Author: Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Summary: A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.
Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.
Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.
Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.
That last sentence in the summary really gave me some high expectations. But this book didn’t really live up to any of them. It wasn’t particularly suspenseful or thrilling, and the romance was fairly unexciting. The virtual world wasn’t anything amazing and a few key points about it that should have been explained weren’t (or maybe I missed it during my bored skim reading) and I felt like Regan, the main character, didn’t really “go far” to discover anything. I can’t help but wonder how much you have to pay someone to write a completely untrue summary for your book, or if the author just writes it themselves. That would explain a lot.
So in this book, Regan’s father has created a virtual world that people can use like an app on their phone, to slip into beautiful places that used to exist in nature before the world became this disgusting place that it is, apparently with acid rain and where people need oxygen masks to go outside. But after his tragic death, his protégé Patrick (lovesick boy #1) takes over and turns it into a fantasy land of bright colors and rainbows and riding comets through space. Basically, it’s so people can have an acid trip without having to take any acid. But now, people are going into comas and there is a super secret web of lies in the company that Regan is just so determined to find out.
Regan is a fairly helpless main character. She is not really capable of coming up with plans or ideas on her own, she is stubborn to the point of idiotic, and kind of dull. She falls instantly for the mysterious bad boy Josh (lovesick boy #2) and lets him convince her to risk her lifetime friendship and life on multiple occasions, after knowing him for like two days. I honestly think they knew each other for maybe two weeks. Why am I even surprised anymore? She had everyone else do all the work for her or she conveniently found clues, but clearly none of it was because of her own hard work or brilliance. Regan doesn’t really have much meat to her, I can’t even tell you anything about her personality, except that she basically lets other people tell her what to think and follows along like a puppy. Seriously it was so back and forth, Patrick was telling her nasty secrets about Josh and she was so shocked that Josh was a liar. But then Josh wasn’t, so he told some nasty secrets about Patrick so how Patrick can’t be trusted, etc. It just went on and on with no end in sight. Loyalty obviously isn’t in Regan’s vocabulary.
Patrick was the golden boy, the childhood friend that everyone thought would end up together, and Regan is finally starting to have feelings for him. But then, of course, dark and mysterious Josh rides in and she doesn’t know what she feels anymore. Oh, the drama! These boys were so cliché. Paul thought they were meant to be together but never makes a move then gets pissed when some other guy comes and swoops up his girl, and secretly has kind of a dark, violent side. Josh looks like a bad boy but is soft on the inside, all the bad things he did was for his sister, and he just can’t help but love Regan because they have a connection. Cliché. I really felt kind of bad for Patrick, everything he did was just suspicious and evil in Regan’s eyes, he didn’t stand a chance. And can I just say something? Do you ever have it where the love interest has just such a terrible name that you hate him for it and can’t ship them together because his name is so bad? Like hmmm… Patrick? Seriously, why would she give him that name? Why would I want the heroine to end up with some guy named Patrick when she would have Josh? It seems silly, but I honestly just can’t even give some guys chances because of their name.
As for the plotline, it seemed like not much happened during this book. There was virtually no background story to explain why the world is the way it is, what’s happening, nothing. The world building was basically non existent. Seriously, they are in Detroit, but it seems kind of like a nicer version? Minus the acid rain and horrible air quality? The whole thing with the firewall and her seeing her dead father wasn’t particularly interesting, and the few mysteries were very predictable. One of the things that bothered me was the tech talk. It was like they were trying to be advanced and sound all sophisticated but it was almost silly. For example, they were trying to hack in and Josh whipped out his super tech skills to save them by typing in //4DV4NC3D 534RC|-|5020// which looks complicated, right? Except do you notice anything? Like that it is basically just saying “ADVANCED SEARCH 5020” with numbers? Nice try, but I’m not that stupid. Also, the fact that no one seemed to think that Elusion would be addictive, besides crazy conspiracy people, was totally stupid. When you read that this program puts you in a super shiny fun world and your brain releases all it’s happy juice and everything feels good and fuzzy, don’t you immediately go, “Hmmm, that sounds like a super addictive drug…” But apparently, in this book, the whole world is just stupid.
The ending was not only predictable, it was very abrupt, but not in a good cliff hanger way, more like, well nothing made sense or was even remotely explained, and this sucks. None of the characters were relatable or likable, the storyline was not very interesting, which was very disappointing, and I have absolutely no desire to read the next book. I have to wonder how two adult women can work together to write this book, and neither of them realizes how horrible it is. No wonder they are friends, they both clearly have awful taste and little to no writing skill. So the rest of us get to suffer when books like this are put out on the market. Thanks.