Friday, January 23, 2015

The Remedy Files: Illusion~Lauren Eckhardt | Review

Title: Illusion (The Remedy Files #1)
Author: Lauren Eckhardt
Genre: YA Dystopia
Length: Around 280 Pages
Publication: December 2014
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Click the title for more information about this novel.
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Many people are under the misconception that a three star rating means I didn't like the book. That is certainly not the case. I enjoyed this novel very much. Now that that is out of the way, let's get started with the real stuff. 
The story follows Evangeline, a girl living in a society where there are no feelings, physical or emotional. As is the case with most dystopias, I could see elements here that were familiar from other stories. It had very many similarities to Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Matched by Ally Condie.  This did not, however, diminish my liking for the story. As I said before, that was to be expected. I actually thought that the combination of elements from those two stories worked very well together.

The main reason this novel did not receive a four or five star rating was the pacing and the love story. The beginning felt somewhat slow. There was a lot happening and it held my interest, but I felt the world was introduced too slowly. The novel picked up after a few chapters and the world and its history started unfolding more rapidly, which helped me see the society and how it was defined more clearly. This in turn helped me understand more about our main characters and how they had been shaped throughout their lives.

I am not a huge fan of love triangles and this one introduced one that I was not particularly happy with. I thought that Evangeline and Gavin were cute together, but his character was never explored deeply enough for me to really become attached to him. I appreciated some of the flash backs to their first meetings, but it just wasn't enough to really get me invested. Their relationship was also sporadic. They would be best friends one minute and having a screaming match the next. It was a little too abrupt in that sense. 

Insta love was the other factor of the love triangle that really pushed it over the edge for me. Evangeline meets Liam and then can barely have a thought without him appearing. Her immediate connection with him was just somewhat off putting. I can understand being attracted to someone after first meeting, and yes, people do fall in love after only one meeting, but it's hard to portray that in a novel. I have yet to find a novel that I think that type of a story line works with.

As I said before, the story picks up and by the halfway point I was having a hard time putting it down. Evangeline starts to realize all of the flaws within her community, questioning everything she's ever been taught. Because of this, the story became more action packed and intense and I was constantly waiting to see what exactly was going to happen next. My only real issue during the last half was that it became too focused on the love story. It could use some more balance where the love story and the questions of changing society are concerned during the last half or so of the novel.

While well written, this novel could use some polishing. It's nothing major that kept me from enjoying the story, but I think some tweaks here and there could make it a better overall read. There were some sentences here and there that could be improved through use of commas and other punctuation to separate ideas or just rearranging the word order. Authors generally improve as the go, so I expect the next installment to be more polished than this one.

The novel ended with quite the cliffhanger and I'm honestly not exactly sure where the story is headed at this point. Overall I really enjoyed reading this and will definitely be reading the following novels. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys dystopias. If that's a genre you like to read, this novel is one to add to your list. It's a very enjoyable read!

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