Book info

Illusions (2011)

Illusions (2011)
Rating
4.13 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
0061668095 (ISBN13: 9780061668098)
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English
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HarperTeen
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Illusions (2011)
Illusions (2011)

About book: Illusions, by Aprilynne Pike is the best of the series. It is more action filled than either of the first two. Also, it has a killer cliffhanger ending. It is full of action and I couldn't put it down. One strength in Illusions is the choice Laurel has to make between Tamani and David. I absolutely loved this book. I would recommend it to anyone who loves action as well as romance. What the last book lacked, Illusions definitely made up for it. Illusions could have been a really compelling story about a girl who feels she's being forced to choose between to guys who love her, and for whom she clearly has strong feelings, and then ends up asserting her individuality and refuses both so that she could be her own person and make her own decisions, whether that be about taking her SAT test again, or whether she goes to human college, or whether she returns to Avalon, or whether she decides to have flings rather than serious relationships! There were hints, sometimes coherent strings of reason that hinted at these themes, but ultimately, ended up being flat and tangled and annoying.Synopsis: Laurel is back for her Senior year of high school, and she's not the only one. With her are, of course, her boyfriend David and her best friend Chelsea, but also Tamani and a mysterious new girl, Yuki, who came with references from Klea, the suspicious troll hunter. Not only does Laurel have to juggle classes, homework, and troll attacks, but she's stuck playing referee between the two boys that want her, all while solving the mystery surrounding why Klea brought Yuki to her school, and why trolls seem to completely vanish into random parts of the forest.Right off, the book suffers from "unrealistic boyfriend" syndrome. I mean, sure, if you haven't seen your rival for your girlfriend's affections for over ten months, you might be a little more calm than if you saw him sooner than that, but seriously: any guy that is in love with his girl as much as David is supposed to be with Laurel, who was hurt as much as David supposedly was at the end of Spells when he found out she'd "had a guy on the side," you're not going to be relaxed and groovy when that SAME GUY shows up at your school, in human garb, acting like he's the best thing since sliced bread. No, no you're not. You're going to be on edge, suspicious, and possessive. And you're most definitely NOT going to tell your girlfriend "this is a good thing" based on *her* long-seated desire to see the guy again! So many times, I would think to myself, "A normal teenage boy wouldn't do that," and if Pike made reference to David being "possessive and jealous," I'd scoff and mutter, "THAT'S possessive and jealous?! Hardly."As the book went on, David did actually start acting like a jealous boyfriend, but it took a while to get there, and the passing one-liner from Chelsea about David "not wanting to freak Laurel out" wasn't sufficient explanation. If that truly was the case, then Pike should have included more hints about David suppressing emotion. If Pike's intent was to demonstrate how effective David was at hiding his emotions from Laurel, I didn't catch it at all. I actually felt like the author lost interest in convincing her audience that Laurel and David's relationship was worth saving, that there was actually something for Laurel to be torn ABOUT.I got the same feeling from Laurel's parents. They didn't act like parents. They were there to hold conversation, to provide another location for different scenes, but have no real influence on the plot, to even be "friends" with their daughter and laugh about her romantic entanglements rather than be actual parents and tell her that she was being irresponsible with the boys' emotions, disrespectful of them as human beings, and that she needed to get her act together. There was ONE scene where Laurel's mom offers her useful insight, and it revolved around actually hurting someone if you stay because you feel you had to, like it were a duty or an obligation, or, more sinister, staying because THEY want you to, not because you want to. Dangerous, that, and I'm glad Pike worked that in there. I'm also glad Pike included the bit about Laurel being alone for a while to calm her emotions and think clearly. When I think of it, there were NO characters that acted as counterpoints for Laurel, and by that I mean characters that made it impossible for her to get what she wants, no characters that make her struggle, make her sacrifice. Oh, Pike would have her think about things, sure, and feel guilty, or afraid, or sad, or whatever....but it didn't feel REAL for most scenes."Reader, this is what the character feels because I say she feels it. I have typed it there, and therefore it's true.""But I don't BELIEVE you. There's nothing there that convinces me she truly feels this way. She's a paper cut-out."It's too easy. It's all too easy, convenient, simple. Sure, Pike SAYS things are a certain way, but there's no substance to it.Perhaps that's the problem with about two-thirds of this book. The reader is spoon fed something with all calories and no nutrition. The love triangle seemed more like brain matter spatter on the pages: messy, loosely connected, with some parts more coherent than others, and even fewer holding enough shape to make the situation believable.And there were elements that worked. For example, the "resolving issues" scene with the boys did actually work, oddly enough. I didn't expect it to. The Chelsea-Laurel dynamic worked. The Yuki element worked. Shar worked. Not all the relationships were devoid of depth. There was even a scene with Laurel and Tamani close to a BIG reveal that was perfectly placed and well-executed. A few things about David played out very well. Not all things were a lost cause, but they did not create a coherent whole.What bothers me most about all this is that it's something I worry will happen to my stories. This something that keeps me up at night because I'm not sure I'm writing things right, that my own characters will be nothing but paper dolls.On the other hand, Pike did a good job with the adventure scenes and the faerie-CSI: Laurel's improvement in Mixing, in her experiments to identify what season Yuki is, etc. Anything that had to do with scientific method was great. It hearkened back to book 1, and maintained great momentum. The one scene in Avalon was also excellently done. (I wanted more Avalon scenes.) Actually, any scene that truly, 100% forwarded the plot and the emotional arc resonated with me. Alas, these parts did not outweigh, or even balance, the tissue-thin flimsiness of the rest.I feared this installment of the Wings Series would turn out to be a "filler." I tend to divide these types of books into two parts: the relationships part and the adventure part. The adventure part was VERY important to the plot as a whole, and I'm really anxious to read the resolution in book 4. However, the relationships part definitely fell under the "filler" category, which made me sad. I had hoped that the lack of David-Laurel focus in book 2 was a fluke, seeing as a majority of that story was in Avalon and would thus favor focus on Tamani. Since this book was in the human world, but with both boys present, I wanted the same level of effort for each. It seems Pike clearly has a favorite.Beware: The narration for Illusions switches between Laurel and Tamani, though not consistently. I think Pike had to figure out a way to reveal the Tamani-Yuki interaction, as it's important to the adventure plot, and naturally, Laurel can't be there.As always...support your local library!
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Reviews
mayflowers7140
Super awesome fantasy violence and shocking twists that I LOVED! :DFive stars!!
jayesh
taamaaaani *-*
joeycaramelo
Very good
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