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Illusionarium by Heather Dixon


by Heather Dixon

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I loved this story! I loved the idea and especially loved the Rivens! I was told by the author (cause I know her which makes me super awesome) that I would like this book if I liked Dr Who. I could totally see the Rivens being on Dr Who.
The only thing I didn't love about this book was how rushed it was. I'm always griping about how every book is a series these days, but this is one book that would have made a great series!
I wish I had been able to get to know the characters better.
A great book, a great plot! I look forward to more of Heather Dixon's books.
( )
  mollypitchermary | Oct 11, 2017 |
This blurb is not the story. Here is the story- There is a plague that only kills women and the queen is dying from it. Jonathan's father is a well-known scientist and he has been called on to help. Jonathan's mother and sister get the disease. The woman who trained his father wants Jonathan to help her save another world. From things get really complex but now you have a better idea about the story. One of the things that I liked best about this book is that there is no romance in it. The main relationship is between Jonathan and his sister.The magic is really interesting and very different. Only some people can do magic but it eats away at them. It makes them very deformed in body which changes the way that people interact with them. They are both desired and rejected by society. This is an interesting and unique young adult novel.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library. ( )
  lrainey | May 4, 2016 |
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. ( )
  kmjanek | Apr 20, 2016 |
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. ( ( )
  waclements7 | Mar 21, 2016 |
Review originally posted on my blog, Dee's Reads

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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.

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.

I recommend this book to those who love steampunk thrillers and fantastical alternate worlds. ( )
  Diamond.Dee. | Jul 3, 2015 |
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As apprentice to his father, the second-best medical scientist in the empire, Jonathan leads a quiet life in a remote aerial city until the king arrives, calling on them to find the cure to a plague that has struck the capital city and put the queen's life at risk, but the newly discovered chemical, fantillium, that may help will also put at risk all that Jonathan holds dear.… (more)

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