Illusionarium

Illusionarium

by Heather Dixon

Hardcover

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Overview

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062001054
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/19/2015
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,217,619
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Heather Dixon is the author of the acclaimed Entwined. By day, she is a storyboard animator and artist. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Customer Reviews

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Illusionarium 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
TheBumbleGirl1 More than 1 year ago
Original, clever, page-turning... imaginative! Parallel worlds, realistic illusions, quick action, intriguing one-of-a-kind characters and adventure!  The ILLUSIONARIUM is a plot-driven story about a teen trying to save his mother, sister, and all the women in his city from a deadly plague.  Jonathan is an apprentice to his father who the King has sought out to create an anticdote as quickly as possible to save the Queen and stop the plague from spreading and killing more women. Jonathan is quick to turn to any means possible to make this happen and disappoints his father by going behind his back to try to learn more about a hallucinogenic gas that can distort reality. His father quickly dismisses the idea in toying with something so unknown and dangerous. But Jonathan is hopeful and determined to prove him wrong and chases after the one chance of hope that can change everything.  But what will Jonathan have to do in order to get the antidote before it's too late??? Jonathan was such a fun character to read about; his sense of humor and snarkiness really kept the story moving along. Even though he seemed a bit immature and naive at times, he still held his own quite well and dealt with the matters that were thrown at him in the best ways that he could. Sometimes you have to literally be in that character's shoes in order to realize that what he did was the right decision at the time. He's sweet on one red-headed girl; but this story barely touches upon it. There is no love story on display here. Although, Jonathan does get briefly distracted a few times, it just made him more realistic to me.  The world building is truly imaginable, magical and movie-worthy! There are aerial cities, airships and human creatures. I was able to picture everything and smell every smell, the good and the bad, with every word on the pages. Just like in ENTWINED, I was able to cling onto every word and understand everything that was happening in every way.  For those who love steampunk fantasy with a hint of historical fiction, plot-driven stories with magical elements! There's something here for everyone!!! *An ARC was sent to me from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would've enjoyed the story more if I hadn't had such high expectations of it. The fact that it was compared to The Night Circus and Pixar movies gave me high hopes but I was disappointed. It wasn't nearly as deep, mysterious, or magical as The Night Circus was, but it was a bit childish and "whismical" in the way that some Pixar movies are. It was enjoyable at some parts, though. This book is for those who want a quick and/or fun read, but it just wasn't my favorite. More like 2.5/5 stars if anything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While certainly not the best book I've ever read, Illusionarium has a steampunk flair about it that makes me quite happy. The fantasy elements of the plot never threaten to collapse in on themselves, and the writing creates a vivid world around the main characters. I wouldn't suggest it to anyone outside of the culture, but if you're an old steamer looking for something a bit more fantastical, I would definitely recommend it.
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
Having really enjoyed Dixon's debut Entwined, I was excited to see what Illusionarium would hold. Unfortunately, this book was not for me. I never truly felt like I could get a grasp on what was happening and it was always a struggle for me to keep up. It's very fast paced, which is a plus, but it was too fast for me to comprehend everything Dixon was trying to get across. To put it plain and simply: this book was confusing. There are so many layers and explanations of what's going on with the illusioning and alternate realities that it just made it too hard to keep up. I also felt the characters were rather flat. I realize this is set in the 1800's, but Jonathan was so awkward to me. His speech, mannerisms, it all felt too strange. I didn't particularly care for one him one way or another. He ended up surprising me by the lengths he would go to in order to procure the cure for his dying family and friends. We see him go from bumbling, awkward scientist to fearless illusionist, who will stop at nothing to return home and save the people he loves. I thought that was awesome, but I missed seeing that transformation. We don't really find out the mechanics of this alternate reality, called No'dol, until late in the book and once we do things made a bit more sense. I felt there were some plot holes also- things were introduced but then I never saw them really referenced or resolved. I eventually found myself skimming more than reading, just to get to the end. It was just too hard for me to wrap my head around this one and I felt it was really lacking in some major areas such as development and characterization. There was TOO MUCH going on that I felt not enough time was taken to really explore and focus on the things that mattered.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Illusionarium by Heather Dixon Publisher: Greenwillow Publication Date: May 19, 2015 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations. Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own. What I Liked: This book was pretty great! Definitely worth the long wait between this one and Heather Dixon's last novel, Entwined. Entwined was one of my favorite books of 2011 - and one of my favorites of all time! Fairy tale retelling, gorgeous fantasy, and lots of great humor. This book, Illusionarium, was a bit different, but with elements of Entwined that are true to Dixon's unique writing style. While I think I liked Entwined more (let's face it - I LOVED Entwined, and little will come close to it), I certainly enjoyed this book, and definitely want to read more by Dixon! Jonathan and his family live in a large aerial city, living their lives and minding their business. His father is the second best scientist/surgeon in the second only to lady Florel, a cold by genius scientist who apprenticed his father. When the queen falls ill with Venen, the disease that is killing the people of the city, Jonathan and his father are taken to the king's ship. But when Jonathan's mother and sister contracts Venen, Jonathan gets caught up in a chemical called fantillium, a Lady Florel that isn't Lady Florel, a power he did not know he had, and a world he never knew existed. Just a note - this book is not related to Entwined at all! This book is a historical fiction novel with aspects of fantasy and parallel worlds in it. Not quite time travel, though there is some playing with time. The ideas of this book are so interesting! Aerial cities is what drew me, but the illusions business is pretty cool too. Jonathan takes fantillium, and discovers that he can create illusions very well, with fantillium's aid. Could he illusion time to speed up? Could he illusion a cure's creation? Could he... illusion himself into a new world? Well, he didn't. The Lady Florel that isn't Lady Florel drags him to the parallel London, where she is queen. There, she strikes a deal: illusion for her, and she'll give him the cure. This book is definitely a bit slow at first. Things really didn't "start" for me until Jonathan enters the parallel city of Nod'ol (the spelling of the name is eluding me at the moment, but I think that's correct). There, he is forced to compete in an illusion contest of a sort. The purpose is entertainment, but he must create amazing illusions and beat two prodigy illusionists (who are also in the competition to win something precious) in order to get the cure. The illusion aspect of this book is really interesting, and the side effects of fantillium are totally creepy. I won't give anything away, but the side effects are weird! This book is told from Jonathan's point-of-view. Jonathan is such a kindhearted, jovial character. This book has an overall humorous tone, and Jonathan's inner voice is quite funny. Lockwood is another primary character, though his point-of-view is not featured. Lockwood is a military officer in the king's ship, a lieutenant, if I remember correctly. He is constantly trying to choke Jonathan (no, seriously), after Jonathan (accidentally) let the doppelganger Lady Florel escape. Lockwood comes with Jonathan to Nod'ol, though he can't illusion. Lockwood is a hilarious addition to this story, and I'm glad Dixon kept constructing his character throughout the book. The book would not have been as funny or as enjoyable without him.  Another important character is Hannah - Anna in Nod'ol. Hannah/Anna is Jonathan's sister. Anna is the sister we see more of, as more of the book is spent in Nod'ol. Anna becomes a critical character in Nod'ol, just like Hannah is a critical character in London. There's also a little romance involving her, which was sweet. Jonathan has his own lady love, though his romance is by fair the least important aspect of the book. You might as well go in thinking there is ZERO romance to this book. Which is fine! This book doesn't need romance to stand on its own "legs". The world-building was pretty well-done, in my opinion. I think I saw complaints about this, but I also think you really have to read the entire book to get a good grasp on the concepts of the book. I think Dixon's writing and world-building is solid.  I loved the historical fiction aspect of the book! Dixon definitely has the historical side down. I'm also a huge history fan, so naturally I was obsessed with this part of the book. This time period is one of my favorites, and it's fascinating to see how Dixon incorporates something so unreal - an aerial city - into this time period. Creative! This book wraps up really nicely as a standalone! The story started and finished and there really aren't any loose ends or leftover questions to be answered. This is good - I like it when standalones are airtight like that, with no room for ambiguity. The ending is very pleasant and light, though there is a death that was super sad. But then it's not as sad when something else happens. So the ending overall is very sweet. You'd have to read it to know what I mean! What I Did Not Like: This one definitely reads as a "younger" YA novel. Entwined had a "younger" YA vibe to it too, so I wasn't really surprised when I started reading this book and thought it was a tiny bit on the juvenile side. Not trivial or childish, but not the tone of a mature YA book that one might think of this book, given its strong historical fiction and fantasy foundations. So, if you're turned off by "lower" YA books, perhaps this one isn't for you. It didn't really bother me, though I definitely noticed it. Would I Recommend It: I would recommend this one! It's light and humorous and a fast read. The story is interesting, the concepts are pretty unique, and the cover is lovely! What's not to like! Unless you're not a fan of YA for a younger audience - see my note above. Rating: 3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I liked this book! I hope Dixon has more novels up her sleeve, because I wouldn't mind reading more of her work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whar genre iwould you put this under?