Category Archives: 2 Star Rating

REVIEW {39} Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

ELUSION
SERIES: Elusion | Book #1
AUTHOR(S): Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: March 18th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
EDITION: Paperback, 400 pages
ACQUISITION: ARC from publisher
CATEGORIES: Review, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Virtual Thriller, 2 Star Rating, 2014 Release
RATING: 2.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.60/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Soon Elusion will change the word and life as we know it. 
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.
MY THOUGHTS: I went into this book unsure of whether I’d really enjoy it, because virtual thrillers really aren’t my cup of tea. Dystopians – yes, computer ruled futures – not so much. But the cover of this book was just too beautiful to ignore, so when I ended up with an ARC, I knew I had to give it a go.
The first thing that I noticed, is that the concept of the story really didn’t seem that unique to me. I didn’t at any time really find myself wanting to continue reading the book so much as I wanted to finish it so I could get a review up. The writing itself was okay, I don’t think it was necessarily spectacular or horrible in any way. I did have issues with the world-building though. It’s set in a “Near Future” Detroit, but they are suffering from pollution (and something called Florapetro?) and acid rains which require 02 masks and special umbrellas to be used nearly 24/7. There is mention that the rich usually are above the pollution clouds in their penthouses and offices, so they can go without and even open their windows sometimes. While this leads me to believe there is a caste system of some type, this isn’t really explored past explaining vaguely the different Sectors the residents live in, and what they are like now. There also isn’t any explanation of why the world is so polluted, so you’re left assuming why it happened.
There were only a few instances as well, where we got to experience Elusion with Regan, the main character. Users can go into Escapes (pre-existing destinations such as mountains or Thai beaches. etc) with other people using an invite code, and no one is supposed to be able to be injured in an Escape. Users can experience Escapes in 1-hour increments and they are equipped with wristbands that have an emergency button that yanks them out if trouble occurs. But no trouble should ever occur, right?
The main character Regan lacked in my opinion, the characteristics of a kick-ass heroine. In fact rarely did she manage to do anything on her own, and required damsel-in-distress saving from either her best friend, Patrick, or the new hottie bad-boy, Josh. I really had no connection to Regan whatsoever, and never felt for her. She seemed quite gullible, and didn’t seem to have much common sense. She tended to believe what she was told, and acted really offended and surprised when she realized that the bubble she lived in was slowing losing air.
The fact that Patrick was supposed to be Regan’s best friend was lost on me. I didn’t feel any type of connection between them, and even Patrick’s affections towards Regan bordered on creepy-stalkerish. Especially considering he kind of had something going on with one of Regan’s classmates, Zoe. I never at any point wanted these two to get together.
Josh’s character wasn’t one I connected with either. He was fueled by his own personal problems – his missing, possibly Elusion-addicted sister, Nora. When he meets up with Regan, she suddenly finds her world turned upside down – not sure who to trust and believe – but she seems to put all her faith and trust into Josh… even though they barely know each other.
Overall, I just wasn’t able to get into any of the characters, and with the lack of world-building I wasn’t able to really enjoy this one. I know it’s gotten good reviews and ratings on Goodreads, but this one just wasn’t for me.

I RECOMMEND THIS TO: Fans of sci-fi, virtual thrillers where society relies heavily on technology and giant corporations willingly risk the health and safety of citizens with little or no remorse, leaving it to a group of teenagers to bring them down.

SIMILAR READS: Starters by Lissa Price | Glitch by Heather Anastasiu 
Happy Reading!
Laura

REVIEW {34} VENOM by Fiona Paul

VENOM
SERIES:Secrets of the Eternal Rose | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Belladonna #2
AUTHOR: Fiona Paul

PUBLICATION INFORMATION: October 30th 2012 by Philomel
EDITION: Hardcover, 435 pages
ACQUISITION: Borrowed | Library
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Thriller, Italy, 2 Star Rating, Philomel, Review
RATING: 2.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.79/5.00 (pre-release)

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.
When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin… and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.





MY THOUGHTS: I adore historical fiction. Anything set in Renaissance Italy really gets me excited to read! Unfortunately, I was let down by this tale. I found there to be some inaccuracies in the setting and time period, as far as what was occurring in the story. These parts didn’t detract from the overall story, however I can see some people turned off by it. While I did notice them, I would not necessarily say it ruined the book for me.

I had trouble connecting with Cass, the main character. I really didn’t feel anything towards her, or what happened to her. If you are a teenage girl of marrying age, engaged to someone, you shouldn’t be out traipsing about with another man, one of a lowly station at that. And – one who creeps around cemeteries at night, lies to you, keeps things from you, etc. I wasn’t a fan of Falco, at all. In fact, I really didn’t like any of the characters. I believe that they were well written, I just didn’t have any characters that I was interested in knowing.

The writing style itself overall was decent, but the story didn’t go anywhere for me. It was one of the slowest plotted books I’ve read, and that definitely affected the overall rating that I gave the book. You really don’t learn anything – except two things that are major factors in the book; who sent Cass the creepy letter and was at the Dubois party whom she danced with; and what Falco does for a living that was his “big secret”. As far as what the Order of the Eternal Rose is? No idea. Cass’s Fiance mentions it really quick in the few last pages of the book, but that’s it. I’m all for leaving some strings untied at the end of the first book of a series, but this one literally left everything untied, and I felt no satisfaction when I finished the last page and closed the book.

“How terrible it must be to be a member of the noble class. So many rules. Such restraint. You must feel like a caged bird, battering its wings against the side of it’s golden prison.”

One thing that I did enjoy about the book, is the overall darkness and creepiness of it. It definitely had that going for it. I am curious to see how the series continues, but I don’t know if I’ll read the actual book, or just other blogger’s reviews. There could be potential if the plot picks up in the second book, and if there is more depth to the characters and some questions are answered.


SIMILAR READS: The Innocents by Lili Peloquin | Gilt by Katherine Longshore | Dark Star by Bethany Frenette | The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkowski

Happy Reading!