Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Book One of the Illusive series
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC borrowed from a friend (thank you, Jess!)

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

What a novel! I had been excited to read this one for a very long time, so I was really happy and slightly nervous to start reading it. Big thanks to Jessica @ Step Into Fiction for offering to lend me her prized ARC! Otherwise I'd never have had an opportunity to read this book, pre-publication. 

Ciere is a thief, working with Kit Copperfield, an art fence who gives her jobs and takes care of her. When Ciere and her friend Devon rob a bank in mobster territory, Ciere finds herself in huge trouble. Pay Brandt back the forty grand, or else. But there are other problems - Kit wants Ciere to finish a job that Daniel, a boy that Ciere and Kit have worked with for years, hasn't completed. Daniel was taken by Aristeus and Co, an organization that apparently works to help the immune. Meanwhile, the FBI, UAI, and Ciere/Kit/Devon/Marcus are all searching for an old lady's will, that might contain the formula for the vaccination that caused the immune to exist - those with the "superpowers".

I know. This book is complicated. I loved the complexity of everything. There is the mobster plot - in which Ciere has to figure out how to pay back Brandt. There is the overall plot, in which everyone is searching for the will - and in essence, the formula (which was thought to be destroyed). There is Ciere's plot, in which Ciere learns to grow into her illusionist powers (something she's struggled with since her mother died, years ago). There is Daniel's plot, in which Daniel is taken by Aristeus, and used to find out what Kit and company are doing and looking for. There is a touch of romance, not much at all. In fact, the romance is kind of nonexistent. I might be building the romance a little.

What a fascinating world this author has created. A vaccine that was created to prevent MK from spreading had serious side effects ("adverse effects"), causing those injected to develop an immunity, or a supernatural power. There are mentalists, with the ability to see into people's minds. There are illusionists, like Ciere, who are able to allow people to see what she wants them to see, by creating illusions. There are others, like a dominus, eidos, dathos (I think dathos is one of them? The ones that can fight really well because they can bend their muscles and reshape themselves like craziness). It's SO COOL, all of the different powers, and how the immune affect the world. The government wants the formula to create more immune, to create a human army with superpowers. UAI (Aristeus's organization) and the FBI also want to round up the currently living immune, like Devon and Ciere.

So I liked the story, the plot, the world building. This book is really solid, especially in those areas. The characters are solid as well. I liked Ciere - her strength, her indecision, her impulsiveness, all of her traits made her a likable character. I didn't just see her as a thief, I saw her as a teenager with a difficult life, with no way out. Devon, ehhh, I liked him. He was hilarious, always making me life. I don't think he belongs in the crime world, but I really liked in his presence in this book.

I loved Kit and Marcus - they're like the "parents" of the story, except neither of them act like parents. Yes, they look after the teenagers, but for jobs, not necessarily for anything else. Although, that's not fair, Kit takes care of Ciere. Kit and Marcus were friends and colleagues before, and Aristeus was a protegee. Oops? Aristeus is kind of a bad guy (though not really), if you haven't picked up on that yet. Alan is an excellent addition to the cast of characters. I REALLY liked him, and hope to see more of him in future books.

The romance is so so so subtle in this book, if it exists at all. Throughout the book, I thought Devon and Ciere were a thing. Ciere definitely treats Devon in a platonic way, as a friend. But I'm pretty sure Devon has feelings for Ciere. Which is whatever. But I like Ciere and someone else. I'm hoping that the next book has a smidgen more of actual romance, because romance and kickbutt thriller action is an okay combination by me!

Yes, this book is totally kickbutt. There is so much action and thieving and scheming and plotting, I love it. I haven't read a crime-based book in a while - maybe since Natalie Whipple's Transparent? Except this book is more crime-based, more action-riddled, more kickbutt. I never wanted it to end!

There is a science fiction aspect to this book - the whole thing about the vaccination and the inhuman abilities. It's scientifically explained as side effects from the vaccination hastily created to combat the MK virus. Makes sense! I didn't think too much of it. You'll notice that I've tagged this book as "Post-Apocalypse" as well - the MK virus, and the vaccinations, can be considered as an apocalypse, right? And this book takes place after those two tragic phenomena. 

The writing style is really interesting. This book is written in third-person, present tense. I'm not used to books written in present tense, so I was a little caught off-guard at first, but I found that I really liked the use of present tense! I love third person narrations, so I had no problem with that. Third person, present tense combinations are rare in Young Adult literature (I think? I personally haven't read too many books with both), so it was awesome to read a book with such unique writing (and a really original story)!

All in all, I can't wait to read the next book in this series. I didn't think there would be a sequel, because Goodreads doesn't have a sequel listed, but I chatted with the author, and she said that there will be a sequel next year! YAY FOR THAT!

What I Did Not Like:

I can't think of anything for this section. I know, I know, I'm giving the book four stars, but I can't think of anything that I didn't like. This is another "feel" novel, in which I'm giving this one four stars because that's how I feel about the book!

Would I Recommend It:

YES! You don't need to be a science fiction fan to enjoy this book. This book feels like primarily a thriller, so I feel like any type of audience will love this book. And there is basically no romance, which I think some people will really like! I think this book is an excellent package.


4 stars. This book was EPIC! I don't think I've read such an action-packed novel in a while. The writing and the story was refreshing and thrilling. Basically, you need to go read this one as soon as (legally) possible. I'm glad there will be a sequel - I will be all over that!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. Sounds like the kind of book I really need to keep in my sights! Science fiction, no romance... Thanks for the great review, Alyssa! I'm adding this one to the TBR list!

    1. YES! Pili, I had you in mind when I was writing this review! Especially about the very little romance thing, I feel like you would appreciate that ;D Thank YOU!!

  2. Hmmm...I've never heard of this one before, but it sounds interesting! After reading your review, there seems to be A LOT going on in this novel. At times I love that and other times I really hate it. I'll definitely check this one out if I have the chance, but I'm in no rush for it. Thanks for the awesome review~

    P.S. I totally get what you mean about a "feels" novel! There are times where you don't like a book and you can't pinpoint exactly why aside from the fact that you just don't like something about it.

    1. There is a lot going on! Which took me by surprise, I didn't expect this one to be so deep, if you know what I mean. And so glad you understand! I didn't know how to explain not giving this one five stars O_O

  3. The only thing I've heard about this.. is .. well.. the cover. Oops. BUT OH MY GOD THE FIRST LINE OF THE SYNOPSIS!!! X-MEN? OCEAN'S ELEVEN? GIMMEEE!! Ha! It does sound complicated, but if it suits for you, then it's all good :) It really seems like a thrilling story and my head is already spinning from all the plot and world tropes you described for us. Ooh. The writing style is something that appeals to me the least. I hate 3rd person POV (unless it's a historical fantasy) :/ I think Throne of Glass is 3rd person POV and past tense. Though I really loved that one so.. perhaps there's hope for this one too? I hope! I'm glad you enjoyed this so much, Alyssa :)

    1. RIGHT?!??!!? That's what sold me too! I was like, X-Men :D While reading, it's not so confusing or complicated, but shoot, I had a hard time trying to explain what was going on in my review!

      The third person present tense threw me, I did not expect that! But I think I liked it. I believe this is one of the first (or one of the few) books that I have read that is written in third person present tense!

      Thank you very much, Siiri! <3

  4. I get the 4 stars feeling thing you're talking about. Sometimes the book just lacks something like oomph or wow factor to make it a 5 star even though there wasn't anything that you really disliked. This book does sound a lot like Xmen like the summary said. I'm really curious about it and I kind of like that the romance is not prominent and there's a ton of kickbutt action. I love action! Maybe this book is like The Assassin's Curse & The Pirate's Wish where the romance gets hinted at in the first book but gets developed through the second and beyond. Those are always the best because it makes it more believable instead of having them bust out I love yous after 3 months or something. And I'm definitely all for world with superpowers!!! Love love this review times a billion!

    1. X-MEN!! That seems to be the selling point ^_^ I liked that there wasn't romance in this book! But yes, I think you're tight - there probably will be some developments in the next book(s). There was definitely some foreshadowing of Ciere and someone...

      THANK YOU, JESS!! *squishy hugs*

  5. this one does sound complicated but sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. I guess i'll have to read it and decide for myself if it works for me. I am interested in this one though since it's compared to XMEN AND OCEANS ELEVEN that's pretty damn awesome!

    1. I think it works pretty well! While actually reading the book, it doesn't seem to complicated. When you try to explain it... well, you see that there is a lot going on! I definitely think the comparison is a good one - for once! I'm super picky when it comes to comparisons :o

  6. HOLY HOLY CRAP! I've been a bit iffy because the superpower books are typically books I avoid, but I SHALL HAVE TO CHECK THIS ONE OUT! :D Sci-fi is always a good thing, right? ;)

    1. DEFINITELY CHECK THIS ONE OUT, NIKKI. Science fiction is fabuloussss! Don't think of it as your typical some-people-have-superpowers-because-they're-special story. There is a scientific explanation involved!

  7. Crime, action, sci-fi and limited romance? Happiness has come early this year. Thanks for the awesome review!

    1. YOU WILL LOVE THIS ONE, KEL!! You're welcome :D


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