Monthly Archives: March 2014

ARC Review – Ninja Librarians by Jennifer Swann Downey

17845804Title:  Ninja Librarians

Author: Jennifer Swann Downey

 

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librarians

Dorrie Barnes had no idea an overdue library book would change her life. When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase her pet mongoose into the janitor’s closet of their local library, they accidentally fall through a passage into Petrarch’s Library -the headquarters of a secret society of ninja librarians who have an important mission: protect those whose words have gotten them into trouble. Anywhere in the world and at any time in history.

Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society. But when a traitor surfaces, she and her friends are the prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?

Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Netgalley for this ARC.

Sam’s Review:

With a title like Ninja Librarians, how could this book not be amazing? Unfortunately, despite the unique and interesting premise, what readers are left with is a very one-dimensional story with not enough of that unique spark to keep it engaging.

I think this book will be a five star read for a lot of people, but where this book fell short with me was the fact that everything in it felt same-y throughout. The tone is consistent, but never interesting enough that I found myself impressed. The idea of Librarians as ninjas is fabulous and if you consider the line of work, they really are in a lot of ways, but how its presented here — I just wanted more from it than Librarians are sneaky and can do kung fu.

One thing I have to praise Ninja Librarians on is its atmosphere. Petrarch Library, as described in the text, is vivid and its easy to feel lost within the library and its walls. It’s no wonder then that Dorrie is so in love with the place and when she first encounters it. I actually thought Dorrie was wonderful — she has all the curiosity and tenacity a girl her age should have, but the rest of the cast was so unmemorable and one note that I had a hard time remember each one because, “omg ninja librarians.” I need more than a stereotype to keep me invested in the characters, and I felt like Downey wrote caricatures for everyone but Dorrie.

Ninja Librarians is not a bad book, but for me it needed more than a quirky premise to stay memorable. The writing is charming, the humor is spot-on, if a touch cheesy, but what this book has, that I will give it credit for, is that it has a ton of heart, and for what its worth, knows its audience very well. I still think the premise is brilliant, I just wish there had been more variation in the plot and a lot less emphasis on just the unique premise alone.

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The Liebster Blog Award

liebster

River and I were nominated for a Liebster Award by Brin’s Book Blog! Huge thank you to Brin, as we are delighted, but feel absolutely awful that we are only getting to this at the end of March instead of the beginning when we were nominated. I’ll be posting my responses, as I’m not going to answer for River, though she will likely be a big part of my answers.

Here are the rules:

  • List 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by whoever nominated you.
  • Ask 11 new questions to 9 bloggers with less than 200 followers. You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you.
  • Go to their blog and tell them that they have been nominated!

11 Facts about Me (Sam):

  1.  I’ve been a game’s journalist longer than I have been a book blogger. I’ve been at RPGamer.com since 2009 and am currently the Operations Manager of the site.
  2. I’m working towards a Library Information & Technician’s diploma, though I already have a degree in English Literature and East Asian Studies.
  3. I’ve actually known my co-blogger since I was in high school (so over ten years if you can believe it).
  4. A lot of people peg me as an extrovert, but I’d argue I am an introvert-extrovert in behaviour.
  5. I’ve wanted to be a youth librarian since teaching ESL for over five years. I realized I had better skills for that then being a teacher.
  6. I own two dogs: a Labrador Retriever named Dakota, and an English Bulldog, Brutus. I post lots of Brutus pictures on my twitter mostly for River’s amusement.
  7. I am finally marrying my boyfriend of eight years this year (oooo old news).
  8. I own way too much tea and too many unique mugs that support my habit.
  9. My favourite video game in the world is Valkyrie Profile, though I adore WRPGs as much as I do JRPGs. My fave WRPG is Dragon Age: Origins.
  10.  Ruttabega. (If you know where this is from, then you are cool in my books… well, everyone is cool).
  11. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO COUNT <—- added by River mwhahahahaha

Eleven facts about me! (River)

1. My childhood dreams were to be either an FBI agent, spy, fashion model, or writer.
2. I have a horrible immune system and I almost died in 2002 and after recovering became allergic to milk and developed pars planitis in my eyes the year after. WHELP. And, almost all of my hair fell out in 2007.
3. I horseback rode for six years before quitting to become a cheerleader in high school (WTF SELF).
4. When I worked at Borders I set ‘Twilight’ to be my staff pick for a full month and my only comment was ‘I ❤ Edward.’ Again, wtf self.
5. I moved to Japan in 2007 and have been living here ever since (with a 6-month return to the USA in 2008).
6. I’ve lived in TWO different places in the USA and FIVE different places in Japan.
7. I can eat the same food for WEEKS without getting sick of it (current food is oatmeal).
8. The only novels I have ever “finished” writing are NaNoWriMo novels.
9. My favorite book in the ENTIRE WORLD is ‘The Raven Boys’, which I just discovered last year. Something about that book undid me and I am almost scared about how that book has affected me.
10. Vanilla. anything vanilla. ALL THE VANILLA.
11. I hate sleep and think it’s the biggest waste of time. I wish I was one of those people who could survive off 3-4 hours of sleep. I’d get so much more done.

11 Questions from Brin

  1. Why did you start blogging? S: Because River asked me too! Actually, there’s a bit more to it. Over the last five years or so I’ve been plotting a change of career and blogging helped me to establish myself more in the field I am working towards.

R: I’ve always blogged (back in high school I had a livejournal) and when I moved to Japan I wanted to share my life in Japan with my friends and family back home. So I started a Japanese fashion and lifestyle blog. I ran that for a few years before getting married and then busy with other things and so I shut it down. I did start this blog, which was originally just a blog that I updated randomly with whatever I felt like, but then I started to read ARC’s and decided to write reviews on here and slowly it morphed into a book blog with a personal touch. Last summer I asked Sam to join me because I was super busy with personal stuff and I wouldn’t have been able to keep this thing running without her. I’m now facing a HUGE move (back to the USA) and I know that I’m going to be relying on Sam ❤ ❤ ❤ a lot through that process as well.

2. What would your superhero power be? Speed-reading.

R: Flying! I actually once convinced a girl in elementary school that I was Rouge from the X-men and the girl believed me and told her parents and then her parents had to sit down with mine for a ‘chat about reality’. This story STILL cracks me up. But I really wish I could fly (I hate walking)

3. Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life? No one, because I don’t know if I’d be comfortable with that!

R: Noooooo idea! Maybe Nina Dobrev, only because I really love her in TVD

4. What is your favourite book? Mostly recently I’d say Vicious by Victoria Schwab.

R: THE RAVEN BOYS. GANSEYYYYYYYY

5. Who is your fictional hero? Batman. Always Batman. May be Scarlet from the Lunar Chronicles too.

R: Iron Man

6. Who is your favourite band/singer? Tegan and Sara, Neko Case, Hawksley Workman, I have too many.

R: Taking Back Sunday, 30 Seconds to Mars, Justin Timberlake, Jay Z…………………

7. Have you ever done something really daring (like sky-diving, bungee-jumping etc.)? Nope! I am a huge, huge, wuss.

R: Flying international? That’s the best I got…

8. What is your favourite television series? I don’t watch TV really… that is totally more River’s domain. I’d say Firefly though because it’s the one that has stuck with me the longest.

R: My favorite TV show is The Vampire Diaries, but I also watch: The Originals, Starcrossed, Arrow, SHIELD, Being Human, Lost Girl, The Big Bang Theory, New Girl and probably a few others that I can’t think of now…

9. What is your biggest pet peeve? Slut-shamming, opinions being forced fed as fact, being useless as tits on a bull, to name a few.

R: People who think that their experiences are the CORRECT experiences. For example: in Japan I often see this… non-Japanese see something done once and they assume that it’s the ONLY way something is done. I once had someone explain a cultural event to me and it turns out that they only had half of the true facts so they only knew half of what they were talking about, but INSISTED that this event was done the way they experienced it. Haha, I guess I should just say closed mindedness? I also really cannot stand it when people (IRL or in fiction) are too self-aware. 

10. What is your favourite colour? Green.

R: Blue

11. Do you have a celebrity crush? Tie between Jennifer Lawrence and Gina Torres (my soon-to-be husband approves on both)

R: Justin Timberlake & Jared Leto

11 Questions from Me:

1. Who is your favourite secondary character in a book?

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of blogging?

3. What was the last book you DNF?

4. What is your favourite kind of tea or coffee?

5. When you blog, do you listen to podcasts or music?

6. Do you have a horrible addiction to Animal Crossing? (hint hint)

7. Are there any bookish apps you use for blogging or personal enjoyment?

8. Least favourite character in a book you’ve read and why.

9. Prettiest Book cover you’ve ever seen!

10. Do you prefer cats or dogs?

11. What is one book you are excited to read when it releases?

Nominated Blogs:

Melissa @ Melissa Giorgio (Author of the Sight Seer – GO READ IT)

Katherine @VENTUREADLAXRE

Nikki @ The Paper Sea

ARC Review – Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

18114921Title: Salvage

Author: Alexandra Duncan

 

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Ava is the captain’s daughter. This allows her limited freedoms and a certain status in the Parastrata’s rigid society-but it doesn’t mean she can read or write or even withstand the forces of gravity. When Ava learns she is to be traded in marriage to another merchant ship, she hopes for the best. After all, she is the captain’s daughter. Betrayal, banishment, and a brush with love and death are her destiny instead, and Ava stows away on a mail sloop bound for Earth in order to escape both her past and her future. The gravity almost kills her. Gradually recuperating in a stranger’s floating cabin on the Gyre, a huge mass of scrap and garbage in the Pacific Ocean, Ava begins to learn the true meaning of family and home and trust-and she begins to nourish her own strength and soul. This sweeping and harrowing novel explores themes of choice, agency, rebellion, and family and, after a tidal wave destroys the Gyre and all those who live there, ultimately sends its main character on a thrilling journey to Mumbai, the beating heart of Alexandra Duncan’s post-climate change Earth.

Huge thank you to Greenwillow Books and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review:

I picked this as one of my most highly anticipated books in 2015 and when I got to about 10% I was SO scared that I wasn’t going to like it. The beginning is a bit difficult to get into. The writing in this entire book is rich and layered and incredibly intricate and detailed. Ava, and her people, have their own form of English. The rules are never fully explained, and the social structure that Ava knows is shown, never really explained. So if you aren’t willing to work a little bit to get into this book, then you might have trouble with it. THANKFULLY I was able to get into it and it just FLOWED from there.

I made the mistake of reading a few reviews on here before reading this and had a small part of it spoiled. So when I got to a certain point in the book I was SO scared about how it was going to work based on the spoiler. And I feel that this is how my entire relationship with this book was. Ava would make choices that made me go NO DO NOT DO THAT OMG PLEASE DON’T DO THAT because she was heading into directions that really turn me off in the YA genre. Thankfully every time it seemed that the book was going to head into a undesirable direction, it made good choices, right choices, and satisfying choices. I have never been so pleased so many times in a single book.

This is basically a story about a girl growing up. Ava was born and raised in space, on a ship that travels between a space port above Earth, and Mars. Her ship has it’s own unique culture, which we later find out was a product of time and isolation. Women have children, cook, clean, do simple jobs, and aren’t allowed to learn how to read, write, do math, or anything mechanical. Ava knows this and grows up looking forward to when she can become someone’s bride. The men take multiple wives and are allowed to travel between the space ship and Earth. Women are told that they can’t handle the Earth’s pull, but really it’s just that they aren’t allowed to keep their bodies in shape and therefore they are unable to physically handle gravity.

Ava is sent to be married but she gets caught in a scandal and is instead sentenced to death. She manages to escape and goes to Earth where she makes friends, suffers heartbreak, finds her only remaining family, and learns that women are capable of so much more than she ever imagined. She learns that she can use her skills and learn new things. That she can have a life and happiness.

I loved Ava. She walks a fine line between innocence and experience. She is so mature and naive at the same time. She is smart and thinks about her actions and even when she is irrational she later visits her mistakes and does the right thing. She loves with all of her heart and only wants to be loved in return. Her character development is amazing and I was so happy with every choice she made, right up to the very end of the book.

The rest of the characters are wonderful as well. The heartbreaks suffered are so real, and the world is so vivid. I love how it feels futuristic and dystopian at the same time. There are elements that are similar and familiar enough that this book is easy to picture, but I could also imagine it as a big-budget movie with lots of amazing special effects.

And the writing… it’s so lush and beautiful. Once I got used to the way Ava and her people spoke, I even began to enjoy it.

I highly recommend this. And don’t be fooled by the few reviews saying that there’s a love-triangle, there isn’t.

ARC Review – Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

15728577Title: Side Effects May Vary

Author: Julie Murphy

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 

Huge thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I generally have an issue with cancer stories. Part of it is due to the fact that cancer is a huge part of my life and something that sticks with me every day as a caretaker of someone who suffers from it. For this reason, I generally tend to be hard on books related to the topic because I often feel like they miss the point in terms of understanding where those types of people are coming from.

Thankfully, Side Effects May Vary, is not in that pet peeve category, as it actually told a story that impressed me a fair bit. Alice, our protagonist, isn’t the most likable person and I feel like she is generally going to be the deciding factor for if you can handle this book. She’s downright nasty at times, but not without reason: cancer patients, whether they are in remission or not, still suffer from side effects, meaning everything from their bodies to their emotions, they are all simply out of whack and attempting to repair. For me personally, this is completely evident in how Alice’s narrative works.

Alice doesn’t want people feeling sorry for her, she wants to live as normal of a life as she can, but having cancer doesn’t give you a sense of normality. Everything is more challenging and even frustrating. She has deal with people telling her they totally know how she feels, but reality — how the hell do you know what a person with cancer feels like? I hate that. I hate when people say stuff like that because in a lot of cases they don’t realize it’s more harmful than helpful. Unless you’ve been in a cancer patient’s shoes or have a chronic illness, it’s impossible to know how someone feels and you sense Alice’s frustrations throughout the story because she’s treated like she’s diseased.

I’m not saying Alice is entirely someone you can sympathize because she shows some malice at times, particularly towards poor Harvey, who has been with her through thick and thin. Harvey knows he’s being used and yet he is compelled to help her through her chemo treatments and even afterwards when she’s in remission. While at first he’s quite the doormat, some of the best scenes in the book are when Harvey fights back against Alice, forces Alice to confront reality, a reality beyond life and death, and tells her enough is enough.

Harvey is the character you actually read this book for. For those who don’t know what it’s like to take of someone with cancer, Harvey’s perspective may be more on the eye opening side. Generally the caretakers are the one ensuring the person has as good a quality of life as possible, but they often also the ones who feel taken advantage of. Alice often came across like she takes advantage of Harvey on purpose, but I think there are times in the story where she does wrestle with how right or wrong it is. Harvey is so willing, so it’s so easy to make the assumption that he’ll just always be there. Once you’ve pushed someone to the edge, the way Alice does, then you realize how difficult it is to do things for yourself after having someone else take care of you for so long.

I felt like when I was reading Side Effects May Vary, that I completely understood both sides of the narrative. I’ve been in Harvey’s shoes, and I live with an Alice at times. Were there times I wanted to slap Alice about? Absolutely, particularly when she was at school and disrespecting everyone around her. She’s frustrating, she’s mean, and yet you know there are parts of her that don’t mean to be that way. Chemo does make you behave in strange ways, there’s no doubt about it.

This book isn’t going to be for everyone, and it’s one where it’s worth it to read a few pages to decide if you can tolerate Alice or not. Harvey is amazing and his parts of the book were always my favourite, and admittedly Alice won me over in the end, especially with how the story ends, it’s easily her most selfless act in the text. Side Effects May Vary is a difficult read, but it’s also a very rewarding one if you can stick with it.

ARC Review – Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

18106481Title:  Nearly Gone

Author:  Elle Cosimano

 

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

Huge thank you to Kathy Dawson Books and Netgalley for this ARC!

River’s Review:

Ughhhhhh, I wanted to love this SO MUCH MORE than I did. I was DYING for this book and so excited when I got an ARC. It sounded so dark and edgy and fast paced and weird and it just… fell so flat. Basically, the romance killed it for me. Nearly Boswell is a brilliant girl living in a trailer park, her mother is a stripper, and her best friend is in love with her (but he has his own mental issues to deal with) and SHE CAN TOUCH PEOPLE AND FEEL THEIR EMOTIONS. This aspect of the story should have been SUPER IMPORTANT right? But it felt like it was just this random thing that sometimes benefited her but like… it was never really IMPORTANT. She has a rule not to touch people and then I thought she’d be out there using this ability to figure out who the murderer was and… it was just such an afterthought the entire novel. So that was a bust.

Then Reece, this bad-boy-new-guy who becomes her newest mentee (after all of her previous mentee’s get KILLED) and she’s all I WILL NOT TUTOR YOU one minute and then the next she’s busting into drug deals to save him and having to ‘pretend to be his girlfriend’ to keep the local drug dealer off their back and in order to do that she has to basically check off a list of annoying tropes that have wormed their way into YA. He dresses her for school? CHECK. He makes her ride his motorcycle? CHECK. He finds random times to touch her even though she ~totally~ doesn’t want to be touched? CHECK. He dressed her AGAIN (this time for a rave) CHECK. He forces himself on her in school? CHECK. Just… ugh. All of her interactions with Reece felt SO CONTRIVED. Nothing felt natural, nothing flowed, and while it wasn’t insta-love she DID end up falling in love with him and I was just like WHY????

The mystery WAS pretty cool though. I will give this book credit for a suspenseful and creative mystery. I didn’t see the killer coming and I didn’t even SUSPECT him/her from the beginning. So that was cool. I just wish that the actually mystery would have been more of a central focus than her relationship with Reece and how he could make her do dumb stuff to force them together.

And I really liked a lot of the characters. Some of them were surprising, and I even think that Lonny was my favorite (which is quite questionable self…)

ARC Review – In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

20575446Title:  In Real Life

Author(s): Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang 

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing. 

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer – a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake. 

Huge thank you to First Second and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review: 

This likely won’t be the first time you’ll see this book listed for me as it will be appearing a feature over at RPGamer.com in the near future. For now, this will be a more general review as In Real Life tackles one of gaming’s worst social economic problems to date.

For those who don’t play a lot of video games or MMOs, this book will likely open your eyes to an issue within, particularly the free-to-play MMO market, though a lot of pay-to-play are equally involved, which is people farming for gold and treasures and then selling them to those who want to fast-track aspects of their game so they can focus on other areas of the game. The people forced to do this are paid little money and give up the majority of their lives to play a game for work.

This is not a new or ground breaking idea, as Doctorow has tackled this topic on numerous occasions. There is a preachy element to this book that I do think a good chunk of reader’s will find off putting, I think issues of race, particularly the white girl trying to save a Chinese gold farmer in game might be interpreted in a lot of negative ways, but I don’t think that’s the real intention of this story.

Doctorow wants to highlight an evil that exists within the realm of gaming and one we often choose to ignore because “it doesn’t effect us.” He’s also trying to show a positive for how gamers work together in games to solve problems of injustice and morality. While Anda and Raymond likely would have never met in real life, I feel like their interest in each other is well thought out because it does give Anda a sense that the game she loves so much isn’t entirely what it seems, and that the balance between reality and virtual reality isn’t as clear-cut a line as we are lead to be.

Moreover, while I wasn’t entirely in love with how female gamer’s were portrayed in this, I really appreciated the inclusion. Woman are slowly becoming the more than 40% in gaming, and we still often get treated by our counterparts that we can’t be strong and confident within our gaming selves. The females in this book wanted to show it was okay to be a female and a gamer, but it’s a bit problematic on the other side of the coin that they only want female inclusion. I see both sides of the coin even if I struggle to agree with it.

I really did love the interaction between Anda and Raymond and I thought it was quite lovely. I felt it was sweet and genuine. I thought the artwork was lovely to gorgeous in quality. I think In Real Life will delight gamers, and I think it will teach teens about an issue that they likely wouldn’t have known anything about. There;s a powerful idea in this book, but because of how heavy handed it comes across, I do think that will alienate some readers. Personally, I enjoyed the book a great deal, and I loved the flow and tone enough that I am forgiving of the preachy aspects. In Real Life is powerful, and will challenge readers to go beyond their comfort zone when it comes to their hobbies having real world consequences.

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.