Human physiology was altered. Human nature was not.
When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist…She’s also a thief.
After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn’t?
The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.
I can safely say that crime/thriller is my guilty pleasure genre. I enjoyed my time reading Illusive although I didn’t love it.
Firstly, I loved the premise and the world building. The story was set in the near future yet, it felt very modern. The state of the world after the MK virus was discovered was exactly the state of the world when the Ebola virus made its comeback a few months ago and the author captured that perfectly. There was global panic, countries closed their borders and talk of biochemical warfare was rampant. Sadly, there was no vaccine that gave us superpowers. The commotion just went away after a while.
If we did have a vaccine that gave us super powers this book would have been the result. Who doesn’t wish they had super powers at one point in their life? I know I have. The thing is, that aspect of this book disappointed me a little. When you market a book as ‘X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven’, you expect grand and over the top superpowers and impossible crimes. Instead, we got seven neat abilities with only two or three having any real application compared to the X-Men. I’m not saying the powers were bad, they were actually interesting abilities, they were just greatly exaggerated.
On the topic of superpowers let’s mention the people the powers belong to. They were as fun and sassy as you expect criminals to be but other than that there wasn’t anything that made them stand out to me. Although, scratch that. There were two characters that did have something unique going for them: I’ve never shipped two same-sex characters as hard as them. If you’ve read this book you know which two I’m referring to. All of their interactions had this underlying closeness that does not exist when two people were just friends or partners in crime. There was real intimacy there and it had me turning pages just to see if ELJ would finally give us the reveal of their romantic past.
Emily, please. I’m begging you to write a short story about these two and their time together and please let me be right (I know I am, I just want it to be said outright).
Plotwise, Illusive was interesting enough to make me keep flipping pages and enjoyable enough to get me out of a reading slump. Sadly, the plot falls very much within what you’d expect of this type of book. A group of crooks try to pull off a heist and either get interrupted or something goes very, very wrong. There were a couple things I didn’t see coming or wasn’t one hundred percent accurate on but they still didn’t move me that much. And I really don’t know how I feel about the final two chapters.
In closing, Illusive was a fun and entertaining read (even if a little frustrating because of my ship) that I would recommend to fans of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Natural series or anyone who enjoys sci-fi crime thrillers. As for whether I’ll read the sequel, Deceptive, I’m pretty sure I will. I’m just not going to race to the nearest bookstore to pick it up right now.