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Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Firewall

Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam. Just how deep does the rabbit hole go?

Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Firewall

BOOK REPORT for Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

Cover Story: Sunshine and Lollypops and Rainbows
Drinking Buddy: I'm Not Worthy
Testosterone Level: Virtually Awesome. Virtually.
Talky Talk: The Plot Thickens
Bonus Factors: Detroit, Max Headroom
Bromance Status: That Weird Conspiracy Theorist Who Vanished One Day

Cover Story: Sunshine and Lollypops and Rainbows

This is the sort of cover that YA authors dream about. A girl, an orb, a field of flowers, weird gears...I'd pick it up. However, I'd have this pegged for a fantasy novel, rather than the science fiction work it is.

The Deal:

It's a dark, miserable day in Detroit. The air in unbreathable, crime is rampant, the economy is tanking, and the citizens look to any desperate means of escape.

It's also the future. I guess I should clarify that.

Regan, while not poor, is having a rough time of it. Her scientist father was recently killed in some sort of futurey space accident. Her mother is taking his death badly.

Regan likes to escape into the world of Elusion, the virtual reality environment invented by her father. Hell, anything's better than Detroit. Elusion is set to become the next big thing, thanks in no small part to her best friend Patrick.  Patrick, the boy wonder of the tech industry. The guy who took her father's idea and made it shine. The super rich, super handsome guy who's been friends with Regan her whole life. A guy who thinks the world of her.

But taking the plunge with her bestie isn't so simple. For instance, why does that obnoxious girl, Avery, swear there's something sinister going on with Elusion? Who's this handsome guy Josh, who shows up out of nowhere with his mysterious past and bulging pecs? And why does Regan keep seeing her father when she visits Elusion?

Drinking Buddy: I'm Not Worthy

What I like about Regan is that she doesn't fall into the stereotypical girl being wooed by two suitors trap.

Patrick: I'm rich and handsome and want to take you to the moon in my flying BMW.

Regan: Yeah. So what can you tell me about these internal memos about the danger of Elusion?

Josh: Someone order a side of beefcake?

Regan: Let's talk about those assault charges from last year.

I know you want your readers to fall in love with your main character, but damn, this girl intimidates the hell out of me.

Testosterone Level: Virtually Awesome. Virtually.

So Elusion is can pretty much make all your fantasies come to life, from vacationing on a tropical island, to mountain climbing and other places that are not Detroit.

However, if Elusion is supposed to take you into your dream world, something is missing.

I mean, maybe it's because this book was written by two women, but if virtual reality were real, I know what kind of scenario I'd like to experience.

I think all the guys out there will back me up on this. You know what I'm talking about.

Am I right?

Talky Talk: The Plot Thickens

So at first, Regan dismisses Avery's slander about Elusion. Her father was a great man, there's no way he'd release an unsafe product, especially one marketed to teens. And Patrick would never place profit over safety. She knows him better than anyone.

But what's up with all the comatose kids they've been finding? What's that weird number that keeps popping up in the virtual and real world? Why did her father leave both Regan and her mother a battered copy of Thoreau's Walden?

Oh, the mysteries go on and on. Just what is hiding behind Elusion's firewall?

Bonus Factor: Detroit

"We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes." 

Seriously. That's the city's motto.

Bonus Factor: Max Headroom

Not really, of course, but the Elusion corporation apparently has the same mission statement as Network 23.

If you don't get the reference, you wasted the eighties. Wasted them.

Bromance Status: That Weird Conspiracy Theorist Who Vanished One Day

Remember that guy who was always going on about the Men in Black and the Bilderbergs? Too bad he moved, he was a riot. He did move, right? RIGHT?

Disclosure: Elusion was one of those books that Posh sent me but the Post Office failed to deliver, so I had to pay for this myself.

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.