Illusionarium

Illusionarium

by Heather Dixon

Greenwillow, 2015, 361 pp., $17.99

Fantasy, Steampunk, Adventure

ISBN: 978-0-06-200105-4

 

Dixon’s steampunk fantasy throws its reader into two worlds—worlds that schismed apart due to the actions of one person. Arthurise is plagued by a mysterious virus called Venen, which kills infected women in six days. The 16-year-old protagonist, Jonathan Gouden, learns that the antidote is housed in another world, Nod’ol, and must use the amazing, but dangerous drug fantillium to portal between worlds. The protagonist is bright, but ordinary looking. He grapples with the concept of morality—should he commit wrongs as a means to an end? His sidekick, Lockwood, is rakishly handsome and physically adept. The bromance between these two very different characters is fun and engaging to read. Furthermore, it was refreshing that the main relationship in the novel was one of friendship, not about an angsty love triangle. Dixon explores what happens to a culture whose people no longer look to their “inner compass.”

 

Reviewed by Nicole Clawson

Brigham Young University

Provo, UT