Strength of Body vs. Strength of Mind
It’s been quite some time since I read a book that was unabashedly YA Fantasy. And to be honest, it was a nice break from reading books that require me to ponder life’s bigger questions, and to be introspective. Illusionary is the first book in a series about a group of Enhanced human beings who have been forcibly segregated from the non-Enhanced population, living in total isolation from society at large. The Enhanced society has further divided itself into a group of those with super-strength related powers (Primals), and those with mind related powers (Sages), allowing very little mixing between the groups. And although the book is a cautionary tale against segregation within populations, and against the otherization and marginalization of specific groups, it is at its core a just-for-fun read, with exactly the right amounts of romance and action to keep the plot moving at a quick pace.
Within the society of Minefield, the Enhanced community, the Sages view themselves as being superior to the Primals, when in reality each group has their own severe limitations that could be remedied through greater cooperation, and intermixing. The Sages are physically weak, suffering at high rates from ailments like asthma, and being more prone to broken bones than an average person. The Primals meanwhile have difficulty regulating their anger and can easily be triggered into acts of violence. The heroine of the book, Nathalee, is a rare hybrid, with gifts from both her Sage and Primal lineages, that have always served to further ostracize her. This lifetime of ostracization served to make her ultra-aware of the need for her society to band together, if they ever want a chance to be free of their community-sized prison. As a telepath, her relationship with a mute Primal named Holden is sweetly fulfilling, as she is the first person who has ever heard his “voice” or been able to truly speak to him, and in some cases for him. I look forward to seeing how this dynamic will deepen and evolve over the rest of the series.
I enjoyed this book, and read it over just two sittings, but I shied away from giving it five stars because there was not quite enough tension in the plot buildup for my liking; the story was straight forward without any twists and turns, or major revelations. That being said, the romance was sweet and gentle, and the characters were easy to root for, as they faced surprisingly relatable problems. The ending of the book was also satisfying, setting up future books in the series without any major cliff hangers, but with just enough open-ended questions to ensure continued interest. I plan on downloading the rest of the series for spring break, since I know it will be perfect for time spent traveling, and on the beach.
Meghan is a coffee connoisseur, devoted milspouse, and exhausted momma to a three year old daughter and three dogs. She enjoys hiking, glamping, and traveling. You are mostly likely to find her reading good books in a hammock with a view of the ocean or mountains.