1:15 pm EDT, March 17, 2014

‘Elusion’ book review: A thrilling story of escapism and reality

Elusion, by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam, is a unique story about a world of escapism and the dangers it brings to the reality and lives of its characters.

Elusion book coverA 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.

Review: ‘Elusion’

The concept of an Elusion Escape is an interesting one – a futuristic device where you can escape through a virtual reality set and leave the troubles of real life… awesome! However, things aren’t as peachy as they might sound.

As you can tell from the synopsis of the book (above), our main character, Regan, is going through some troubling times. The story takes off only a couple of months after her father’s accident (burned up in the atmosphere upon re-entry of his ship) and on the day her best friend, Patrick, is announcing the availability of Elusion to more users nation wide. Regan’s father, David, came up with the idea for Elusion and worked with Patrick on the technical aspect to help perfect it. So, when David died Patrick took over the duties and responsibilities to make sure Elusion was as successful as David had wanted it to be.

But it’s not just some Playstation game that that you can unplug to keep someone from playing. Some people in the novel believe the use of the Elusion equipment for prolonged “Escapes” could be dangerous and addictive, and Elusion tells us the story of how far Regan is willing to go to protect the work her father has dedicated his entire life to, the work her best friend now controls.

The only person who’s really making a case for Elusion’s addictiveness is Avery, an enemy of Regan’s – but when Regan meets an attractive military man named Josh, who’s far more level headed and open minded than Avery, she realizes that maybe the things Avery is saying are true.

Now that we’ve given you a more in depth understanding of Elusion, it’s time to explain our feels. Before we delve too deep into this review, it’s important you know that this is not a single novel – it’s a series. So if you were hoping for a great standalone book to add to the collection, best make more room on your shelf for this set.

As the first in a series, Elusion lays down the foundation reasonably well. The beginning is a bit slow paced as you get to know the characters and where they are in their lives – Regan and her mother are still mourning the loss of David, and Patrick has only just started being the face of Elusion and the program he built with David.

The deeper you get into the book the more entranced you’ll find yourself getting. The story takes place in Detroit, in a futuristic world where humans have polluted the earth so badly that they need oxygen masks in many of the areas and the acid rain is actually acidic – no wonder people want to Escape!

As the story continues you’ll find that this isn’t just about the addiction of Elusion, but a conspiracy much larger than that. Our problem is that it takes a little too long to get to that conspiracy, and we spent almost too much time going “what the heck is going on?!”

Oh, and two more words: Love triangle. While it isn’t in any way, shape or form a huge aspect of the story like other novels, it’s still annoying. You can probably guess who forms this triangle: Regan, her best friend, and the hot military man, Josh. While Regan herself is not in love with both of these gentlemen, they’ve both shown an interest in her, which causes her to doubt each of them throughout the novel. Does she side with the boy she’s grown up with the entire time, or the man who’s making more sense than she wished he would?

The authors do a fantastic job of making you feel strong emotions towards both of the men – there are times where you want to punch Josh, but there are also several times where you want to kick Patrick in the balls. The frustrating thing is that there’s so much back and forth between these emotions you just want Regan to strike out on her own and ignore the two of them.

Elusion was a good story with a thrilling and curious ending, but we hope that the rest of the series has less love triangle, more family, and a heck of lot better paced action arc.

Book Hype rating: Borrow

Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam is available March 18 through HarperCollins.

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