Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: "Illusionarium" by Heather Dixon


Title: Illusionarium

Author: Heather Dixon

Genre: YA Steampunk/Fantasy

Publication: May 9, 2015

Pages: 361


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.

Auggie's Review

Fantastic! Highly Recommend!
Oh my.... *squees with joy* I loved this book! I loved it so much! I haven't loved a YA book this much since Enchanted. Heather Dixon only has one more book out? She must write more!

This book was so wonderful! Phenomenally written, gorgeous and powerful settings, beautiful characters and fantastic language. Love love love love love. 

Jonathan's life is turned upside down when an incurable disease sweeps his world, infecting only females and killing them within three days. There is no known cure and now both his mother and his little sister are infected. The king has come to Jonathan's father, a renowned scientist, to request his help to find a cure for his dying queen. How? By using a special elemental drug that creates an alternate, and temporary, reality.

Tragedy strikes and things go awry. Jonathan is kidnapped by the very scientist who discovered the drug and whisked away to an alternate world where things have crumbled and fallen to ruin. In this world mirror images of the people he knows and loves exist in a sort of patch-work society, and none of them remember who he is. 

In order to receive an antidote to cure the illness in his own homeworld, Jonathan must embark on an adventure into a world where there are no rules, no allies, and no second chances. 

Whew! That doesn't even BEGIN to touch on this book. There's SO MUCH AWESOME going on.

Curious, quirky, and at times downright creepy... it had all the elements of a book that will truly transport you out of yourself.  Truly vivid imagery with great dialogue and a amusing inner monologue. I can envision these settings, the laboratory, the cold city in the air, the ruined mirror city in another dimension.  I try not to be too dramatic about my books, but....EPIC, UNBELIEVABLE, MUST READ *continued incoherent babbling* 

I loved the asides throughout the book that were listed as notes. They added a little pizazz and allowed me a closer look at the main character's personality. 

There were several quotes in just the first few chapters that had me either goosebumping or laughing out loud. I'll share a few: 

"You didn't crush flowers, you didn't squeeze birds, and you didn't break your mum." - Jonathan

"They say that even now, at sixty-two years old, her spine was made of steel and her heart made of the sun, and when she spoke, no one disobeyed." - Jonathan (This sounds like my own mum.)

"I'd mostly ignored Hannah's friends until one morning I woke up and they'd suddenly become funny and pretty and all shades of clever." - Jonathan. 

Very cute language usage, it's about how I'd expect a young man coming into his adult-i-ness to sound.  

Illusionarium's adventure scale was off the charts for me and not only included explosions, a seemingly incurable disease, dimension hopping, hallucinogenic drug usage (just go with me on that one), insane mutant drug addicts, and a legitimately loony girl in a pretty dress, it also had all of the steampunk elements that gives it it's fantastical feel. Cities in the sky, airships, steam technology, and of course... fancy outfits. 

I truly truly loved this work. It hit every note for me and I can't wait to read more from this author.
Very much recommend.

Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.

1 comment:

  1. Not my favorite book by far but i liked what Dixon presented in the story. The alternate world was totally my favorite part and all its illusions.

    Great Review:)
    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex