Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
Book Two of the Elusion series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist.

Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion's firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan's father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world alive.

Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It's dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?

What I Liked:

I really enjoyed this book! This duology was pretty amazing, if I may say so myself. I'm a huge fan of science fiction, high stakes, simple romance - and gorgeous book covers! So you could say that I personally hit the jackpot with this series. Also, I've met Cheryl Klam in September 2014 (she gave me a gorgeous signed ARC of this book!), and she's amazing! I have no doubt that Claudia is just as wonderful and kind. Anyway. On to the review!

Etherworld picks up where Elusion left off. Regan, Josh, Regan's father, and a group of teenagers are stuck in Etherworld, a type of safe place within Elusion in which users (of the Elusion app) can hide. Regan's father is currently in Etherworld and leads Regan and Josh there. With the group of teenagers (including Josh's sister Nora), Regan, Josh, and Regan's father try to take down Etherworld - and Elusion. 

But Etherworld is not so easy to destroy, and neither is Elusion. Regan is pulled from Etherworld when Patrick drags her out and wakes her up. Thinking she has nanopsychosis, he takes her to the hospital against her will. Regan will stop at nothing to get her father, Josh, and other users out of Etherworld, and destroy Elusion for good. But there are greater factors, more powerful players at work. Lives are at stakes in a virtual world that has its claws deeply entrenched in a futuristic society.

What a fascinating concept, virtual reality. Be sure to check out my "Science in Fiction" post for Etherworld - I discussed the pros and cons of virtual reality. In Elusion/Etherworld, the virtual world of Elusion is a tempting and scary one. It is paradise, because you can go to this magical wonderful place and seem and feel so happy. But people get addicted to the world, and there are serious health effects to using the app for a long time. The app wasn't meant to be used all the time, often, for long periods of time. 

Just like in Elusion, Etherworld moved rapidly. The beginning is a bit slow, but probably to me, because I didn't remember some specific things that happened in Elusion, so I had to drag through the beginning of this book, and things started returning. The authors did a great job of recapping events briefly and sporadically, so that feeble brains (such as my own) don't get confused. I appreciated that!

I really liked the characters in this book/series. Regan is a likable heroine, and it's easy to root for her. She's stuck in some difficult situations in this book, and I wanted to shake her for not trying harder to get out of the hospital (I mean, she definitely worked hard to get out, but from the start, not really). She's so loyal to her friends and family, and this is both a good thing and sometimes, a bad thing. She trusted Patrick with the information she found in Etherworld, and he turned around and took her to the hospital. So, loyal and trusting is a good and bad thing.

Josh is sweet and protective as always. Regan's father is overworked and stress as usual, but it scares Regan. When Regan comes back to the real world, she also starts looking for her father's body. Someone (Patrick's mother) is keeping her father alive, and trapped in Elusion (Etherworld, really). 

I always felt bad for Patrick, and I disliked him a bit in the first half of this book, but by the end of this book, I liked him. He's a product of loyalty and trust towards his family (like Regan), but unfortunately for him, his family was on the wrong side of things. Patrick grows significantly in this book, and makes his own decisions and stands for them. 

The romance is so sweet and lovely! No love triangle, as I mentioned in my review of Elusion. Josh and Regan have a tender relationship, but sparks definitely fly in this book. I kind of wanted more from the romance in this book, but at the same time, I liked the simplicity.

The end... the end of another series. I liked the end of this book a lot. It was a little bit cookie-cutter perfect, but I'd rather that than an everyone-dies-and-the-romance-is-ruined type of ending! 

What I Did Not Like:

I mentioned that I wanted more from the romance in this book! Not a huge deal, and definitely not a major dislike or anything, but I thought the story could benefit just a smidgen more from more scenes with just Regan and Josh. I feel like there was more romance in Elusion, which is fine, but I guess since they're officially together at the end of Elusion, there would be more romance in this book. But that's okay.

Would I Recommend It:

I really liked this book - and series! And it's a duology (versus trilogy or something more), so that's pretty nice, in terms of waiting. I love science fiction, and the concept of virtual reality is definitely a hotly debated one. It's nice to see authors bring these controversial scientific topics to Young Adult literature, in my opinion. Anyway. Yes, I would recommend this book. Series.


4 stars. A wonderful conclusion to a thrilling and thought-provoking science fiction series! I'm so glad I read this series. And hey, an added benefit is the BEAUTIFUL covers!

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

Check out my "Science in Fiction" post for Etherworld - I discussed virtual reality!


  1. I still haven't started this one. I should probably get on it huh? I loved the first book in this series, so I was thrilled when this one when up on EW. I am glad to hear that no one would die at the end, that is always plus. Thank goodness that it gets recapped through out, I have such a bad memory and can't remember much from the first book. Great review! I can't wait to read it now

    1. I think you should! Definitely binge-read the duology, if you're curious. That will help with the remembering of events!

      Thank you so much!

  2. Yay :D Gorgeous review Alyssa. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book so much. I'm curious about this series. If only I could win both books sometime, lol :D I'm so glad you like these books. The romance sounds sweet :D No triangle, yay. But aw, I always want more from my romances too, so that is a bit disappointing :\ but glad you enjoyed the book even so :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

    1. I'll be giving away book two (Etherworld) next month, but I can't help with Elusion :o I hope you enjoy the series, if you read it!

      Thank YOU!

  3. It's there in my Alyssa Recommends list! And I hope to get the first one soon-ish, once the book buying ban can be lifted!
    Yay for not overpowering romances and books with great science!
    Great review!

    1. Woot! Yes! I hope you love it, Pili! And dang, I didn't know you're on a book ban! Yeesh! Hehe. Thank you!

    2. Saving up for the payments for the house, ya know!

    3. OMG I'm doing the same at the moment... for my apartment in August. It sucks but living situations are important!

  4. I haven't read this one, but the cover looks so beautiful, and the premise sounds quite good. You have me intrigued by this one now :D thanks for sharing - Lovely review!

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. The covers are definitely a great bonus, in my opinion. Thank you!

  5. when i first heard of this book, it didn't sound interesting to me but now it is actually sound really good, I guess i will give it a try when it is released :) Lovely Review

    1. Weeeelllll, that's a sign! You should binge-read the series, Alreem! Thank you :D


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