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Show Me Who You Are

Go on a heist—accentuated by superpowers—with the characters of Emily Lloyd-Jones’ Illusive.

Show Me Who You Are

BOOK REPORT for Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Cover Story: Comic Book-Esque
BFF Charm: Maybe?
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: She Said, He Said
Bonus Factors: Superpowers, Smooth Criminals
Anti-Bonus Factor: Pandemic
Relationship Status: Innocent Bystander

Cover Story: Comic Book-Esque

The big, graphic type combined with the illustrated helicopter and cityscape and the shadow of the girl make this cover feel very much like a noir-y comic book. I dig. The tagline, though? TERRIBAD. And that typeface? Less would most definitely have been more in this case.

The Deal:

They say hindsight is 20/20, and in the case of the creators of the vaccine for the MK virus, the unforeseen consequences of attempting to stop a deadly virus from killing off a majority of the worlds’ population certainly weren’t expected. No one could have known that the Praevenir vaccine that saved lives and ultimately led to the MK virus dying out would lead to humans developing superpowers. Nor would they have thought that the U.S. government would treat these individuals, considered “immune” or having “adverse effects,” as less than human or instruments to be used in any way the U.S. government wishes.

Ciere doesn’t want to be put into a prison, nor does she want to be forced to work for the government. So she turns to the only other career path left for people like her: being a criminal.

BFF Charm: Maybe?

Ciere is an interesting girl. She’s got superpowers—she’s an illusionist, which means that she can make others see what she wants them to see—which, typically, would warrant an automatic “yay” charm from me. However, I’m not quite on board with her nefarious lifestyle. I understand that it’s basically the only option she has when faced with prison or forced employment to The Man, but it’s a hard life, and a dangerous one, too. I think I’m too much of a weenie to get involved with someone like her.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Ciere is one of two female characters in a book full of males, but only one catches her eye. Their time together is fleeting, but full of moments that could lead to swoon were the two to have a little more time alone. (Or a sequel to be written.)

Talky Talk: She Said, He Said

In Illusive, Emily Lloyd-Jones splits the chapters between Ciere’s POV and the POV of one of her teammates, Daniel. Ciere has a strong presence, but Daniel feels like a secondary character, which makes his chapters a bit jarring to the reading experience. While we learn a lot about Ciere’s backstory, and her feelings on what it is to be “immune,” in her chapters, Daniel’s are only used to show a little of what’s going on with the government. I would have prefered Lloyd-Jones to stick with Ciere; a little suspense goes a long way in a book that aims to live up to “X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven” hype.

Bonus Factor: Superpowers

The Praevenir vaccine caused a variety of “adverse effects”: telepathy, perfect recall, increased intuition, hypnosis, and the ability to create illusions, levitate and/or manipulate one’s own body. They’re all pretty badass abilities, and although no one person gets them all, combine a group of people who have them separately and you get …

Bonus Factor: Smooth Criminals

Ciere and her team are all “immune.” With their powers combined, they make a fantastic team of criminals. They’re not always the best at what they do—I mean, some of them are still teenagers with all the crazy business that comes with being that age—but they’re on their way to being a well-oiled machine.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Pandemic

The idea of a virus that can decimate a population in a matter of months is TERRIFYING. And a little too close to reality than I’m comfortable with.

Casting Call:

Evan Rachel Wood as Ciere

Relationship Status: Innocent Bystander

Although I enjoyed your premise, Book, your execution left a little to be desired. Your characters were fun and your plot exciting, but at the end of our date, I felt a little let down? Perhaps it was because I wanted more swoon—the mere glimpses left me wanting more. Or maybe it was because when I reached the end of your story, I felt like we were only just beginning.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from Little, Brown, but I received neither a private dance performance from Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Illusive is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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