Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 380 pages
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Illumination Paradox trilogy
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com for review
Rating: 3/5 stars
This is the second book in the Illumination Paradox by Garlick. The first book in this series had some excellent world-building and great steampunk elements. This book was a bit more scattered and I didn’t like it quite as much as the first one.
Eyelet must rescue Urlick before it’s too late. However she will need to journey through the woods (which are full of the Infirm and criminals) as well as sneak back into the city of Brethern (where she is a wanted criminal) to do so. Luckily she has Crazy Legs (aka CL) to help her out and they are able to hook up with freak show train and sneak into the city undercover. Things don’t go as planned and suddenly Eyelet finds herself a prisoner of the dreaded insane asylum she’s worked her whole life to avoid.
This book switches POV a lot more than the first one. We hear from Eyelet, Urlick, Flossie and CL quite a bit. I honestly didn’t enjoy the parts from CL or Flossies’s POV much; I just had trouble engaging with those characters.
I thought this book was also a lot more scattered than the first one. The whole plot around the illumination device and how it can save or destroy the world was brushed aside as Eyelet rushed to rescue Urlick and then Urlick rushed to rescue Eyelet. Rather than broaden the awesome world shown to the reader in the first book, this book seemed to ignore the world in place of all this rushing around and rescuing folks. There are still a lot of intriguing steampunk devices throughout the story so that was good to see.
A large portion of the story takes place in Madhouse Brink, the very asylum Eyelet was desperately trying to avoid. Madhouse Brink was a disturbing, strangely illogical (I know it’s a madhouse), and inexplicable addition to the story. A lot of weird things that are in this place seem to be there for novelty and not any other reason in particular; they are also never well explained. It was just…an odd addition to the story.
Eyelet and Urlick are both flawed characters, but I admired their devotion to each other and their dedication to their friends. The plot does take some interesting turns and I am curious to see how things play out in the third and final book.
This book leaned more toward the new adult or adult age group rather than young adult. The scenes in Madhouse Brink get very violent, gory, and disturbing. There is also a lot of fairly explicit and romance- style talk about sex (although the act itself is never gone through in detail). I was just a bit surprised at how much “adult” content there was given that the first book was pretty YA friendly.
Overall this was an okay book in this series. It had more adult content (sex, torture, gore) than the first book. I also though the plot was scattered and didn’t enjoy the addition of Flossie’s and CL’s points of view. However I do still find this world intriguing and am curious as to how the story will play out. I will most likely pick up the last book in the series. I would tentatively recommend this series to those who are looking for more YA steampunk.