emily Lloyd Jones!

You know how pharmaceutical companies spend years testing medications before being shipped out to customers?  Well Illusive shows us that there is a reason for that.  In this dystopian novel, a deadly virus spread.  A doctor was able to produce a vaccine, but didn't have enough time to test it.  It was immediately shipped, over time an unfortunate side effect was revealed.  A very small percentage of those who received the vaccination developed immunities.  Immunities such as mind hypnosis, levitation, telepathy, etc.  Our main character Ciere is one of those with an immunity.  She is an illusionist.  She has the power to transform her appearance.

I've mentioned my love of super powers.  I've fantasized about what power I would want to possess.  The idea of being able to turn myself invisible seems very tempting.  Or to be able to take the form of someone else.  But there is a twist in this story that makes it very unique.  A twist that I really do love.  These immunities come from emotions.  So technology such as cameras cannot be fooled.  Meaning if Ciere were to make herself invisible, a security camera would be able to pick her right out of a crowd.  We've seen weakness, for example Superman has kryptonite, but a video camera is pretty original.

Because the FBI is after anyone with an immunity, Ciere lives her life the only way she can.  As a criminal. Now I am one of those people that also likes to root for the bad guys.  So this book pulled me in from the beginning.  Ciere was taken in by Kit Copperfield at the age of eleven.  Kit is written really well.  He's in his thirties, and his power is levitation.  I know that may seem really lame, but Kit is pretty much brilliant. Along with his friend Magnus.  I can't even begin to tell you how I feel about Magnus.  And the fact that he's a telepath just makes him so appealing.  There's this one scene that gave me chills.  While I was reading it, I actually said, "Whoa"  out loud once I figured out what was going on.  I seriously would love to see a new adult spinoff of this book featuring Kit and Magnus.  Even if it's a brief back story of their earlier lives.  

Ciere is a great lead.  As the story progresses her age really starts to show.  Which is actually a good thing. Because even though she's been exposed to danger her whole life, there are certain things that even she has been shielded from.  She's a very vulnerable character.  She has weakness, she makes mistakes.  And honestly this makes her a very relate-able character.  The changes in her as the novel progresses were pretty astounding.  She starts as a girl who revels in being a criminal.  Almost enjoys it, but once things start to get serious.  You slowly see fear creep into her.  That this is not a game.  This life is not a game.

It's hard to believe that this is a standalone.  There is just so much more that could be told.  And while I was very satisfied with the ending, I pretty much want to beg the author to continue.  I already mentioned how much I would love a Magnus and Kit spinoff, but this story could easily continue.  There's another character, who has a few chapters told from his point of view.  While not necessary, it actually adds a bit to the story. So many great characters in this book.  And I want to read more about all of them!

Thank you so much to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review (this book was received at ALAMW).


  1. This is the second super positive review I've seen for this book and I'm super intrigued about it! X-Men references makes me want to read it and a mix of science fiction and dystopian sounds great! And a standalone? Well, that's kind of a first, so many series that this is refreshing!
    Thank you for the honest review!

  2. This looks so good! I also love books to do with superpowers, and although I haven't heard of this before, I'll definitely be adding it to my wishlist! Great review :)

    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic


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