Mini Swarm Reviews: Shaking up worlds

Posted 28 March, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 19 Comments

ELUSION by Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam
YA Science Fiction
400 pages, hardcover
Available now (March 2014)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.


Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.


Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.


I really liked parts of this story: The grim reality of the complete destruction of our environment and its repercussions. The need to escape this reality (where you have to work/go to school seven days a week — WTF? No way, man. No way.) in a fabulous virtual reality. Regan’s drive to figure out what happened to her father. And then there were the bits that didn’t appeal: the betrayal of a friendship for a cute face. The weird firewall thing and what’s behind it. The semi-triangle which isn’t a love triangle (he likes her, she thinks of him as a friend; she likes another). Disappointingly, this was a three-star read for me because this book was on the list of most anticipated for the year. Not that three stars is bad just…not what I wanted it to be.

Question: Anyone know if this is a series? Because I felt like we were kind of left hanging. Now, if that’s the way it was meant to be, I would have preferred some tying up of the too-many loose ends left hanging. If it’s supposed to be a series, I’m of the opinion that it should have been finished in one book.

Available on Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble

UNINVITED (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan
YA Science Fiction
384 pages, hardcover
Available now (January 2014)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

This is a case of nature-nurture and it’s brilliantly done. Davy’s brilliant, she’s got a fantastic future, a great family, a boyfriend…everything’s coming up roses. Until this one test comes back, saying that she tested positive for a gene which means she’s got the potential to become a killer. Her life’s destroyed. She’s treated like a criminal, even though she’s never done anything wrong. She’s abused, hated and forced to fight for her life. She’s also forced to become a killer to survive. This story…unputdownable.

Available on Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble

BANG (Visions #2) by Lisa McMann
YA Paranormal
256 pages, hardcover
Available now (October 2013)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Jules should be happy. She saved a lot of people’s lives and she’s finally with Sawyer, pretty much the guy of her dreams. But the nightmare’s not over, because she somehow managed to pass the psycho vision stuff to Sawyer. Excellent.

Feeling responsible for what he’s going through and knowing that people’s lives are at stake, Jules is determined to help him figure it all out. But Sawyer’s vision is so awful he can barely describe it, much less make sense of it. All he can tell her is there’s a gun, and eleven ear-splitting shots. Bang.


Jules and Sawyer have to work out the details fast, because the visions are getting worse and that means only one thing: time is running out. But every clue they see takes them down the wrong path. If they can’t prevent the vision from happening, lives will be lost. And they may be among the casualties…


Definitely not a slumpy middle book! The second book in this series is fast-paced from the get-go, plunging us right back into Jules’s world. There’s a strong family connection throughout (love to see this in YA books…no disappearing family in this one) and a sweet romance building between Jules and Sawyer. They’re an exceptionally sweet couple, what with all the hand-holding and stolen glances. Still very innocent and absolutely adorable. I’m terrible about completing a series but I just might have to make sure I do it with this one.

Available on Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble

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19 Responses to “Mini Swarm Reviews: Shaking up worlds”

  1. I hate it when a book is a series when it should just wrap up in one story. Sorry for the disappointment of Elusion.

    I won a copy of Uninvited (yay!). The plot reminds me of Minority Report the movie with Tom Cruise. I loved that movie so I’m happy to hear the book was really good, too.

    Bang was better than Crash for me. It was action packed from the first page. Jules’ father kinda sucked though, right?

    Great minis, Mary! 🙂

  2. I agree with “unputdownable” for UNINVITED–I sped through that sucker like a bat out of hell. It was so much fun! Exactly what I was expecting, in a good way.

    I keep seeing mixed reactions to ELUSION so I’m not sure it’s for me, though. Especially if you’ve got “it should have been one book and wrapped up better” feelings about it.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  3. So I was really gunning for Elusion, but now I’m hold off until we find out about it’s status as a series, b/c I’m not seeing anything, and I HATE to be left hanging. And I’m definitely going to get around to Uninvited. Such a cool concept. It will probably be unputdownable for me too 😉

  4. I really enjoyed Uninvited and keep meaning to pick up McMann’s work – must bump those up my TBR! – but Elusion is one I’m definitely skipping. I feel as if it would be one of those novels that’s just alright but never makes a lasting impact which I’d want it to, so it’s not really for me. Great mini-reviews, Mary!(:

  5. I haven’t read any of these! I’m holding off on reading Uninvited until the next is out. I think it’s a duet? And I actually know very little about the last book, Bang. But you certainly make it sound appealing. I’m a sucker every time for those sweet romances. And a second book that stood out to you – positive!y! I need to look those up. I don’t know why, but the cover of the first book doesn’t appeal to me. That’s one reason I’ve kind of ignored that book. I feel very shallow admitting that. Though I’ve also heard mostly mixed reviews too.

  6. I gave up on Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series after book 2; it just wasn’t for me, and I haven’t read anything by her since. Now I’m thinking I might give Uninvited a go after reading your review. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

  7. I couldn’t find any info on whether or not Elusion was a series either Mary, but I figure it has to be given that ending. It felt like a beginning of sorts, so I’m holding out hope for more!

    Uninvited absolutely blew me away, I’m so glad you loved it as well. Davy was absolutely awesome I thought, and I’d really, really like book two in my hands asap:)

  8. I was SO excited for ELUSION, but as reviews started trickling in for it, I just avoided it. And my sister LOVED UNINVITED, I think I need to read that one!

    Great reviews, Mary 🙂

  9. I have Elusion so I’ll have to try it, but my expectations aren’t high. I’ve heard great things about Uninvited and I have Crash (I think that’s the name) so I need to read it!

  10. I am still on the fence on Elusion, I thought Uninvited was solid, but I wished the author had focused more on the nature vs. nurture theme for those young teens that haven’t been introduced to it. The Wake and Bang books, I have ARCS of both that need to be read.

  11. I was surprised and amazed how much I enjoyed Uninvited. I could not turn the pages fast enough as the story just sort of grips you. I totally agree with you that it was “unputdownable.” I’m still want to check out Elusion too. Great mini reviews 🙂

  12. I am glad Uninvited is soooo good, that’s been on my TBR for like forever and I can see the book looking at me right now. Ahhh. In a good way though.

    Also, boo about Elusion being okay but then having one of those HEY I AM A SERIES endings. Ugh, I dislike that.

  13. I’ve been wanting to pick up the Visions series. It sounds so good.

    I’ve heard mixed things about the Uninvited so I’m always waffling on that one lol

  14. I’m really looking forward to reading Bang, the first one really surprised me with how good it was. I’ve hesitant to read Elusions, it has such a great premise but I wasn’t sure it would grip me. I’m glad you enjoyed them though!!