Dixson, Heather Illusionarium Greenwillow Books (Harper Collins), 2015. $17.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: PG13
Jonathon is a young man training under his father to be a physician. When they are asked by the king to find a cure for a plague that is only killing women, the pair find themselves extremely motivated to help when their sister and wife are stricken. But a new discovery, a chemical called fantillium, changes everything. Jonathon is sucked into an alternative world where society breathes in this chemical to experience group hallucinations, fantasies woven by special people like Jonathon. But everything is wrong with this place and Jonathon has the odds against him as he tries to survive, find a cure, and get to his home dimension.
This was a super creepy and hard to put down steampunk novel. It did sometimes make my brain hurt, like the movie Inception did, trying to juggle parallel and alternate version of reality. In fact, the ending, with a bunch of math to solve things, is what made me not rate this book as essential. There is a tad of romance, a ton of danger, adventure, and some well crafted characters. I even took to staying up late to read this one. I am not sure if the copy I received has a final cover, but I would like to see a cover looks less like a romance and more like an adventure so it would have broader appeal.
HS -ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.