Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (2 out of 5)
I took this one because it had a great cover. And it seemed to be steampunk, which I enjoy as a genre in my young adult reading. The premise held promise; all seemed well. Jonathan’s a normal guy, until the king sweeps into the port of Fata Morgana, and he and his father are asked to work on finding a cure to a deadly plague that is sweeping the world. He works with a chemical called fantillium, which causes hallucinations and or illusions. Jonathan finds himself a little more than enamored with the effects of this chemical, and HE begins to illusion. Why not? He’s just a normal guy, with no super powers, and feeling inferior to his sister and the cocky commander Lockwood, but now he can do something that no one else can do, so he sticks with it. However, as things often happen, the paths between right and wrong get wicked gray, and his family’s lives are at stake as a result of his illusioning shenanigans. Will Jonathan do the right thing?
This book seems to have all the perfect components for a great read; alternate universes, some good humor, great characters, and what you believe is going to be an adventure like none that you’ve read before. After all, that GORGEOUS cover. But I have to admit, it was just okay. Okay, that’s not fair. It was good, but it ended up being like a thousand other books I’ve read before, down to the “sudden” romance between two characters that everyone could see from the first page were infatuated with one another, and therefore, “destined” to have something. I did roll my eyes at that, because I saw it coming. As I’m sure a good many readers did. Again, not bad, just not the fantastic, mind blowing book I would have hoped to read.