ARC Review: ELUSION by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

I received this book for free from Katherine Tegen Books. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: ELUSION by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Elusion #1

Written by: Cheryl Klam, Claudia Gabel
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: March 18th 2014
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi
Pages: 400
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

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.

Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions


Regan lives in a pretty screwed up world. It’s the semi-near-future, and there are acid rains, and you can rarely go outside without an oxygen mask.

To escape from the stress of their world and everyday lives, most people in Regan’s city have latched onto Elusion, a virtual reality where you can take a break from reality for an hour, from worries and stress and negativity, and go pretty much anywhere. Elusion is only available to a few select cities throughout the US, but Patrick (young prodigy, head of the company, partner of Regan’s deceased father, and Regan’s best friend) is pushing for a nation-wide release as the book opens. Unfortunately, venturing into Elusion isn’t nearly as safe as its creators would like you to believe. When Regan meets one of Patrick’s friends, Josh, who is convinced of its danger, Regan starts questioning Patrick’s trustworthiness, his motives, and his friendship.

There’s a lot to enjoy in Elusion, and overall I had really positive feelings toward it. I loved the idea of Elusion, the plot, and the main characters… but ultimately, there was one thing about this book that really annoyed me, and sort of spoiled my outlook on this series (yes, series) as a whole.


Elusion (the program) is sort of wonderfully creepy. First, there’s the opening scene where Regan is on a bus, and she’s the only conscious person there. Everyone else is using Elusion. Creepy. Then as we learn more about Elusion, it’s apparently a place that toys with your emotions: When you’re in Elusion, there’s no way you can feel stressed, or bad — it’s all happy floaty wonderfulness, lowered inhibitions, and heightened euphoria. That might sound great to a lot of people, but honestly… I really just find it creepy. I don’t know. Maybe I’m weird.

The Main Character & Plot

I really liked Regan — because she’s wonderfully normal. She doesn’t get great grades, she’s not always super nice, and she just seemed like a really ordinary teenager. She wasn’t boring or annoying, and I found her to be the sort of character who’s just easy to read about. At first she’s totally in denial that Elusion is anything but good, because her father developed it and she wanted to defend his memory. She believably comes around to realizing that it’s actually hurting people (it’s not instant, nor should it be, since she grew up around her father and Patrick, developing it and only experiencing the success of her father as he built this invention). But once she realizes something is wrong, she becomes dead-set on figuring out exactly what’s going on.

The pacing of the book is great, too (until the end… I’ll explain in a sec). I never found the story dragging, the excitement was kept up, and it was just really enjoyable. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily edge-of-your-seat exciting, but it’s good, and entertaining.

The… Love Triangle?

Oh, the dreaded love triangle. Except in this case, I actually thought it was handled really well. Regan and Patrick are best friends, and Patrick obviously wants to be more. But Regan really hasn’t known anyone else like she’s known Patrick (friends or otherwise), so her feelings for him are complicated. When she meets Josh, and they grow to be friends… and then maybe something more… she comes to some realizations about the differences between her feelings for Patrick and her feelings for Josh, and I really appreciated how this was handled.

The Ending (Or, Why This Book Ultimately Disappointed Me)

All of the above are things I really liked. However, I went into this book thinking it was a standalone. And judging by the ending, it is most definitely not.

As I was reading, the pacing was great, everything kept steadily amping up, questions were being answered, I was ready for a fantastic conclusion… and then the book just stopped. Practically in the middle of a scene. What?!

I understand books that end on cliffhangers, but Elusion just ended. And the more I think about it, the more annoyed I am about it, because up until the very. last. page, I was really enjoying it! It probably would’ve been a 3.5-star read; it’s not omg amazing or terribly feels-inducing, but I found it to be super readable and quick and just fun, and it had great suspense and mystery. But I just… that ending?! There’s no way there are enough questions left over after that, to warrant an entire second book. It might warrant a 20-page novella to wrap things up, but I highly doubt that’s what we’ll get. Why not just take the extra 20 pages and end it? Whyyyyyyyy??? It just annoys me so much.


In conclusion…

I really don’t know about this one. Maybe, now that you know it’s not a standalone, you can enjoy it more than I did, because I was drastically influenced by that Oh-look-it’s-secretly-a-series! ending. Elusion really is entertaining, if a somewhat “light” read — not light in the subject matter, exactly, but in the more adventure-y quality, and the pretty simple, if enjoyable, characters. And 3 stars isn’t a bad rating; but unfortunately, thanks to the ending, I’m not sure I’ll be picking up the sequel. =/


9 thoughts on “ARC Review: ELUSION by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

  1. I sadly DNFed this one at 25%. I love reading your review to see how you enjoyed it and how overall it was. Sad that the ending just stopped. I’m not find of that type if end at all. I’m glad that for the most part you enjoyed this one. Do you think you’d read the sequel?

  2. This one sounds so interesting to me, but it seems from my reviews so far you aren’t the only one who found it disappointing. I’m a big believer that even if a book is part of a series that the ending should at least have some partial resolution. I guess I’ll see how people feel about the second book before I decide if I want to dive into this world.

  3. I’ve seen a couple of reviewers DNF this but you’ve highlighted a couple of positives, surprisingly the love-triangle, sometimes they’re not so bad, it really depends on the story. I’ve been caught out by books before, thinking they’re a standalone when really it’s the start of a series.

  4. Oh and I was looking forward to this book so much! I hate it when endings ruin the whole story. I don’t like love triangles in theory, but when executed well, then it’s okay.

    I like how you mentioned a lot of the positive aspects about the book, as well as the negative in a totally objective way. Great review!’

    New bloglovin follower :D Glad to have stumbled upon your awesome blog! :)

  5. Pingback: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam | Audiobook Review

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