ARC Review – Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

12369550Title: Elusion

Author(s): Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Soon, Elusion® will change the world 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.

Huge thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for this ARC!

Sam’s Review: 

Elusion is one of those books with a great premise, but somehow falters in its execution. I love the idea of a piece of technology being able to sweep someone away to an exotic world where complication is irrelevant. We all dream, especially on our worst days, to be somewhere else — way from the noise, conflict and anger. Author’s Gray and Gabel attempt to give us unique idea, but the characters and writing simply don’t do it justice.

To be frank, character interaction in this book is very important to me, and I found I couldn’t connect with any of them. I found Regan tolerable, but often making poor decisions without much thought — think a little bit! And then there was the awkwardly thrown in love triangle and insta-love that the reader is asked to go with and I found myself groaning a lot in those parts because considering the characters don’t have a lot of personality, having a romance thrown in there doesn’t add much to characterization either. It’s a lot of “BOOM! We’re in love now!” and “WHAM! He loves me too!” and just, no. Why is chemistry so hard to craft in YA science fiction?

The other issue I had is I recognize that this is suppose to have some dystopian elements (and they are there, tucked away), but this book never felt like there was a real crisis worthy of a dystopia. Yes people want to get their hands on the Elusion technology, yet the authors don’t really give us in enough detail WHY someone else having the technology is bad, it’s just bad. It made for wobbly world building at times, but I found myself (at times) being a bit forgiving because the use of the premise for the most part is interesting.

Elusion is hard to recommend if you’re someone who likes fully realized characters and strong world-building. Unfortunately neither exist here, which is a real shame. The premise is the only aspect of Elusion I can recommend because I do think it’s a fabulous, clever idea, and it breaks my heart that all the pieces just didn’t fit enough together for me to love it.

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