My Rating: 5 of 5 stars :star :star :star :star :star
Source: eARC via HarperCollins | Edelweiss
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date of Publication: May 19th, 2015
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.
This was just the book I needed to get me out of my reading funk! I'll be honest, I wasn't just in a reading funk but a bit of a life funk and this book as the ultimate distraction.
I was excited by it when I saw it and received the ARC. However, I started hearing (or rather, not really hearing too much) about it and heard a lot of mixed reviews. Although I try not to let that affect my judgement, I went into it feeling a bit trepidatious to say the least. I wasn't expecting much.
My first foray into a Heather Dixon novel proved to be extremely successful. I know understand why readers sign her praises so well. :O
This book read effortlessly. I'm not sure how, but I passed hours reading this that I didn't really know I had to spare! I was sucked in, almost from the beginning. The novel was written so well, and so imaginatively—that it felt like I was watching a movie. And we all love those books best. The ones that are so vivid with characters who jump off the page and spark our imaginations. The ones where we think to ourselves: "boy, this would be a kick ass movie!" And maybe they will make it a movie, I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
Parallel worlds. Steampunk Victorian era imaging. A male narrator, male pov, male protagonist. (waits for the eyebrows of those who are reading to be lifted 100%) ^_^ Seriously, I love the treat that is male point of view in a YA novel. Give me more!!!
There is not a sappy romance that takes over the book, either! We have family at the heart of things. A moral compass, and the young man Jonathan Gould figuring out if he has one—and what that means. Being an illusionist is such a cool concept. It's the concept of a drug that is released in the air that can cause you to hallucinate. Thing is, some people have the talent or gift of being able to munipulate the illusion. You can stop time. You can free the air, cause lighting anything. You just have to be able to envision the entire thing at a molecular level. How genius is that? If that isn't an imaginative idea for a story—well, I don't know what is.
Dixon followed through and really had me immeshed in this world full of Illusionists and No'dol a parallel of London that has dystopian vibes with alternate history written all over it. At the center is family and the kind of sacrifice one is willing to make for their sister, mother, friends, and fathers.
This novel will take you for quite a ride through alternate worlds and monsters and horror, where the main character Jonathan isn't sure he has a moral compass. I sure did love the ride.