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Illusionarium

Illusionarium

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Illusionarium

évaluations:
3.5/5 (4 évaluations)
Longueur:
333 pages
3 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
May 19, 2015
ISBN:
9780062311870
Format:
Livre

Description

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.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
May 19, 2015
ISBN:
9780062311870
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Heather Dixon is the author of the acclaimed Entwined. By day, she is a storyboard animator and artist. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.


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Meilleures citations

  • One of those female insects that, after they mated, would bite off the male’s head and lay their eggs in his body so that when larvae hatched and burst through his headless body’s abdomen, they would eat his entrails.

  • Every page I flipped through had been drenched, blotted, splashed, and scribbled over with black ink, rendering the book entirely illegible. Divinity’s chiming laugh escalated as my hopes sunk like an airship on fire.

  • Taking a page from Lockwood’s book, I dove at him like a released spring, knocking him into the wall with the full force of my shoulder, stirring up the audience below.

  • We had clearance to see the queen. The king, Captain Crewe told us, was taking a cold walk around the perimeter of the city to keep from bash- ing the walls in.

  • I assured Anna with: “Airguardsmen scout like mad for this kind of thing. And Lockwood’s the maddest of them all. He’ll see it.” “So will everyone else,” said Anna forebodingly.

Aperçu du livre

Illusionarium - Heather Dixon

DEDICATION

TO MY GRANDPA DIXON,

THE NUCLEAR PHYSICIST & PHYSICS PROFESSOR.

A MAN WITH AN UNFAILING COMPASS.

HE’S PROBABLY ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE WITH

THE EQUATIONS I’VE PUT IN THIS BOOK.

CONTENTS

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Acknowledgments

Back Ad

About the Author

Books by Heather Dixon

Credits

Copyright

About the Publisher

CHAPTER 1

Fata Morgana (Class. A Aerial City)

December 16, 1882

When storms like this hit Fata Morgana, the snow blew horizontal, glaciers formed over the buildings and walkways, and nothing—not airships, not light signals—could get through.

I sat at the top of Fata Morgana’s semaphore tower, a tall, spindly telegraph structure in the center of our aerial city, looking out over the ice-encased rowhouses that receded into the howling blizzard. The sky glowed a bright polar blue.

Once more, I braced the levers on either side of the light signaler and twisted them forward, clicking and flashing a red-coded message out the shutters and into the bitter cold:

ATTN: LADY FLOREL KNIGHT -- VENEN INFO REQ. -- SYMPTOMS, TEST RESULTS, CHEMICAL BREAKDOWNS, ETC -- DR. H. GOUDEN -- ASAYAW

The message was dead important. It was a light signal to Lady Florel, the empire’s head medical scientist, calling for more information. A highly infectious disease, the Venen, had sprung up in the center of the empire’s capital city, Arthurise. Since we were residents of the northernmost mining city, we’d only just received the news by light signal two days ago. My father, the second-best medical scientist in the empire, had read the transcript with furrowed brow and had me, his medical apprentice, send out for more information.

And then the storm had hit, making it impossible for light sigs to pass through.

But that didn’t stop me from trying. I stolidly braved the storm several times a day to send the sig out again. To no avail; the storm choked the light like a snuffed candle.

The movement of something below, traversing a nearby walkway, caught my eye. A figure struggled against the storm, seemingly headed nowhere, wrapped up in a thick coat, a scarf, and an academy skirt.

"You’re joking," I said. I only knew one person stupid enough to come out in a storm like this.¹

Slamming the sig shutter closed, I broke the ice from the door behind me and ran/slid down the twisted staircase and into the icy inferno outside.

The storm assaulted me in sheets of slivered glass, stinging my face. I could only just see the figure up ahead, clinging to a railing. Taking a breath, I plunged forward into the storm, ignoring the burn of the cold.

When I reached her, I gripped her around the waist, looked around frantically to get my bearings, and made for the nearest building: the observatory.

The observatory was the large, cavernous building, with massive wooden doors and marble pillars, where my father worked. We stumbled up the stairs and through the doors with difficulty. I pulled her down the entrance hall and into the empty library, where a large heat lamp hummed in the center of the room. The warmth seared my skin. Annoyed, I turned on the figure.

Hannah, you idiot! I said.

The figure had thawed enough to throw back her hood and scarf, revealing the beaming face of my fourteen-year-old sister, Hannah.

Jonathan! she crowed, her blue eyes bright.

You nearly killed yourself out there, you know that?

Jonathan, there’s a ship!

You were lucky I was there!

"At dock seven! And not just any ship! It’s the Westminster!"

That gave me pause.

"The Westminster? I said, confused. Not . . . the king’s airship?"

Hannah nodded, so excited she couldn’t stand still. "I was hurrying home from classes and I saw something through the snow at the top of dock seven and so of course I had to take a look and it was! It was the Westminster, Jonathan! And it’s the most beautiful airship I’ve ever seen. It looks like a giant cake dipped in gold!"

Oh, come on, Hannah, I said. "The king’s airship? What the devil would the king be doing this far north? In a raging storm, no less? Anyway, I’ve been in the sig tower all day and didn’t see a thing. You were having a polarage."²

No, Jonathan, I swear! Hannah protested. I hardly saw it, as well! Only because dock seven’s near the academy. I’m not lying! Not this time, anyway.

I warmed my hands in the aura of the heat lamp, and examined her. With her drenched coat and dark, dripping hair, she looked like something the storm had chewed up and spat out.

It didn’t diminish her a bit. Hannah was an absolute sort of person. She could stand there, leaving a trail of water on the dusty library rug, and yet command attention from just the delight in her eyes and the whip of her voice.

Unlike me, of course. I could only be described as sort of. Sort of tall. Sort of thin. Sort of brownish hair that was sort of curly and sort of not. I wore the same thing every day—a vest and cap and trousers that were all sort of beige. I was sort of smart, but not as smart as Hannah, who was two years younger than me but outdistanced me in every subject save anatomy, biology, and mathematics.

I have a hypothesis, Hannah said excitedly. For why His Majesty’s here. Would you like to hear it?

Not really, no, I said.

All right then, here it is: remember the sig that came a few days ago, before the storm hit? About that horrible disease in Arthurise?

The Venen, I thought, remembering the light sig. A blood infection. Two weeks ago, it had reared its head in the Old London sector of Arthurise and had already claimed several dozen lives.

But the truly odd thing about the disease was this: it only infected women. And those it infected, it killed.

Hannah continued eagerly:

"I bet the research is going really poorly, she said with delight, and Lady Florel is having difficulty, and she needs another scientist’s help, and that scientist would have to be Papa!"

I considered her.

Polarage, I said.

Jonathan, it really is there! Hannah cried. I even took the lift to the dock!

Polarage.

"I even saw the queen through the aft windows! She was in her nightgown and she really does wear all those long strands of pearls!"

"Right, now I know you were having a polarage," I said.

Jonathan! Hannah wailed.

The library doors banged open, sending echoes fleeing to the ceiling. A gust of bitterly cold air blew over us, and we froze, seeing the man who filled the doorway. He wore a thick, perfectly fitted blue coat, had a graying beard that formed to a point under his round face, buggy eyes, and hands that could snap necks. He stomped into the library with such utter confidence that each stomping bootfall said CLAIMED.

I immediately recognized his sovereign visage. It adorned paintings and newspapers and Arthurisian coins. His Royal Highness King Edward VII had come to Fata Morgana. Hannah had been right!

Six men followed into the library after him in crisp blue uniforms and tall boots, sword clasps at their necks. Northern airguardsmen. The soldiers that patrolled the Arctic sector of our empire. Their ships often came to Fata to refuel or trade, and the men would even attend shows at our tiny theater. But now they stood guard, militaristic and grim.

Where is Dr. Gouden? the king boomed at me.

Hannah and I exchanged glances.

In the laboratory, I said, keeping my voice steady. We could take you to him?

Good idea! the king snapped.

My father, the only scientist who remained on Fata through the long polar winters, worked on the second floor of the observatory. I hurried through the dark, cavernous halls with ice growing up the sides, the king and the airguardsmen marching after me, feeling a bit stunned. Hannah, jittery with excitement, ran on ahead.

I was familiar with my father’s laboratory. I’d been his apprentice for nearly a year now. It was stuffed with cupboards and counters and microscopes and tables, laden with koch dishes and books and every shape and size of furniture crowded into whatever space was left.³ It smelled of chemicals and old wood.

My father looked up from his work, with Hannah already hovering beside him, when I arrived at the doorway. The king and the soldiers brushed past me. My father smiled, carefully removed his reading glasses, carefully folded them, and carefully tucked them into his apron pocket. He was a careful man.

"Goed sneeuwmiddag, said my father, who was from the Amsterdam sector of the empire and often spoke HoLander in greeting. Your Majesty."

He did not seem surprised at all to see the king here at Fata. Perhaps he wasn’t. He wore his collar upturned in the old-fashioned way, and a heavy apron with his cravat tucked in, and the rest of him looked like me, thin, with his curly brown hair and yellow-brown eyes. He had a solidness to him that I didn’t have, and wished I did.

Are you Dr. Gouden? the king said.

I am.

You are the scientist who found the cure to the London Fever?

The antitoxin, yes. I did.

Three days ago you received a light signal. About the Venen. Since then, it has become much, much worse. We need your help.

My father’s brows furrowed.

Will you have something warm to drink? he said to the airguardsmen, noting their frozen state. You’re all quite ice.

Within minutes, the king had seated himself among the eccentric furniture, the airguardsmen standing guard around him, their hands clasped behind their backs, and Hannah and I hurrying to make tea for them at the orthogonagen stove in the corner of the laboratory. I pulled a lone mug from the empty cupboard, and it looked like it hadn’t been washed in a week. Hannah made a disgusted noise in her throat and swept from the laboratory to find more mugs in the other observatory rooms. I set a kettle of water to boil, listening to the conversation between the king and my father.

Less than a hundred had caught the fever, two weeks ago, said the king. Now there are eighteen thousand. Everyone is under quarantine. Lady Florel is helpless.

My father frowned, touching his clasped hands to his mouth as the king explained the Venen. I listened keenly, washing the mug over and over in the laboratory sink.

The highly contagious disease turned women’s veins black. It robbed them of their strength and snuffed the life from them in exactly six days. No one knew where it had come from, and no one—not even Lady Florel Knight, the empire’s top medical scientist—knew how to cure it. The empire needed my father.

My father worried the pages of his research notebook.

I am no Lady Florel, he said.

You don’t have to be, said the king. I’ve brought her here with me. You will research with her.

My father brightened and straightened up in his chair. He had apprenticed with Lady Florel when he was my age, and even now, years later, admiration shone in his face.

That is wonderful! he said. Allow me to gather my things—

A moment, said the king, cutting my father short. From the inside of his coat, he produced a tiny vial. It caught the light and danced and shimmered between the king’s fingers. The black liquid inside glittered. I couldn’t pry my eyes away from it.

Lady Florel has found a new method of research, he said. A rather incredible method of research. And she insists you study it—now—before you see her.

My father paced unhappily as the airguardsmen pushed the furniture to the sides of the room, opening an area of space around the orthogonagen stove. I could tell he did not like his laboratory changed about, and he did not like being told how to do his research. He crossed his arms as the king instructed me to remove the lid from the boiling teapot. It sent steam billowing into the air.

This is fantillium, said the king, shaking the little vial. It was discovered with orthogonagen, nearly a hundred years ago. We thought it useless—until several days ago, when Lady Florel discovered it to be a valuable research tool. And very unusual, too.

My father and I drew back as the king uncapped the vial and held it over the kettle. Three drops fell like black pearls into the boiling water. The steam around the stove grew opaque and glistened.

Breathe it in, said the king.

"You are certain Lady Florel wishes us to use it? said my father. We ought to be spending this time collecting blood samples and speaking to Lady Florel, not playing with some unknown chemical—"

She will not see you unless you do, said the king.

And that was that.

My father inhaled the steam first, and cringed. Then it enveloped me, several feet behind him, and a strange sensation filled my lungs as I breathed it in. It was like swallowing frosted spurs, or a scoop of diamond sand. The air prickled, freezing my throat and coating my lungs with frost. The steam that had been hot in our faces turned burning cold. Frigid.

The light above brightened painfully. I winced. Every highlight on the jars and glasses around us seared my vision.

Turn down the lights, the king commanded. The airguardsmen, outside of the steam’s reach, obliged.

The room fell dark, but I could see every piece of furniture perfectly. The clock in the corner ticked the seconds unbearably loud. I glanced at my father. His yellow-brown eyes had become black. He stared back at me, frowning, and removed my glasses to peer intently at my eyes.

They’re dilated, he said.

So are yours. I smiled, and wasn’t sure why. The pulse of blood through my veins gave my fingertips a fizz. My heart pounded. And yet, I was entirely calm. I felt asleep and awake at the same time.

Lady Florel discovered, said the king, "that diluted with steam and inhaled, fantillium can give shared hallucinations."

Stunned silence. I put my glasses on and looked about, half expecting hallucinations to jump out at me among the rows of jars. Nothing moved.

I see nothing, said my father.

There is one more element needed: an illusionist, said the king. The illusionist envisions something in his head, you see, and the illusion appears before him and everyone else breathing the chemical. Lady Florel believes that illusionists are quite rare. They must know science—and have the talent to envision little bits of chemicals that everything is made of. I have tried to illusion and cannot. But Lady Florel can, and she believes that you, Dr. Gouden, will be able to, as well.

My father tugged his ear. He seemed uncomfortable with the whole situation.

You know what water is made of, don’t you? the king continued. The very basic structure?

Yes, said my father. One part oxygen and hydrogen twice. It is so.

Very well. Now, imagine those bits in your head. Exactly what they are made of.

My father bit the side of his lip and grimaced. Sweat beaded on his forehead. He held out a trembling hand. In the center of his palm, a glistening droplet of water formed.

You did it! I said, stunned. I dared reach out to touch it. It felt absolutely real and left a sheen on my finger, as actual water would.

The king looked relieved and considerably happier than he had the entire afternoon.

Well done! he said. Try more! A lot of them! Make a rainstorm!

My father closed his eyes, shaking.

Ping. A drop of rain pelted the tile by my foot.

Ping. Another drop fell on my shoulder. And another—ping—and another—ping ping ping. Rain sprinkled and then poured, pattering against the large oak table and checkered floor, the counters, the shelves and sink, and over the three of us. I shivered as rivulets ran down my neck, and peered up at the ceiling. The beams had disappeared into mist.

My father gaped upward, looking slightly frightened.

If it’s true, I broke in, excited, that a person can illusion small things, like water . . . temperatures would be even easier, wouldn’t they? All you would need to do is imagine the molecules spreading apart—

The moment I thought it, the weight of the idea whorled in my head and warped my vision like a fever. An actual physical sensation. It pulsed with my heartbeat, down my neck and chest to my fingers. It emanated from my skin like vapors.

Whoosh. A void in my head made the laboratory spin.

White.

When the world righted itself, I stood in the midst of spinning snowflakes. They fell cold on my head and glasses and hands, white crystals melting into drops. Snow began to frost the jars on the counters. I laughed aloud.

Your apprentice! the king said, delight in his booming voice. He can illusion, as well!

Grinning, I glanced through the swirling flakes to see the airguardsmen standing at attention against the walls of the room, regarding us warily. Far out of reach of the kettle’s steam, they surely couldn’t see the illusion. Behind them, in the doorway, Hannah clutched an armful of dusty mugs and stared at us with wide, frightened eyes. What did we look like to them? Laughing at invisible snow?

Try something more difficult, said the king to me. Try—say—a pocket watch.

In spite of the cold, sweat pricked my scalp. I thought of the mechanics of a watch. Metal gears. Springs. Glass. The sweat dripped as I tried to create iron, forming gears and screws in my mind.

The weighted thoughts expanded in my head and suffocated me. I gasped for breath as blotches filled my vision. Falling to my knees, I swallowed until my head cleared. It was like breathing water. No illusion appeared before me.

It must only work for small things, said the king, disappointed.

This is a toy, said my father, spinning the temperature wheel on the stove. The boiling halted, and the frigid air that had coated our lungs dissolved into nothing. It took my pounding senses and utter peace with it. The snow faded. The room darkened. Reality eased back in.

What use could Lady Florel possibly see in this? my father continued. It isn’t scientific. It is trickery.

"She has explained something of it to me, said the king, picking a koch dish—a round glass bowl about an inch deep—from the counter. You grow the Venen disease in these dishes, correct? Lady Florel has said that she can illusion time to go faster. So, the disease grows more quickly, and you can test it immediately."

My father shook his head unhappily.

I’m afraid you have no choice, said the king, his voice growing hard. "We don’t have time to waste time. We only have four days."

Four days—?

The queen has fallen ill! the king snarled.

A crash sounded at the doorway. Hannah had dropped the mugs she held, her hands to her mouth, her face pale, shards at her feet. I grabbed the broom, suddenly feeling sick. So the queen was ill. No wonder the Westminster had braved the storm and the king’s face had such desperation in it. Everyone loved the queen.

Gather the things you need, said the king, face red from either anger or shame. He nodded with stiff politeness and made to leave. Captain Crewe will see us to Lady Florel as soon as you are ready.

CHAPTER 2

"The queen is ill?" my mother whispered, arriving at the laboratory not long after the king had left, her face pale as a snowstorm. Hannah had run to fetch her from our row house, because our family was close and this was News.

My father answered her by pulling her into his arms and kissing her in front of the airguardsmen who remained in the laboratory. Hannah nearly fainted.

Well, if anyone can cure her, our father can, I said, smiling reassuringly at my mother as I prepared my father’s satchel. My mum was someone you never wanted to upset, as she was so quiet and sweet. Quite the opposite of Hannah, really.

In four days? said Hannah. It took nearly four years for Papa to find the cure to the London Fever.

Working with Lady Florel will speed things up, I said, shrugging.

"But four days? said Hannah. Even with that awful chemical—"

"Hold off, it wasn’t awful, I said, remembering how calm I had felt, and my focused, bright vision. It was different, but—"

It was awful, said Hannah, whipping around to face me with flashing eyes. All three of you, staring up at the ceiling like demons had taken up residence in your head—

Hush, said my father, and we both fell silent. I could tell he agreed with Hannah. We will speak to Lady Florel and see what can be done. Jonathan and I shall probably be sleeping here, in the observatory, he added to my mother, apologetically. My mother embraced him and promised to send Hannah with hot meals, and the four of us stood there in the laboratory, gathering strength from one another.

I embraced my mother as well, gently, because I’d outgrown her at age twelve and if I squeezed her too tight, she might snap. You didn’t crush flowers, you didn’t squeeze birds, and you didn’t break your mum.

"Jonathan, please don’t let your father bring the

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  • (4/5)
    Fascinating alternate reality where the same people exist in both realities, but in very different ways. The two worlds meet when a fantillium (gas necessary for causing illusioning) addicted woman from Nod'ol upsets the order of things in her quest for greatness, dragging the hero, Jonathan, with her. Jonathan is from the other reality, where fantillium and illusioning doesn't exist. When the women in his world, and then his mother and sister, start to fall ill with a disease that kills in six days, it ends up falling to him to find the cure.I really enjoyed the writing style, including Jonathan's little asides to himself. The world building was good--Nod'ol is one bizarre place, from the clothes to the affects of the fantillium and the whole Masked Virtue. The secondary characters of Lockwood and Anna were interesting. Divinity was harder to relate to, but Constantine had a surprise or two.I absolutely adored "Entwined," and was very curious to read this. It's so different the two can't really be compared (other than maybe the forest where the dancing took place and the fantillium having some things in common, and family, and masks, and time...LOL okay, there are things in common)--they are very different, and both really enjoyable. I recommend it. (
  • (4/5)
    Original, clever, page-turning... imaginative! Parallel worlds, realistic illusions, quick action, intriguing one-of-a-kind characters and adventure! The ILLUSIONARIUM is a plot-driven story about a teen trying to save his mother, sister, and all the women in his city from a deadly plague. Jonathan is an apprentice to his father who the King has sought out to create an anticdote as quickly as possible to save the Queen and stop the plague from spreading and killing more women. Jonathan is quick to turn to any means possible to make this happen and disappoints his father by going behind his back to try to learn more about a hallucinogenic gas that can distort reality. His father quickly dismisses the idea in toying with something so unknown and dangerous. But Jonathan is hopeful and determined to prove him wrong and chases after the one chance of hope that can change everything. But what will Jonathan have to do in order to get the antidote before it's too late???Jonathan was such a fun character to read about; his sense of humor and snarkiness really kept the story moving along. Even though he seemed a bit immature and naive at times, he still held his own quite well and dealt with the matters that were thrown at him in the best ways that he could. Sometimes you have to literally be in that character's shoes in order to realize that what he did was the right decision at the time. He's sweet on one red-headed girl; but this story barely touches upon it. There is no love story on display here. Although, Jonathan does get briefly distracted a few times, it just made him more realistic to me. The world building is truly imaginable, magical and movie-worthy!There are aerial cities, airships and human creatures. I was able to picture everything and smell every smell, the good and the bad, with every word on the pages. Just like in ENTWINED, I was able to cling onto every word and understand everything that was happening in every way. For those who love steampunk fantasy with a hint of historical fiction, plot-driven stories with magical elements! There's something here for everyone!!!*An ARC was sent to me from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
  • (4/5)
    Jonathan Gouden is an apprentice to his father, who is one of the best doctor/scientists in Fata Morgana. Jonathan is close to his sister, Hannah, and to his mother. He is planning on going to university to get his medical degree. Fata Morgana is located north and above London, where they do not get too many visitors. Until the day that the King of England shows up begging for a cure to the Venen. Venen is a mysterious disease killing all the girls and women. No ones knows where it came from. It is up to Dr. Gouden to try to find the cure. The King provides Dr. Gouden with a hallucinogenic drug called fantillium, which may hold the key to the cure. Jonathan soon discovers that the fantillium opens gateways to parallel worlds. The reader will find themselves in Nod’ol, which is a dark and scary world, destroyed by fantillium. Illusionarium is set in a steam driven society filled with airships and Victorian-like gadgets.I think this book is a good addition to a high school steam-punk collection. The characters are pretty well developed, the dialogue is good, the setting is intriguing. Overall, the book is an enjoyable diversion. There is a romance that crosses worlds and a strong moral conviction that weaves its way throughout the story. There is nothing objectionable in the content for a high school student. The fantillium may have harsher repercussions than meth, but it is fictional.This book would be a good choice for pleasure reading, a in person or online book club and would garner interest if put on display for students before a school break. It is a quick read. The cover will probably appeal more to girls, but the main character is a boy. The secondary character, Lockwood, would also be very popular with boys. There is fighting and action, mixed in with the mystery and romance. Personally, I enjoyed it and will be recommending it to my students.
  • (2/5)
    Oh, I’m so disappointed that I didn’t like this book! The characters turned out to be flat from the beginning and didn’t start to develop personalities until the last 10-20% of the book. Jonathan is the main character that is a rare illusionist. What’s really nerve racking is he keeps switching from normal English to proper 1800s Queen’s English (which is the setting for the book). Lockwood was an awesome character… in the second half. It’s almost as if he has two completely different personalities in the book because the Lockwood in the first half is not the same as the one in the second half, and there’s no transition for character development. He did turn into a fun character to follow. He’s a knight that’s very good at what he does, and has a quirky attitude. The biggest aggravation ever is over his missing eye. There’s a story there, right? A knight with an eyepatch? He even STARTS to tell the story TWICE in the book, but for some reason or another the author leaves the readers hanging and just cuts him off. We’ll never know Lockwood’s story. Constantine is a misshapen beast of a man the characters come into contact with in a parallel world. He really has a one track mind- only wanting a girl named Anna- and doesn’t care about anything else. He plays a major part in the book, but he’s really one dimensional because of his I-want-Anna-I’ll-kill-you attitude. That’s really all you ever hear from him.I have a hard time describing the two worlds because the original world we’re given isn’t properly described until we’re already in the next world, and then it’s Jonathan pointing out the differences. His world apparently had sleek, metal airships while the new world had wooden ones but we didn’t learn that until pointed it out halfway through the book. In my mind I had already pictured a Peter Pan-ish flying pirate ship (just for the heck of it). What really gets to me is this entire book is about characters on drugs. Yes, you heard that right. DRUGS. Apparently getting high on fantillium makes certain people superheroes and you share hallucinations for fun. I wonder if fantillium gives you the munchies? Oh, and if you use it too much your body spontaneously starts to split or grow extra bits and pieces. Why? I have no idea. I also noted several times in the book in which the author fell into the evil trap of telling-not-showing. “This happened, he did this, then we did that.” Those parts were boring and slowed down the story- mostly causing me to skim over parts.One thing I did enjoy in Illusionarium is the hilarious footnotes. Ever so often Jonathan would have something snarky to add to his narration or to the end of someone’s sentence and it was added as a footnote. Those I did enjoy.Overall, Illusionarium was not for me. The drugs, flat characters, and lack of world building and explanations just didn’t add up to a credible story.
  • (4/5)
    I got a copy of this book to review from Edelweiss (thanks to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for providing this copy for review). This was a very intriguing and slightly bizarre read, that I ended up enjoying quite a bit.Jonathan and his father live in a cold and ice-covered region; Jonathan's father studies medicine. Suddenly Jonathan’s father is called on to help find a cure to a dangerous plague. It is a plague that targets only women and it turns their veins black until they die meer days later. Another doctor has found that the drug fantillium induces hallucinations that allow the user to manipulate space and time; fantillum could be a wonderful help in trying to cure this virus. However, Jonathan’s father refuses to consider it’s use...even after Jonathan finds he is something of a prodigy at using fantillium. Racing against the clock and trying to save the lives of those he loves Jonathan defies his father and sinks deep into the secrets of fantillium to uncover a world of secrets beyond his imagination.This is a very intriguing and bizarre book and it is completely different from Entwined. There are some very cool ideas in here. The way fantillium works and the idea of alternate realities controlled via illusion was incredibly creative and very thought-provoking. I also enjoyed the idea of Rivening, a genetic and mental response to too much time spent living across multiple realities...this was very creepy and very cool at the same time. The whole story is very much an alternate history of sorts with elements of fantasy throughout.Jonathan is a compelling character. He strives to save his sister, along with her best friend (and his kind of sweetheart) by seeking knowledge quickly and recklessly. He is a noble character, but reckless and many times he doesn’t consider the outcome of his actions. I enjoyed the plot a lot, there were many twists and turns and all of them were interesting. I really enjoyed the creativity of this book, it was just completely not what I expected.My biggest complaint was that the book felt very rushed at the end. The story was going along wonderfully and then suddenly everything was quickly tied up and BAM it was over. Also I had some trouble with the characters, especially secondary characters. None of these characters were all that likable or engaging.Overall, I enjoyed the plot, the world, and some of the ideas in here. I had a bit of trouble engaging with the characters and the story felt rushed at the end. The book was a quick read and I enjoyed it and found it intriguing. It’s a story that very different from a lot of other YA literature out there. I would recommend to those interested in parallel realities or steampunk-like reads.
  • (3/5)
    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: A decent YA sci-fi read set in an aerial city, but not nearly as good as I had expected.Opening Sentence: When storms like this hit Fata Morgana, the snow blew horizontal, glaciers formed over the buildings and walkways, ad nothing – not airships, not light signals – could get through.The Review:I had very high hopes for this book, mainly because some of my fellow bloggers included Illusionarium as one of their most anticipated reads for 2015 so you can imagine my surprise when it took me a while to become engrossed in the story. In the end, I decided that it was a bog-standard ‘good’ read. Not fantastic or thrilling as such, but fairly interesting.The story is set in an aerial city in 1882 and is told from Jonathan’s perspective. I particularly liked the way he describes people, for example, his sister Hannah was an ‘absolute’ kind of person, whilst he was ‘sort of’ and some people were ‘much more’ than others.I could only be described as sort of. Sort of tall. Sort of thin. Sort of brownish hair that was sort of curly and sort of not. I wore the same thing every day – a vest and cap and trousers that were all sort of beige. I was sort of smart, but not as smart as Hannah, who was two years younger than me but outdistanced me in every subject save anatomy, biology, and mathematics.Unlike the average hero, Jonathan doesn’t think he’s anything special, he’s not as smart as Hannah, not a fighter like Lockwood; he’s the kind of person that would walk by unnoticed. So being able to illusion is a huge surprise, but his newly found power is also dangerous. His inner turmoil between right and wrong is tested when his family’s lives are at stake, and it makes you think, how far would you go to save the ones you loved?My favourite character was the cocky Lieutenant, Lockwood. He brought the humour to the story and made me chuckle with his attempts at romance, the poor thing didn’t have a clue!The race to find a cure, and the battles in Nod’ol – hard to describe but it was like an alternative dimension, think ‘London’ backwards – brought an element of excitement into the story. As the story progressed there were a number of action scenes, which were fun to read, especially when it involved Jonathan and Lockwood since they have a love-hate relationship but were, mostly, fighting on the same side.I’m always looking for unusual aspects to a book, something to make it stand out and with Illusionarium it was the footnotes. Now and again, the author would use a footnote to insert Jonathan’s more personal thoughts. Usually, footnotes provide extra detail or a reference point but the way footnotes were used in this book weren’t boring at all!Notable Scene:“You’ll turn full Riven. Your face will split into two faces and your hands into lots of fingers and you’ll have extra eyes and ears and toes and pretty soon your heart can’t push blood to all of it. And then your brain starts to split, and that’s when people really go mad, all those disconnected thoughts, and that’s when you die,” she finished.1818 With far too much relish.Additional Notable Scene:He glanced at Anna, who was blushing even redder at her teacup, and I caught that Look again in his one eye. The watching-airships-exploding helpless Look.I stifled a cough. Lockwood was dead in love!What, already? My thoughts overthought. It was months before I’d even noticed Alice. I still hadn’t plucked up the courage to talk to her. But Lockwood was an absolute sort of person, wasn’t he? He wouldn’t fall in love like tripping over a brick. He was the sort to rear back, run, catapult over the side of an airship’s railing and fall, fall, fall into love before smacking into the Ocean of Delirious Wanderings.2222 Which would sever his limbs from his body on impact, causing Death by Unmitigated Joy.FTC Advisory: Greenwillow/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Illusionarium. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.