(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 31, 2015
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In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist.
Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion's firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan's father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world alive.
Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It's dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?
I heard about the first book in the series, Elusion, a few weeks before it hit the shelves in 2014. The cover was beautiful, the story enticing, and Reagan’s men were swoon-worthy. When I received an ARC of Etherworld, the much-anticipated sequel to Elusion, I could not have been more ecstatic. The story picked off directly where the end of the first book left off—a huge cliffhanger, for those who haven’t read the first one—and Reagan and Josh were fighting their way back to save themselves and the rest of the world from the side effects of the virtual reality. Stuck in Etherworld, the world behind Elusion’s firewall, with her dad, who she had believed to be dead, they were the only ones who knew of the price that everyone would pay for an hour of escaping from reality.
At first, I found it slightly difficult to get into the book and had to pick immediately back up from where the characters left off myself. I continued reading the book, partly because I loved the first one, but didn’t fall for this one like I did Elusion. Since Reagan already knew whom she needed to defeat and who the bad guys were, there wasn’t a lot of mystery to the story. This time around, she had to convince everyone else that the darkness lurking beneath the complex code was real and extremely dangerous.
Whereas I liked Josh in the first book, I still loved Patrick, her longtime best friend, the most. My feelings towards Patrick, especially after it was evident that he isn’t one of the evil masterminds, were the same in the second book, and I favored him over Josh. I liked Josh’s character well enough but only thought he and Reagan clicked at the end of the novel (maybe revealing his new aspirations involved going to college for his Physics degree was what swayed my opinion).
Reagan was as headstrong and determined in this book as in first book, but her determination was more urgent. She was a strong leading character and kept her fortitude even when defeating the enemy seemed nearly impossible.
The technological, Sci-Fi feel to the books would entice any fan of Tron or someone who is fascinated by pushing the limits on computer programming and the results that would follow. Elusion and Etherworld presented a fantastic example of a dystopian society—a world that wishes to hide its true nature behind an utopian façade.
Even though I did not enjoy this book as much as the first, I believe that it was a wonderful conclusion to Reagan’s adventure. I liked that her story only spans two books, and by the end of the novel it felt like her tragedy was finally ending so that a happy ending, which leaves readers without any questions, could begin.