Saturday, May 9, 2015

Early Book Review: Illusionarium

IllusionariumAuthor: Heather Dixon
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow

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.

“Fashionably late,” I said, half carrying her down the walkway. “You’ll be back in time for biscuits and punch, you can bet on it.”

She wasn’t back in time for biscuits and tea.

I stared. The scene could only be taken in by pieces, as everything all at once was too much whole.

My brain turned, fascinated and feverish.

Wow! What an excellent way to kick off the month of May! So, I have never read a book by Heather Dixon before, but I have read a lot of reviews where bloggers just cannot stop raving about her last book called Entwined. Illusionarium is a historical fiction novel with so many elements of steampunk and fantasy woven in as well. The cover is absolutely beautiful and is one of the first reasons why I decided to pick up this book; I am sucker for girls in beautiful dresses! Jonathan is our main character, and the son to one of the most esteemed scientists in Fata Morgana. Jonathan’s father, and soon Jonathan joins him, has been contracted to help discover a cure for the disease known as Venen. This disease only affects women; the queen of Fata Morgana has come down with the disease as well as Jonathan’s mother and sister. One of the things that I found most interesting about this book is the fact that there is no romantic subplot; this book follows Jonathan and highlights the love and admiration he has for saving his beloved family.

Any book that has steampunk laced within its pages must also have a degree of world building to go along with it, and let me just say that the world building in this book was one of the main reasons why I enjoyed it so much. I have read quite a few historical fiction novels lately, so I was really pleased to see this and steampunk both combined in this fantastical world that Heather Dixon has created. I usually am not a fan of books where the male is the main point of view and the only point of view, but Jonathan has such an eager spirit and is such a jovial character that you almost sometimes forget who is taking you through this journey, but instead you are just happy to be there and keen on finding out if he is able to save his mother and sister from this terrible, terminal disease.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Greenwillow Books in exchange for my honest review***

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