Digital Malarky/Technogeekery · Edelweiss · review · YA

Elusion by Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam

12369550Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: March 18th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Edelweiss

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.


Elusion was a mixed bag of tricks for me. There were some aspects of it that I truly enjoyed and others that did not work for me at all. Unlike many other novels in the same genre, the creators of Elusion, the authors, knew exactly what the game was and how it worked and their know how translated clearly into the prose so it never felt as though they were just making things up as the novel progressed. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the game they envisioned has its basis in reality and is a viable option of her techno-loving society. So that was well done.

What didn’t work for me was everything else. Bear with me and I’ll explain why.

Regan is an interesting character but at the time she has no qualities within her that sets her up or even makes her entertainingly maudlin. There is no reason I would want to read about her were she not present in the story. She has no interesting thoughts/quirks/imagination. She simply reacts to whatever is happening around her or connects the dots until she moves in the direction the authors want her to go in. She is disappointingly lacking as a character. There are no layers or complexity to her or her relationships with the other characters in the novel. There are no female friendships worth mentioning in the novel apart from the requisite POC of colour who is reduced to her physical looks and position as the other woman in the love square.

Patrick is touted to be Regan’s best friend but there is no sincerity to the words when Regan’s actions continually prove otherwise. Their relationship is all about Regan and though ostensibly, she makes the effort to support him, he is not given the benefit of doubt and treated rather shabbily in the process. Josh, the love interest, is a pallid character with again, no depth (none of the characters do actually) and his backstory though compelling is superficial. There is another girl present who hates Regan and treats her badly creating the need for someone to defend Regan against her harsh words.

The progression of the story is in fits and spurts and while the potential is there for a look at how technology is affecting society and perhaps play with a future that is both damned and saved by technology, the discourse is again superficial and thin. Also infuriating for me is the abrupt ending of the novel as there is no overarching conflict that is resolved while the seeds for the continuation of the plot planted by at the end. It is as though someone took a hacking saw to one story and decided that it would end there while the reader is still looking around desperately for the next page.

Not that I was. I was pretty much done with the entire novel long before we reached the end. The novel had potential but unfortunately for me, the potential was not fulfilled.


2 thoughts on “Elusion by Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam

  1. Thanks for this detailed, thoughtful review so I know what I’m getting in to! The premise of this book is great, though–too bad it didn’t meet expectations.

    I love your point about meaningful female friendships…makes me want to brainstorm books where female friendships ARE effective and meaningful!



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