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.(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you most likely know there is not a book coming out this year that I was more excited for than this one. I have been waiting for this book for years.
It was worth the wait.
The story begins with the king visiting Jonathan’s father, one of the most distinguished scientists in the kingdom. The queen has been striken with a plague simply called “Venen”. It only effects women, and once they catch it, they have only five days to live.
The king brings with him a newly discovered chemical called “fantillium”, which was previously thought to be useless. But once breathed in, the chemical can create shared hallucinations, or, if an Illusionist is present, complex and breath-taking illusions.
Jonathan is an illusionist, and a very powerful one. But he gets kidnapped by someone he thought was his father’s mentor, and brought into another world, known simply as Nod’ol. There he is told that if he illusions well, he will be given the cure for Venen, and be able to heal his mother and sister, who have caught the plague as well.
Naturally, it’s not that simple.
Heather Dixon stood up to my expectations and surpassed them. Like with her previous book, Entwined, the world building was fantastic, all the characters were unique and interesting. There were a couple of big twists in the plot that keep you on your toes, but aren’t big enough to loose you.
And her monsters…oh, her monsters. I found the idea of Rivens both fascinating and terrifying, something to both gawk at and draw away from. I won’t tell you any more, or risk giving a spoiler away…but let’s just say I finally get why she was pinning all those weird, creepy pictures onto her Pinterest board.
But anyways, back to the book.
Illusionarium is a Steampunk novel, one of the first I’ve read, and I find the genre fascinating. The way she wrote this world made it seem like it’s far in the future, with advanced technology, but at the same time it’s back in Victorian times. Really interesting.
This is also the first book I’ve read where I actually enjoyed the footnotes. They were funny and sweet, and they added an extra depth to the narrator and to the book as well.
All in all, this was a fantastic book, and was well worth the three year wait.
So, today’s my final day in San Fransisco, which means that starting tomorrow I’ll be back to posting a post (that sounds weird) once a day. Promise.
Also, during this trip I’ve had the time to start watching Supernatural. It’s pretty interesting so far.