Size: 384 pages
Release Date: March 23, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in a trilogy
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the first book in The Disillusionist Trilogy by Carolyn Crane. The premise to this book just sounded so interesting I had to give it a read. I am glad I did, there are some very creative and interesting things in this book and it is looking to be an interesting series.
Justine is a hypochondriac, and she has it bad. She is constantly convinced she is dying, constantly in the emergency room, and constantly driving her loved ones away because of her fears. She has a great boyfriend named Cubby and she is trying to make this work…the problem is that her hypochondria is getting worse and if it keeps getting worse then she may be institutionalized. Enter Packard, he is a redcap that can detect people’s psychic compatibility. He can “see” Justine’s problem and has a solution for her; she can get rid of her fears by using it as a weapon. She can thrust her medical fears into criminals, causing them to destabilize and become disillusioned. Packard’s got a team of Disillusionists set up and he wants Justine to be part of it; after trying it out and being fear free Justine is tempted to take Packard up on the offer…the problem is there is a lot more going on with Packard and his Disllusionists than Justine is originally led to believe.
The big thing this book has going for it is creativity. This is an absolutely unbelievably creative idea and the storyline is unlike anything I have ever read about before. I mean the idea of using phobias, obsessions, etc as a weapon by thrusting them into criminals is interesting and clever. Crane does an excellent job bringing this idea into play. What is really masterful is that beyond the Disillusioning that the characters do to criminals, Justine finds herself wrapped up in a Mind game of a different type. This book ends up with a plot that is layers over layers of mind games and it is very clever.
The characters are interesting too. All of them have weird psychosis they are dealing with, so the conversations between the Disllusionists are pretty darn funny. I mean when you get a hypochondriac, an obsessive gambler, a person cursed with ennui, someone convinced that world conspiracies are always in play, and someone chronically depressed together in a room…it sounds like a bad joke…and to be honest it is hilarious at times. All of the characters have some depth and are in general interesting and pretty likable.
The book was easy to read and well-written. There wasn’t anything spectacular about the writing style, but it sounded natural and was a good, quick read. The main story presented in this story is wrapped up well and some threads left open for the next installment.
There were a couple things that I didn’t like about the book. For one none of the characters really grabbed me as a reader, I had trouble relating with them and really getting involved with them. Justine was a bit…well…skanky for my tastes. She immediately thought every guy she meet was delicious and yummy and she wasn’t shy about giving the guys a piece of the action. Then she complained a lot about trying to be faithful to her boyfriend. I personally like my heroines a bit more honest…I mean if they are skanks that’s fine but at least don’t make them complain about how they can’t help being skanky all of the time.
Overall this was a great new series. It is incredibly interesting and creative, the plot was masterfully woven. I thought the characters left something to be desired and had trouble relating to Justine’s character. Given that I will still definitely be reading the next book in the series because it was just too interesting of a book…I have to see what happens next.