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, and Americans suffering from these so-called adverse effects were given an ultimatum: Serve the country or be declared a traitor.
Some people chose a third option: live a life of crime.
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 crossing a gang of mobsters, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow superpowered criminals on a job that most would have considered impossible: a hunt for the formula that gave them their abilities. It was supposedly destroyed years ago - but what if it wasn't?
Government agents are hot on their trail, and 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 that could cost them their lives.
Emily Lloyd-Jones grew up on a vineyard in rural Oregon, where she played in evergreen forests and learned to fear sheep. After graduating from Western Oregon University with an English degree, she enrolled in the publishing program at Rosemont College just outside of Philadelphia. She currently resides in Northern California.
Oh my god. Literally everyone on the planet needs to pick up this book. Absolutely hooked from page 1. I'm definitely going to be doing a spoiler free review on my channel, but WOAH. Any lover of Sci-Fi/dystopians (especially the darkest minds series because I swear it's like TDM's long lost cousin or something) wil 100% adore this book. I can't wait for the sequel!!!
I've had this book on my TBR for almost two years and I randomly decided to finally pick it up. This story was so much fun! I really loved the world and enjoyed the characters. The story had a lot of action and the plot was super interesting. I'd describe it as White Collar (the crime side of things) meets X-Men. My only complaint was there was ONE prominent female character. The only other females were merely mentioned or appeared on only a couple of pages. I really liked Ciere but it was just so weird for there not to be any other girls???? I liked the guy characters, don't get me wrong, but like.... why?? Also, if Magnus and Kit don't end up as a couple, that is a mISSED OPPORTUNITY. If you're gonna subject me to the patriarchy, there better be some queer love.
This was billed on Goodreads as The X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of "super" criminals. For the most part it delivered on that claim. The superhero elements of the story and the world building was very good. The plot was interesting, even if I do wish the heists had been a bit more exciting. The characters were as interesting as they were likable and even the villains had interesting and believable motivations for acting as they did.
This was an enjoyable read and I liked the balance of action, sci-fi, romance, and humor in the story. Emily Lloyd-Jones does not have the most engaging writing style in the world but it does not overly harm the story. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.
Rating: 4 stars.
Audio Note. Narration duties were split between Caitlin Davies, who narrated the Ciere parts, and Kirby Heyborne, who narrated the Daniel parts. Both did a good job and tried to offer a consistent interpretation of the characters.
This is so much better written than I was expecting, and the construction of the story with character revelations is expertly done. In a debut novel. Super impressive. A few niggles linger, but overall I really enjoyed it.
I've seen some people call this a superhero novel. I disagree. Yes, the folks in this book have acquired superpowers as a result of a rushed-to-market vaccine, but superhero fiction requires a bit more than that. There are a host of tropes necessary to tip a story into that subgenre, none of which are here. This is more like More Than Human and other classic sci-fi featuring psychic powers.
Anywho, I liked how Lloyd-Jones doled out the information about the main character, Ciere, as she became more competent, giving us valid reasons why she starts as kind of a screw-up crook and comes into her own by the end without over-explaining it.
It doesn't suffer from a lot of the problems many YA sci-fantasy novels do, with forced romances and overly complicated world-building. That sort of clunky dystopia dates way back to books like Wyndham's The Chrysalids. It's straightforward and bare bones, saving the complications for the plot and heists.
My only real complaint is that sometimes the prose feels like someone who has watched a lot of British TV and is imperfectly aping it. It kind of comes and goes. I was somewhat amused to see, in a book titled "Illusive" (which is clearly meant as a homonymic pun on "elusive") that a couple times she uses "clamors" when she means "clambers" -- oh, tricksy homonyms, how thou doth vex us.
I suspect Lloyd-Jones will get better with experience, with the potential to become really great, because she's starting off at such a high level.
Emily Lloyd-Jones has done it again! This was like a combination of Renegades and White Cat and I loved every second of it.
When vaccinated people get superpowers after a seemingly COVID-19 like virus (did I time this well or what?), they obviously turn to a life of crime in order to evade the government, which seeks to control and regulate them. Add in a found family vibe and some humour and you’ve got everything you could possibly want in this action-packed novel.
While it doesn’t pack the emotional punch of her later standalones, I really enjoyed this first instalment in this fun duology and can’t wait to see how it all wraps up. Now, why haven’t more people read this???
“Someone's at the gate," Kit says as he pours another swirl of batter onto the hot skillet. "Ciere, if it's your mob friends, please invite them in for coffee. Just because they're blackmailing you doesn't mean you shouldn't be polite.”
Mary's essay on obscure YA gems that deserve more praise part #something
Illusive was such a wonderful, refreshing read about superpowered humans, a solid sci fi plot with a kind of ordinary theme but nonetheless original and unique building. It had everything I wanted to read about. It had a main character who suffered trauma but did not intend to give up, had flaws and made mistakes but also cared and tried to do her best. It had a badass cast of characters, sassy and well made, layered and detailed, with a lot of representation and innovative tropes.
It also had a variety of cool, incredible superpowers, that absolutely blew my mind with their names (fun of linguistics used in fiction) and their possibilities. Not only that, but the plot was quick, full of twists and turns and mind-ruining game changers that I loved and could really not see coming. Plus, the writing was really great, easy to follow and page-turning, and compelling. Can I add something in here, because I couldn't stop thinking about it as I was reading. THIS SHOULD BE MADE INTO A VIDEO GAME. IT WOULD BE GREAT . Yeah, that was it.
Furthermore, this book was also full of humor and sarcasm, but also deeper, heartbreaking scenes, and gave me a roller coaster of emotions and kept me at the edge of my seat until the very last page. The book also did not have romance, although I am thinking that the next book will probably have. If you want to read something romance free though, this is a very good choice, as it turned out a lot like This Savage Song, where a strong bond between two characters was created but we didn't see any romance until the second book.
Since I mentioned bondings, I have to say that this book was also dotted with strong platonic bonds and family bonds, and it was absolutely incredible to see such a diversity in human relationships. It would also be bad not to add that the book had a dual POV which worked really, really well in my opinion and I was interested in both the stories of the characters and both their sides on the complicated game of chess that was the plot.
The villain was as layered and multi-sided as the main character, and he had his reasons for doing things, as well as his sensitive moments and his own motivations, that were not entirely evil. Morally grey characters are the best thing that can happen in a story, and this book had A LOT, that I really enjoyed and wanted to see more of.
Overall, I am super duper excited to get my hands on the next book, and I recommend this to everyone who wants something light and fast paced, that has a unique cast of characters and reminds them of their favorite superhero movies ♥
Until the next review, keep being your beautiful selves ♥ And as always, keep reading ♥ ~Mary
Illusive had all the potential to be absolutely fantastic, but, in spite of having all the tools, the novel didn't really do much with any of them. From the start, Illusive has a group of very interesting characters, but nothing is done with them and most of them are not developed in the slightest.
For example, Cierre, the main character and one of the POVs in the novel, had many characteristics to her that would make her really awesome and interesting, but she never moved away from just that or developed, and she never showed a particularly strong personality, so I struggled sometimes to remain interested in the novel because the story centered around her and, in spite of her abilities, her past and her current problems, the truth is that Cierre is not particularly interesting by herself and only shows initiative for making very stupid mistakes. Towards the end she redeemed herself somewhat, but her instant romantic connection with one guy and her complete dismissal of two others she had known longer and had more of a connection with rubbed me the wrong way. Some of the other characters had a bit more personality, but they were given no space to do anything else besides their roles and there was no room to explore them beyond that, which was regrettable and means I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters in the novel.
For a book that's supposed to be about high stakes, I don't ever particularly felt the tension in the book. That might be because I wasn't exactly utterly invested in the story, but the central plot of the novel lacked a bit of the complexity I would've expected for this type of book. That is not to say that it is not interesting or entertaining or that it didn't have any action, but it is fairly straightforward, whereas I expected lots of twists, intrigue, double crossings, mystery and thrilling action scenes.
Moreover, I didn't like what became of many of the characters. I felt like this book was particularly and unnecessarily cruel to many of the characters in the novel and gave them vastly unsatisfying endings. It's not that I want happy endings for everyone, and I do appreciate the gritty turn some of the stories took in the end, but, not only are most of the characters used as props and given absolutely no time and space to come into themselves as characters and important parts of this novel, but they were also treated rather badly.
Illusive is fun and fairly complex as well, but I expected more, and both, the characters and the plot, failed to deliver and break away from their preset molds. They all remained static throughout the book, and that lead for a somewhat disappointing reading experience, even though there's nothing inherently wrong with this book.
Well, it is a lot like X-Men and Ocean’s Eleven at its bare bones.
Oh, the plot is good. If you like action and reading about action this is your book.
While I might like watching Bruce Willis blow up things on the big screen, it doesn’t really work so much in a book unless I feel the characters. Because, hello, I don’t see the explosions And that was my problem with Illusive.
Character development is a huge deal for me. I really can’t connect with a book unless I like some of its characters. Or at least find something interesting about them.
Well, okay these characters seem interesting enough. They are basically like X-Men. Complete with a lead who’s suppose to be like Mystique. But she’s not.
Well, obviously she’s not blue.
But she’s not a lot of things, like having a freaking personality. Or being remotely interesting.
I didn’t feel any sympathy for her, despite the fact that she was literally in a bad position.
That is sad.
But I didn’t hate her either.
Maybe it was how the book was written. I’m not a huge fan of third, but I can understand when it is used properly. And I do think that Lloyd-Jones was right in writing this in third, I just couldn’t connect at all. And even though it probably wouldn’t have benefited the plot, maybe (just maybe) I could’ve connected to Ciere more.
The other point of view was even worse. Daniel was more or less merely narrating so that the reader could know what the evil government was up too.
Necessary, but sort of pointless.
Despite the fact that I couldn’t connect to this class of X-Men it did have wasn’t a terrible book. As I said before, I enjoyed the plot and world building. It was good I dare say. But because I couldn’t connect with the characters, I lost interest.
And you’d think that would be hard to do. With an X-Men like universe.
I mean, I don’t like some of the X-Men cast, but that doesn’t mean I gave up on the show.
Never mind, the show/comic had some characters I actually liked.
I didn’t like anyone here, except maybe the side characters and that was stretching it.
This also wasn’t exactly a shippy book. Which I know some people are going to like. Me myself, I love ships, but sometimes it is nice getting away from will so and so get together. However, I think this book was in definite need of something and maybe a ship or two was it.
I had Illusive on my shelf for awhile. I like superheroes, and while there were aspects of this one that were done quite tastefully, the character development (or lack of it) sort of ruined the book for me.
I enjoyed this book so much I literally want to throw it in people's faces. And yes, I know what "literally" means.
I don't think I've ever seen comps done justice like ILLUSIVE does to "X-Men meets Ocean's 11." It's suspenseful, thrilling, witty as all hell, full of fantastic characters and great dialogue, and really well paced. It's probably the longest YA I've read this year, and I wasn't nearly ready for it to be over when it was. As it is, I'd punch a lion for the sequel in my face right now.
Basically, if you like fun things, read it. Like, if you like fun AT ALL, you should be reading this book as soon as you can get your hands on it.
ETA: I should also mention, if you're tired of every YA having a romance, THIS ONE DOES NOT. I wanted to bang pretty much everyone in it, though.
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!
"Protecting the immune and saving the world?"Daniel says,but his sarcasm sounds hollow even to his own ears. Aristeus smiles."Something like that".
This book in only two simple words
The action we had through the whole book,the immunes,the fights,the plans all of it it is so X-Men,not like a copy of it but the feel of it.Personally I am a big fan of these movies so naturally I loved from the synopsis this book.I mean come on,read this and tell me you're not at least a little intrigued
The X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of "super" criminals.
My dream comes true.At first I must admit I was afraid this would be a copy but how damn wrong I was.Like I said super action,super characters,super powers,super world.Congrats Emily Lloyd-Jones for this masterpiece.I gave it only 4 starts because I have a habit you see to rate the first book on the series almost never 5 but yet this book wasn't perfect.(moment of truth:this book could be longer just saying I would happily reading it if it was even 800 pages).One thing that I immediately knew from the first page I would never get bored of this book and this time I was damn right.Again,we had an "X-Men action",it was practically like watching a movie like those.
Action is the motto of IllusiveAre you in a reading slump?Pick up this book!You want X-Men action??Pick up THIS boo!Seriously it can solve many problems.
Anyway,let's get deeper into the story.Sooo..Ciere Giba,an illusionist!I loved her,she is incredibly smart,funny,a loyal-good friend and a kick-ass heroine.
Running isn't new to Ciere.Running away from danger has always been her standby.But running for toward danger?Now,that's a new one.
She did some stupid stuff and decisions but overall her actions were understandable not completely all of them but most of them.At the beginningI didn't know what to think of her but after the first chapter things got much clearer!
Devon...He is freaking awesome!Such a nerd and a hacker,honestly.I love very much his friendship with Ciere
"What was I supposed to say?"Ciere hisses,dropping her voice to a whisper.""Yeah,sorry Kit,but I'm being blackmailed by a mob boss.Got any cookies to go with our tea?" "Of course not,"Devon replies,straight faced."Ask for the biscuits and then tell him about the blackmail.I doubt he'll be inclined to feed us when hears your news".
Did I mention his hilarious and a the bestest best friend in the world?!?Yeah,he is!I also love how protective he is,and how worried he is for her
Then we have Daniel and Alan,again,big crush on both!Well,Daniel confuses me,I liked his POV,I liked how he didn't told them about Ciere.I must mention that love is in the air.Now,the exactly same thing happens to me with Alan.Alan is clearly one of the most interesting characters in this book.I loved how he cares about Ciere.
She's sure she's going to either trow up or throw herself over the edge,when Alan's fingers lock around her upper arms,holding her in place "Look at me,"he says again."Ciere,just breathe.Your immunity-it's part of you.You can't access it if you're fighting it."
Now,we have Magnus-Kit-Aristeus!One thing for Aristeus,he scares the hell out of me!Kit..Kit is amazing.He is the kind of character you immediately love ans understand and in my case respect.I mean he saved Ciere,he took care of her and she was alone,he did everything for her!He acts like a dad to her,like a boss too,like a friend too.She means a lot to him and we can see it.He is also funny but the sarcastic kind of funny and damn smart..more like intelligent!
He shuts the door and locks it."This is why I never had children,"he mutters,scowling."Tell them to clean their rooms,and they leave their socks everywhere.Tell them to eat their vegetables,and you find them sneaking candy.Tell them to keep a low profile,and they rob a bank in the middle of Newark!"
Magnus..a sassy mentalist for sure!I loved how he acted,I loved how he cared for the whole criminal group.Finally his bromance with Kit!! ^_^ I want so badly to share some of his moments!!
"Combination digital lock and password,"he says without preamble."Eight,three,five,nine,six,one.The password is "ad valorem".He twists in his seat so he can look at Devon."And I didn't even have to remove any of her clothing."
Kit lets out a breathless little laugh."God,that stings.I'd forgotten how much being shot hurts." "I'd forgotten how much getting shot makes you whine,"Magnus replies,cracking open the first-aid kit. "You certainly know how to make someone feel better."
My expectations for this book weren't great,they were pretty average to be honest but at the end I got soooooooooooooooo much more.This series is really promising! **fingers crossed**Hope the second book would be even better than this one!Emily Lloyd-Jones is a genius,an X-Men genius.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
This book, for me, was extremely, extremely hard to get through. From the very first page I didn’t like Ciere. She was weak willed and stupid; her mistakes and blunders caused people their lives. For a thief she was incredibly stupid, acted selfishly, lacked common sense and a good sense of her surroundings and was constantly causing trouble for characters that I actually liked. She lacked the confidence one has to possess to be a good crooked character (example Kat from Heist Society). She didn’t have any moves. If there is one word that can describe Ciere; it would be: useless. She’s made out to be a good thief but we know in the very first chapter that she isn’t even good at that. She makes the most amateurish blunders. And nobody likes to read a book with a useless main character. I wanted to be mesmerized by this story. The blurb promised X-men meets Oceans Eleven. Maybe it had a bit of X-men but believe me, there was no Oceans Eleven. The stakes weren’t as high as they were portrayed to be. The actual thieving was non-existent. The one that we actually heard about was so stupid and immature that it completely disappointed me. Plus the fact that Ciere was NOTHING but a HUGE screw up was awful. Most of the time I wanted her to be caught and murdered. All book long I was like maybe now, maybe now she’ll redeem herself but nope. It never happened.
The only interesting characters in the entire book were Kit, Magnus and Aristeus and the story of their origins, which was left unresolved. I think this would’ve been a great book if the plot revolved around Kit and Magnus and their misadventures. Not a teenage girl who’s too afraid to do anything useful for most of the length of this book. she made the plot boring. Most of the time she was just lurking around hiding in shadows feeling claustrophobic. Then she gets cocky and causes trouble for everyone and then goes to being a useless muppet again. I absolutely HATE her.
In retrospect I get that Ceire is made out to be the weakling that she is to accommodate the plot. If she weren’t a God awful thief and a useless pathetic lump then the plot would be completely different. Sigh. Such great potential wasted.
And its not just Ciere. This book is just a whole mess of every character messing up at some point to cater to the plot. To keep everything moving. Its ridiculous really.
I absolutely HATE the way Ciere treats Devon, like he’s her servant and was born for the sole purpose of catering to her every wish. I get that Devon was more of a comic relief but he lacked a personality. He acted like being treated like a commodity by Ceire was his calling in life.
I suppose the end was a tiny bit satisfactory. Though I did want to know the story of Kit, Magnus and Aristeus.
I LOVED the plot and action in this book! And the concept of thieves with extraordinary powers that came as an adverse effect of a vaccine is pretty cool too. But I wasn't emotionally invested here and didn't completely fall in love with the characters. The ending was badass though so I know I'm definitely going to read the sequel!
This book was awesome, I'm always a fan of books where the main character has superpowers and this one did not disappoint. I truly can't think of much to say because I enjoyed this book so much. Ciere's short-sightedness was a little annoying at times but other than that, this was a fun, up-all-night read. I can't wait for the next installment!
Ciere is immune. After a virus spread across the planet, a strange new vaccine was created and distributed rapidly among the public. It wasn't until later that people began to have certain side effects. Immune people popped up everywhere, given incredible powers from the vaccine. Ciere has been trained to use hers for thievery, until she and her mentor and best friend are involved in a con that may just lead them to the secrets of the vaccine.
This book isn't great, but it isn't bad either.
The characters are probably the best part of it. Ciere and Devon's totally platonic friendship was a complete joy to watch and be a part of. Her mentor, Kit, was unique and lovely, Magnus was an interesting take on a character usually used for a female (plus, the sexual tension between Kit and Magnus was incredibly palpable), and the villain was entertaining, to say the least.
The plot was quick, never really hitting a slow point in the entire book. However, the worldbuilding falls completely flat. The explanation on how they suddenly have all these powers was seriously underdeveloped, but then again, books about people with superpowers usually are.
Another thing I noticed was that everyone was a little too 'good'. Even the villain isn't such a bad guy, and it's difficult to tell which side you should even be on. There were also too many male characters. Ciere was cool, sure, but every other main character was a guy, and the one other sort of main female character was taken away only a quarter of the way through the book.
If you can ignore the fairly cliche 'kids with powers, future city with disease, war in the past' aspects, and weak worldbuilding, it's a very enjoyable novel. A fun, entertaining ride with likeable characters and an easy, readable plot.
A bit disappointed. Illusive has almost all it takes to be a great book. Almost.
The biggest problem: flat characters. I couldn't bring myself to care for these characters. The main character, Ciere, is so stupid that she made me want to weep, I'm not kidding. I wanted to put on my best Sheldon-Cooper-face and tell her how stupid and oblivious she was. It has been a while since I actually loathed a female protagonist so much and I didn't expect to hate Ciere, because young criminals are my favourite kind of main characters.
Sadly, this issue made me see every single flaw of the book. I know I would have liked the book more if I had liked the characters, because the plot and the concept aren't bad at all. The book itself is fast-paced and enjoyable (though the character development is missing) and as I said the plot is quite good, but overall I can't help but feel a bit disappointed.
Picked this up on a whim and so glad I did, this book is chalked full of amazing superpower elements, wonderful witty writing and thee best chemistry amongst thieves and thugs. Even though I was missing my dose of romance since this provided zero, we still have some lovely light tension that I'm wondering and hoping will be explored in later books. But what lacks in romance totally makes up in action, intrigue and thrills. Instant favorite!
This was such a fun read. I heard it being described as a mix of X-men and Ocean’s Eleven and it is… ish. It is slightly less clever than Ocean’s, but definitely just as entertaining. Because that is what this book was, very entertaining. Even though it is with its 406 pages a bit on the longer side, I read it in a single sitting.
In the future described in this story, a virus has swept over the world which kills off millions of people. The vaccine that is created to save mankind has the side effect of a 0.003% of people developing a special ability. Think of incredible photographic memory, an ability to escape from everything, creating illusions, reading peoples minds when touching them, heightened physical powers, or making people do whatever you want. What I really like about this book is that, yes it is the first book in the series, but it is not an origin story. All the characters in this book have their powers and know how to use them. There isn’t a lot of explanation. Things are stated as they are and the reader just has to keep up with it. This made it a very refreshing read for me. There is just enough information given, without info-dumping. Basically, the author nailed the world building.
This is a YA read, which I rarely pick up because I Hate romance. I guess there was a tiny hint of romance, I guess something to come following books (but so hope it doesn’t), but in general there were just friendships. One of which is between Ciere and Devon. Like the powers, this friendship has been well established before the start of the book and the reader just has to deal with it. All the relationships are very well written and feel real.
The characters themselves are somewhat simple, but still likable. There is very little background given, nor is there any character development. Maybe this comes in the sequel… Then again, it was very nice to see a flawed cast of characters. Yes, Ciere keeps things to herself and she does some stupid stuff. So she isn’t perfect. This could become really annoying, but in my opinion there was just the right level of stupidity in this book. The minor characters are very interesting and I hope they will get more story time in later books.
Overall this is just a really fun read. It doesn’t have mind blowing writing, genius plot twists or amazing character development. It is simple, it is fun, it is entertaining
Ciere is a great thief, and not just because of her ability to create illusions. (She's not that good at it really.) But her last heist of $40,000 put her in trouble with the mob, and her next heist is being eyed by the Feds. It'll take quick thinking and good friends to get her out of this trouble.
I love books about superheroes, so ILLUSIVE had one point in its favor when I started. I'm not big on dystopias, especially ones based on plague, so that was a point against it. In the world of ILLUSIVE, a small percentage of people developed powers after being given the vaccine for the plague. For some reason, the vaccine was outlawed and the formula destroyed instead of everyone trying their hardest to get superpowers. (I mean, c'mon? Good health and a chance of superpowers? Go for it.) Those that are superpowered are mostly snatched up by the government. The ones that aren't are mostly criminals who hide their abilities. In a way, it is a similar setup to Holly Black's WHITE CAT.
ILLUSIVE switches between two points of view: Ciere and her fellow crew member Daniel, who has been captured by a very dangerous man. They're good friends, but circumstances are pitting them against each other. I really liked and sympathized with both characters. Honestly, you'd think the plot would be the highlight of a book centered around a superpowered heist, but I adored the character actions.
However, that meant I was let down by the ending. I think two characters in particular were badly served by their comrades for no reason. Ciere leaps into danger to save someone she's known for days, while dismissing two friends from her life. One gets a rather cutting farewell and the other is left to be a virtual slave. Characters I'd gotten to know and care about were shoved aside in favor of the new guy.
That being said, I'll be there with bells on for a sequel. ILLUSIVE was fun, fast paced, and offered some genuinely thrilling twists. Plus, superheroes.
Eh. This is a case of my expectations being too high, I think. I liked it, but it reminded me a lot of The Darkest Minds, only not as awesome. I'm curious enough to pick up the sequel, though. Maybe on audio since I really like Caitlin Davies' narration and Kirby Heyborne has really grown on my over the past few years. That's assuming they keep these same narrators, though. I hate when they change it up.
First read, January 2015: This book was incredibly awesome, and I absolutely adored it. It's entirely possible that my love for this book comes from the fascination with superpowers/heroes/villains I have right now, but if it's all the same to you, I still want to marry this book and have pretty babies with it. Amazing, just amazing! <3
SO GOOD. AWESOME ACTION AND PLOT. Took away 0.5 stars because the characters made dumb decisions, but otherwise SO cool. And the ending?! THE FRIGGIN ENDING. I literally yelled out OMG and threw my book down.
One difficulty associated with being on the interwebs at all times is that I often can’t recall where I found a recommendation. My browsing process goes like this: click on a shiny link!, read about book, decide it is for me, go straight to library website, place hold… perhaps leave a comment? But most likely just close out the window/tab, and go on to the next blog post. Related note: I need to keep better track of the reviews that inspire me to click – and eventually read – books! Credit *must* be given. I don’t know where I heard about Emily Lloyd-Jones’ debut Illusive, but I do know that YA sci-fi + organized crime + superhero capabilities ticked several of my favorite boxes. I picked it up from the library and read it straightaway (well, almost straightaway… $1.40 in fines is pretty much immediate in my world!).
Ciere Giba is a seventeen year-old criminal in a near future where a devastating virus decimated the world’s population and its cure (the untested Praevenir formula) created superhuman powers in a tiny percentage of the vaccinated. War is/was inevitable. War between nations, war between regular citizens and the immune (those with ‘adverse effects’), and war between the feds and the crime syndicates. Ciere lives with a crew of freelancers, working mostly art heists, when a series of jobs gone wrong and last-second decisions lead her into the path of the mob, the feds, and an even more dangerous foe. Survival just got a lot more precarious…
Oh goodness, this book was fun! It was a rush of a story, with fights, betrayals, identity issues, crackdowns, burglaries, puzzles, and rooting for the underdogs! All of those things kept the plot and pace moving, and the writing was pretty great too. See this bit, from page 137:
“Her heartbeat picks up, her pulse fluttering through her neck and wrists. She loves this part, loves the moment before she pulls off a job—the heat, the cold, the rush. It’s terrifying and delicious, like teetering out over the edge of a building, her fingers tight on the safety railing. She can see how everything could go horribly wrong, but that rational part of her is tamped down, silenced by the beauty of the fall.”
If the idea of a cross between Holly Black’s Curse Workers series and X-Men sounds #awesome, then this is the book for you. If you want gray areas in motivations, secrets that could break apart groups (and agencies!), and crime from the insider’s perspective, you’re golden.
That said, as soon as I put the book down, I started considering the setting (can we call it worldbuilding if it’s sci-fi?), and I noticed a couple of gaping holes. It was one of those, “I liked the book so much! But… now that I think about it…” experiences. Hate that! But let me tell you my quibbles (perhaps they will be insignificant to you!). First, twenty years in the future was not that futuristic. Cellphones, internet, cars, computers, GPS – they all functioned in the exact same way they do today. Which, I get: write what you know (present day). But this is supposedly the future, and I am (apparently) picky about sci-fi. Update those little details that give sci-fi an extra boost of imagination, okay? Okay.
Second (somewhat related to the previous point), the mechanics of identifying the inoculated and immune tested population… were so basic! Plot point: people have to carry around physical identity tags, and if they don’t, they can get hauled away. Identity TAGS. No instant blood testing, retina scanning, facial recognition, chipping… nope. This is a world where counterfeit = easy, because there aren’t even hologram drivers licenses. I call foul. Even if you take a hit population-wise, I don’t think the tech side of things would regress that much/unevenly. Or at least explain why it has!
Other annoyances: the set-up is slow and confusing, so even though action is moving right along, Ciere’s world doesn’t come into focus until several chapters in. This might tempt other, less-patient readers to put the book down. Also, this story is just full of dudes. Ciere is the main voice, yes, but she’s the only female with any significant part in the story. That bummed me out, because the book did so well otherwise in the diversity stakes.
YES, I’m here to tell you something good instead of complaining anymore! Diverse characters! Front and center. And (I’m pretty sure? It’s not explicit, but I assume?) gay representation as well. Also, though Ciere is the main character, you also see things from the viewpoint of Daniel, one of her crew, now forced to work for the other side (gasp!). The dual viewpoints enhance the plot (100% more twists!) and character development, as each operation is ‘visible’ from both sides.
Concluding thoughts? Illusive was a fun but flawed take on superpowers, survival, and honor (or lack thereof) among criminals. If nothing else, I liked it because I like intelligent cons. Even though I wasn’t completely satisfied by the final product, I want more. I will read the next book just to see what Lloyd-Jones does with all of those loose ends.
Recommended for: fans of young adult sci-fi (light on the sci-fi elements) and superhero stories, and anyone who liked Holly Black’s White Cat.
My first impression upon finishing this book was, That's all that happened? It's not by any means a bad book, and some people might like it for what it is, and I clearly thought it was "okay" given the two star rating, but after over a week later, I barely remember what happened until I read the summary again.
What we're lacking in Illusive is both character development and plot. We see characters with special abilities because of some freak vaccine that was meant for curing a disease, and we see the terrible way people are treated by the government because of having these special abilities developed as a side effect of the vaccine. As an aside, it's an awesome side effect, by the way - I would love to develop some superhuman powers, but I say that knowing that I wouldn't be a murderer or a thief, like the main character in this story is.
But then that's it. That's pretty much all the world building we get out of it. We see the classic case of main character trying to do some job, bad guys try to thwart them but things get shifty and confrontations occur and then BAM some final epic battle happens. I pretty much summarized the entire book.
The characters are also kind of flat, too. There are some interesting backstories going on, but other than that, the most frustrating part of reading all this was me wondering how everybody is connected. Sometimes I didn't even see a reason for why each person's relationship was as strong as what it told us it was. It felt more like we were told what the relationship was rather than being shown how that relationship came to be as strong as it was. And for a story, that is incredibly important.
So while I can't gush excitedly about this book, I can say that it is a decent read and I wouldn't be against recommending it out to others. It's just not a book I'd read again, or one where I'd look forward to sequels, if there are any.
ILLUSIVE is one of the most incredible books I have EVER read. This book blew me away.
The writing style, the pacing, the plot, the characters...the INCREDIBLE concept. Everything about ILLUSIVE was top notch. I was shocked that Emily Lloyd-Jones was a debut author. ILLUSIVE was written like a movie. I would not be surprised if, in the next few years, it found a place on the big screen. In this futuristic thriller, the world has been saved from a plague by a new drug. But a side effect of that drug, for VERY few people, are strange superpowers. We start out the story with Cierre, an Illusionist. Cierre can create any illusion that she wants on herself and her surroundings.
The story is fast-paced and SO well thought out. Cierre and her best friend (a boy who has a power that basically allows him to remember anything AND hack into any system out there) are tracked down by a gangster that tries to black mail them. Cierre is given a choice: Give the gangster a buttload of money, or be turned into the Feds, who will either imprison the Immune people, OR force them to work for the government. After a series of crazy events, Cierre and her friend end up in the middle of an extreme heist. I don't want to give ANYTHING away in this book, because I just floored me. I never wanted it to end, and I'm dying for the next one already. I just couldn't believe the fact that this plot, and the third person present writing style, which is rare in YA, were all done by a debut author.
I don't have a single complaint about ILLUSIVE, only that I have to wait for the next one for a looong long time. Congrats, Emily Lloyd-Jones. Your debut is a masterpiece, and I'm already pre-ordering a finished copy. WOW