Khanh the Killjoy

Not "Nearly" as bad :P

Elusion - Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam
Even though I have way more important things to be concerned with than a kiss, that moment is replaying itself over and over again in my thoughts.

Oh, for fuck's sakes, girl. Get your head together.

This was not an outrageously terrible book, but it was completely insipid. At no point in the book did I ever find the main character to be anything other than incompetent and unreasonable. The plot leaves much to be desired, mainly because the main characters' actions and thoughts make little sense, the main character has these wild suspicions, and naturally, the book is written in a way to make the events unfold to her advantage, but to the reader, it is completely improbable.

The main character is a girl who is helpless, who gets pulled in easily, who believes in mad conspiracy theories. Regan is a girl who would overthrow a lifetime of friendship and the bonds of family for a handsome stranger. Needless to say, there is insta-love and a love triangle, the most clichéd one in the world, between a handsome, golden-haired best friend and a dark, mysterious stranger whom she is determined to trust against all reason.

Is world building completely optional in YA dystopia these days? Whatever happened to weaving together an interesting, plausible background? You can't just throw terms at me and expect me to know what it is. You can't just tell me that this is how the futuristic US is without telling me how we got to this point. Where's the context?! The "hacking" is completely fucking dumb. The "future" is completely unexplained.

The Summary:

The rest of my fellow travelers are all someplace else—a world with no pain, no concerns, and no stress; an enchanting, make-believe world that exists solely in their minds.

The drug of the future is not cocaine, it's not heroin, it's not methamphetamine. It is Elusion. Elusion is a technology invented by Regan Welch's late father, a technology that transports the user to a virtual world, free of pain, full of bliss. Serotonin levels in the brain are enhanced. It creates a feeling of euphoria in an enchantingly beautiful world, all within one's mind. It can create numerous scenarios, from a Thai resort paradise, to outer space.

The planets, moons, and stars—is completely astounding. Luminous yellows, greens, and reds come together like large blotches of oil paint mixing together on a blue-black canvas. Pinpricks of glowing white light are scattered everywhere.

It is beautiful...and it is highly addictive.

Regan's childhood best friend, Patrick, is now in charge of developing the technology, and he is now prepared to launch the Elusion app to the entire United States. Not everyone is happy about this. There are rumors of its dangers, an outspoken vlogger has long spouted conspiracy theories about Elusion.

“She said that there’s an object or something inside the program that’s threatening users’ lives.”

And this vlogger is not alone. At a party, Regan meets a tall, handsome stranger.

His sandy-colored hair is cut close to his scalp, making his cheekbones stand out as much as his amber-tinted eyes.
Military academy. No doubt about it.

Josh isn't a stranger to Patrick. They clearly have a bad history together, Josh claims that Patrick is up to something bad. Patrick says Regan can't trust Josh. It's their words against each other.

Something strange is going on with Elusion technology, no doubt about that, and Patrick wants Regan to keep quiet about it until he figures it out.

And don’t tell anyone what happened until I figure things out—not even your mom. You have to promise me.”

Josh thinks Patrick is hiding a secret that could help him find his sister. He wants to know the secret.

[Josh] exhales and says, “Tell me everything.”
As the wind outside continues to howl, I tell him.

Who can Regan trust?!11!?!one! Is it her best friend, the one with whom she shared entire life, an entire childhood?

When Patrick and I were in elementary school, my father used to spoil us with treats from Mo’s every Friday. After our hands became sticky with frosting or glaze, Patrick would chase me around my house, trying to tickle me.

Or will she trust the handsome stranger, the one who almost killed a man?!

“He hit a guy and got sent to military school. I know. He told me.”
“Hit a guy?” Patrick says, sarcastically. “He almost killed someone, Ree. Beat up a kid so badly he was in the hospital for three days.”
I snort at the accusation. It seems so exaggerated.

Hit a guy. Killed someone. Same thing, really. The two words are like right next to each other on the keyboard.

What Setting?: There is absolutely no background in this book. The book takes place in Detroit. For those of you not living in the US, Detroit is like the toilet seat of America. It is a horribly broken city. It is filled with slums, gangs, there is a lot of racial tension. There are skyscrapers, yeah, but what you don't see is that most of the skyscrapers and business buildings are abandoned. The city is bankrupt. It currently looks like this.

And this.

So how the fuck did we get from that, to...this.

I gaze through the slight film of mildew covering the glass surface, looking out at Detroit’s industrial skyline on the other side of the channel. I can actually make out all the architectural details of the high-rises—the antiquated neo-Gothic and art deco designs mixed in with more modern cylinder-style layouts; the narrow spires and old Corinthian columns and pilasters.

This book takes place in the future. We don't know how far in the future. We don't know how we got here. We don't know what the fuck Florapetro is. Florapetro. Florapetro. Florapetro. The word is constantly mentioned throughout the book, yet there's not an entirely clear explanation to what it actually is. I'm tempted to think it's some kind of biofuel based on how it was presented, but dude, if you're going to constantly refer to something polluting the air and powering cars, I'd like a little fucking background. We have acid rain. The air quality is so bad that people are forced to wear O2 masks whenever they're outside.

It’s a negative ten, which means this area is a currently a red zone, so O2 shields are highly recommended.


The H4X0RS: The futuristic technology is just implausible. So let's see, we have the Elusion technology broadcasted through a visor, which plugs into your brain waves and stimulates your brain chemistry so that you can be wholly immersed into a virtual world...and we still have some ancient-ass computing technology without much explanation on how it's updated? Motherboards, servers, firewalls. Awesome, but we have all that right NOW.

This book's technology is completely unimpressive. For one thing, people still watch movies through AVI files and music through WAVs. That's fine, these technology are like paper. They're essential. What should have made them realistic and feel believable in a futuristic setting such as this needs work. It's like paper, we will always use paper to write on, but 1000 years ago, did we have ballpoint pens with which to write on them? No! Give me some technology update. Make up something! Don't give me some ancient technology and expect me to believe that it's the future!

Oh, and a firewall? It's an actual fucking wall. That eats people.

I watch, helpless, frozen in place as he is taken away from me, sucked into the fuzzy gray wall as though he is being eaten alive by an insidious monster.

Hacking? Oh my god. This is the TV version of hacking. The completely unrealistic version of hacking when a few fucking commands of code will get you into a top-secret security system.

-Icon is up.
-Type in //reboot// then press //Alt+Command//

It worked.

A few seconds tick by; then Josh responds.
-Do generalized programming search, using this code //1r3c70rY5020//

-No luck.

-Try this advanced search //4DV4NC3D 534RC|-|5020//

Suddenly rows and rows of file names start piling up on the screen.

I text Josh right away.
-Pay dirt.
-Shit yeah!

I don't think so...Regan: Regan isn't the type of person I want to be a friend, or a family member. For one thing, she has no fucking loyalty. She is fuckle as fuck. She is the type of person who will allow herself to be won over by a pretty face, by the flutterings of her own heart. This is insta-love at its mindless, between Regan and Josh.

I have the exact same stunned yet overstimulated feeling I had after the demonstration at Orexis yesterday. My fingers are hot and tingling, like I just burned them on a boiling kettle. I’m standing here, staring at him again, wondering why I find it so hard to say something, or even move.

Unlike the mysterious Josh, Regan has known Patrick her entire life. They grew up together, Patrick was her father's protegé. They have laughed together, they've shared secrets. They are best friends. Regan starts feelings...suspicious towards Patrick, and from then on, it's all downhill. Everything Patrick does is interpreted to be a sign of DOOM, no matter how innocuous. She is determined to find faults with everything Patrick does, she never listens to her instincts about him.

But I plant my feet firmly on the floor, refusing to give in to these feelings of doubt. As much as I care about Patrick I simply don’t think I can trust him to tell me what’s going on.

Whereas the beloved Josh, the stranger whom she barely knows, is to be trusted against all reason. His word is her command.

Josh reaches into his pocket and pulls out his tab, holding it firmly in his hand and gazing at me as if he’s standing by for an order. “I think I could track one down in a few hours.”
Without even thinking—about betraying Patrick, or breaking the law—I say, “Do it.”

She goes against her own instincts. Everything Josh does is interpreted in a good light. Nothing seems suspicious, Josh can explain away anything, and Regan will buy his word.

“He’s using your father’s computer.” Josh finishes my sentence, his eyes brightening. “A three-panel quantum with touch recognition. Am I right?”
I recoil from him a little bit, mostly because I’m freaked out by how precise his guess was. “How’d you know that?”
“Patrick likes to brag. Told me all about it at the party,” he explains.

Josh could be a killer. Regan refuses to believe it.

He pushes up his sleeves, and I take a nice, long look at his toned forearms and large hands. I see what he’s getting at, but again, it’s hard to picture Josh as a threat, even after what he’s told me about his past.

Regan is absolutely determined to paint Patrick in a bad light and I just can't see it. I can't see the evidence to distrust Patrick. Patrick's explanations make perfect sense to me, and yet Regan sees it as an attempt of his to turn her against Josh.

“Yeah, like the second he feels I’m not taking him seriously, he goes and befriends you. Don’t you think that’s a little suspicious?”
Patrick knows me so well. He’s aware of all my insecurities.

Everything Patrick does is viewed as a "blatant manipulation." Uh, not to me.

Regan's priorities are just fucked up. She and Josh mess up a mission because they kissed, and Regan is more concerned about his feelings towards the kiss than the fact that their mission failed.

The message of this book: it's fine to trust a stranger if he's good-looking.

Best of all, I have someone by my side. Someone who I really want to trust—and who looks amazing in a thick winter coat.