ARC Book Review: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

Posted March 7, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Book Review: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl KlamElusion by Cheryl Klam, Claudia Gabel
Series: Elusion #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 18th, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via 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.

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.

1 Stars

*sigh* *whimpers* Elusion, I wanted to love you so badly. I put you on my most anticipated reads list for 2014 and… it didn’t work out. It just didn’t. I did not get along with this book.

So Elusion is a science fiction semi-dystopia in which this new technology, Elusion, allows people to escape their daily reality and go into a virtual idyllic world to relax and find their literal happy place. Our main character, Regan, is the daughter of the inventor of Elusion – although her father has since died and passed the company on to her prodigy best friend, Patrick. As Elusion is taking off and more and more people are in love with the product, it becomes apparent that all is not as it seems. Elusion might be bad for people.

Basically what made me so excited for this book, aside from the beautiful cover, is this idea of virtual worlds. I know it’s been toyed with in a lot of sci-fi, so it may not have been the most original story, but as long as it was done well, I would love it. Because, actually, I haven’t found one that’s done it well yet. Well… I obviously need to continue my search. Quickly it becomes clear that Elusion‘s science/technology side and the world building suffers from a lack of research. Terms from our world, what we already know today, are used out of context and incorrectly. I may not be a computer/internet wizard, but this is not how this stuff works. If you want to use contemporary tech and science terms, at least make sure it’s well researched. The world building hinged on your suspension of disbelief, but I couldn’t let it go. Especially not when, at one point, Regan is hacking into a computer and apparently can find the files she needs, which should be marked by the code 5020, by using the following commands:

//4DV4NC3D 534RC|-|5020//
//EyE Am ph33|1n6 |u(ky5020//


I’m sorry, WHAT?! The last one ACTUALLY WORKED and found the files she needed. You’ve got to be freaking kidding me. At that point, this whole book went down the toilet for me. Seriously. I briefly considered whether this was a placeholder that would be changed in the final copy, and I dearly hope so, but I doubt it and that pisses me off. No. Just no.

The rest of the plot didn’t really help. Elusion’s technology works as a kind of hypnosis that triggers your body to produce more endorphins than normal. And some people are smart enough to realize think that this means it is addictive! Wow. How surprising, right? But then the company and Regan vehemently deny this. Nooo way your body producing positive chemicals would be addictive. *headdesk* It was so obvious, seriously. Never surprising at all. Most of the plot hinges on people running away in the middle of conversations. Every time. They’re talking about something, it gets to touchy subjects, they run away, Regan despairs about not getting all the answers. The ending continues this. It was the most stupid place to stop ever. Practically nothing is explained, and the story just ends. I am not amused.


And now you may thing, yeah, this technology sounds obviously addictive, so there would have to be some regulation about that, right? Right. Well. A lot of the struggles the company faces in the book is to get some “CIT” approval to be able to roll out Elusion to the whole of the US. But it’s already out in three test cities. The whole novel I was wondering… how did they even get it to test markets? Seriously, this sounds horrifically addictive, how did THAT happen? Near the end of the book, it comes out that after the company first submitted the product for approval, within 24 hours the CIT reviewed the documents and let them do the test markets. I… no. No. NO. The world does not work like this.


But obviously, as indicated by the blurb, which I should have paid way more attention to, Elusion is also rather romance heavy. In fact, we get a LOVE TRIANGLE. WHEEEE. We all know how much I love those. This love triangle, however, is particularly stupid. It is devoid of all chemistry. On one side we have possessiveness, and on the other side we have instalove. Regan clearly falls on one side, so it was pretty pointless. But still the boys fight over her like she’s the best thing since sliced bread. I don’t get why, because she hardly displays any personality.

The main romance made me cringe. It was straight out of the chapter of how to get Debby to NOT ship your romance.

But there’s something about Josh – with his slightly asymmetrical face and the small gap in his teeth and the barely there hair – that makes it impossible for me to get his image out of my mind. Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
That’s… not attractive. Nope. Nope nope nope. I don’t want to sound superficial and “all about the looks” but what the fuck is this? That is not a dreamy dream boat guy. And maybe it would be refreshing to have a romantic interest that’s not a supermodel – but then it’s hard to accept it when Regan raves like he’s the most handsome guy in the history of ever.

The romance continues to be disgusting when they have one kiss that is rather devoid of all chemistry and literally talks about him sticking his tongue in her mouth. Wow. That sounds so desirable. No feels from this romance. What irritates me the most, however, is how the romance is the dominant part of the story at the most awkward of times. I mean, there’s this whole running conspiracy theory about Elusion that Regan is investigating together with Josh, and Regan claims to be suspicious of a lot of people and events. At a certain point, she’s discussing some theories with Josh, and in the middle of one of her aloud strains of thought about who they could trust and who’s plotting what, the following happens:

“Nothing. Just forget it.”
There’s a brief moment where it seems like he’s going to lean in and kiss me, but he reclines instead, slouching down so he can rest his head on the back of the sofa. I’m disappointed, but I can’t really blame him for missing his cue. He’s hanging on by a thread. Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
WHAT. THE. FUCK. GIRL. What cue? What signal? You were in the middle of a dark discussion about suspicions! Get your priorities straight! It would have been weird if he had kissed you! That was so NOT THE RIGHT TIME. This freaking romance. Ughhhhhh.


It’s really hard to care about a story when you hate all of the characters. So indeed, after the worldbuilding, plot, and romance already struck out for me, the characters could not make up for it. There were hardly personalities to be noted, but I was all right with them, for the most part… Until, at around 70%, the story went completely to shit.

Avery, the tough girl bitch, bursts out in tears within two minutes. Patrick, who supposedly loves Regan, yells at her and acts like a right prick. Josh keeps things from her which she then forgives in about ten seconds because, what the hell, he’s just so pretty. Her mother, who was in a near catatonic state at the beginning of the book, has miraculously recovered and gets on Regan’s case for not communicating with her – as if she’s the parent of the year. She admits to some faults, but seriously, overnight she went from near-comatose to full-time working, contributing member of society, and I’m not buying it. Regan herself completely manipulates Patrick’s feelings for her and strings him along like a right bitch. And at a certain point, Regan gets injured and it reads as if it’s a small scratch or something (no screaming in pain) and later it appears she’s bleeding through her bandages, and Josh should leave her behind.

SO MANY INCONSISTENCIES. Maybe this is because of the two authors, that they weren’t in sync enough, but the end result is that I just don’t care about any of it.


Summing Up:

Clearly this book didn’t work for me on any level. Nope. The best I can say for it is that I liked the beginning and how the virtual worlds were described. But that’s about it. There were way too many flaws, and I could not suspend my disbelief. This romance can go to hell. And I’m going to go cry, because I was so ready to pre-order a copy and have this LOVELY cover on my shelves, but that’s definitely not going to happen now.

GIF it to me straight!


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8 responses to “ARC Book Review: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

  1. *sighs* deceived, yet again, by the pretty. But even beyond the pretty, it sounded so promising! I will never understand why an author would choose to write about a subject they knew so little about, and were unwilling to research properly.

    I think I’m finally ready to move this off my wishlist. I’ve seen enough negative reviews, all speaking to the same weaknesses, to realize I won’t enjoy it.

  2. I was honestly never really drawn in by Elusion, summary or cover. And reading your review, it sounds like I made a good decision to avoid reading it in the first place! I think the concept would have been pretty great, but I feel like I would have been annoyed at the romance and had a hard time liking these characters based on how you’ve described them.

  3. I agree with you to a certain point, there are several flaws , the authors should not write about things they don’t know and the editors should do their job . However, unfortunately I had started two really awful books before picking up Elusion and because of that I didn’t find it so bad.