DNF Review of Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

By: Heather Dixon
Release Date: May 19th 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow
Format: E-ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I made it to 57%

From the author of Entwined, a brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. This sweeping, cinematic tale of an apprentice scientist desperate to save his family—and his world—is The Night Circus meets Pixar.

Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that is breathtaking and wholly original.

My Thoughts:
Did you read that intriguing (and vague) summary? Sounds like perfection-so I knew I’d need to read this book as soon as possible. I’ve read Dixon’s Entwined and enjoyed it so I was even more excited. Pus, look at that cover. Really, what isn’t appealing about this?

Sadly, I think my expectations might have been too high. I enjoyed the beginning of this book but it felt on the younger side of YA and I’d hoped for a more mature storyline. The characters were okay but none of them really gripped me.

Illusionarium does deal with an alternate universe and the way Dixon introduces it through inhaling a drug and pretty much hallucinating the door between worlds was incredibly unique if not a tad hard to visualize. You’d think with drug use and hallucinating this book would feel on the older side of the young adult spectrum but it didn’t for me. The dialog and level of detail seemed nearly middle grade. I believe a good amount of people will become absorbed in the creative world building and enjoy the lighter feel of the story but it fell just a tad short for my taste.

I think my detachment stems from my inability to really connect to the main character, Jonathan. He was likeable, intelligent though on the goofy side. His voice seemed unique to him and I cant really find any real flaw with his character but my connection to him was absent. I wanted to feel more emotionally attached to him and his quest but I couldn’t. I wasn’t overly concerned about how he faired.

The side characters were less developed and felt a tad like caricatures. We spend very little time in Jonathan’s real world so his family members and love interest are quickly forgotten as the new cast of characters from the alternate universe are introduced. I’d also thought the book would be a tad romantic because of that swoony cover but it really wasn’t. There was hardly any romance and I wonder if that if it had been included if I’d have liked the story better. The book does focus on a sibling relationship that was sweet but I wanted a few swoon-moments. Again, I brought my own expectations into the story.

I ended up putting this book aside for more other books with more pressing release dates and after hanging out on my currently reading shelf since December of last year I figured it was time to give up and put this away. I might venture back because I really did enjoy this author’s other book and there wasn’t anything bad per se but it just couldn’t grip me.

I want to know- have you read Illusionarium? If so, would you recommend I go back and finish it?

Stacking the Shelves

For the most part we had beautiful, spring weather this last week. I’ve loved seeing the sun again and it’s made me feel happier and more productive (on all things not blog related). I did a fair amount of reading this week- The Cage, The Fearless and Nightbird. I’ve started Crimson Bound which I’m loving it so much!

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

For Review (some solicited and some not):

 StS327 StS2327

All the epic Harper books. I’d not heard of The Cost of All Things, Dust to Dust, Vanished or Omega City before receiving them. Dust to Dust is a sequel so it’ll probably go for giveaway. I read The Cage and am on Crimson Bound now. I’m half way into Illusionarium (though a tad disappointed by it).

Posts from Last Week

  • Review of Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier   star
  • Discussion– TV Adaptations and Series You’d Love to See
  • Review of The Fearless by Emma Pass   star

I sort of took a bit of a hiatus with the blog this week. I had zero motivation to post and felt much happier reading…so that’s what I did.

How was your week?

Stacking the Shelves

Notice anything different? I decided it was time for a change so gave My Friends Are Fiction a make-over. I’m loving it. Last week I skipped Stacking the Shelves to post my stop on Cuddlebuggery‘s epic giveaway hop, Getting to Know You. You can still enter to win a pre-order so head over.

I’m including 2 week’s worth of books this time and boy I love each of them. Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

For Review (via Edelweiss):


Some new Harper titles went live on Edelweiss so I ran to check to see if this was one of them and YES IT WAS. I’m so excited. I hope it’s as amazing as I hope/expect it to be.

For Review (thank you Harper and HMH!):


Won (Thank you Irene Goodman Literary Agency):


I feel so lucky I checked Twitter right when I did because I won the last copy and it was purely by luck. It made my day, week, month. I have already read The Wrath & The Dawn and WOW. I loved it.







A wonderful friend took pity on me and loaned me their copy and I’m oh so thankful. I’ve been waiting for this book for years and I couldn’t wait to dive in. I’m a bit more than half way and honestly, I’m the tiniest bit disappointed. I feel so sad saying that. It’s written beautifully of course but the subject matter is a tad dull for me. Isn’t that horrible? I want to love it! I hope the last half will pick up for me.

Gifted (thank you Big Honcho Media!):


I’ll be having a special something coming next month related to this series. Keep your eyes open!

Posts From Last Week- there aren’t many since I was busy on the website design switch

  • Review of Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes     star
  • Getting to Know You Giveaway Hop– Enter to win a pre-order of one of my anticipated 2015 release (Red Queen, An Ember in the Ashes or A Court of Thorns and Roses (International)

I am very close to hitting 3k followers on Twitter.  My good friend Jon from Bookish Antics is close to 2k so we figured when we both met our goal we’d have a giveaway.

That’s it for me. I’m shocked Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK for my US and Canadian friends. I don’t feel ready to host just yet but soon. I hope you all have a fabulous time next week and I want to let you all know that I am insanely grateful and thankful for each of you. Big virtual hugs!