Illusion Town by Jayne Castle

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Illusion Town by Jayne Castle

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Lauren True
Reviewed by Lauren True
Summary: Action-packed and laced with romance, this book is well written and certainly a thrill ride.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: July 2016
Publisher: Piatkus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0349409504

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Harmony is a futuristic, post-Alien landscape buzzing with paranormal energy and filled with those wielding peculiar talents. It is here, in Illusion Town, Harmony, that we find Hannah West, who wakes one morning with a gentleman beside her, no recollection of the night before… and a wedding ring around her finger. As the town's motto tells us, in the streets of casinos, bars and mature entertainment the thrills are real, and she is certainly not the first to wake up to such circumstances. Yet for Hannah and her new husband Elias, something is different. As memories resurface and clues are discovered, they realise that recalling their lost night is the key to unlocking a collection of secrets, evading a gang of violent motorcyclists, and solving a series of gruesome murders.

Illusion Town is not the first book Castle has set in Harmony; indeed, there are multiple tales and adventures concerning the same landscape that have preceded it. When I first encountered Illusion Town, never having read any of the other novels, I found myself wondering if this meant there would be an expansive background I was unaware of, or futuristic terminology I would not understand. However, Castle does a fantastic job of reintroducing her world. While one realises that there may be history between characters that stems from previous adventures, knowledge of this is certainly not necessary to enjoy the latest instalment.

In particular, something I found intriguing about the novel was that despite the fast-paced action that never seems to cease, Castle has still managed to weave elements of romance and humour into the narrative. The sexual chemistry between Hannah and Elias is impossible to ignore, and builds as the adventures progress. As for humour, Hannah's curious but oblivious aunts brought a smile to my face, as did Virgil, her pet dust bunny (a small, futuristic creature) whom it is hard not to fall in love with as he switches back and forth from his protective role of guardian to being fully fluffed and adorable.

Hannah herself is a satisfyingly complex character. Independent and business-driven, she provides an equal match for Elias, which is a refreshing subversion of the stereotypical damsel-in-distress role. In fact, she is often the only one who possesses the power to further the investigations. She also refuses to listen to Dr Grady Barnett — an irritating analyst who insists she is fragile because of her talent of dreamwalking — and instead uses her uniqueness to her advantage.

Moreover, Illusion Town is a chance to explore a future world in all its chaos, and, at its core, to take a look at those things we know can survive through the ages: love, family, and adventure.

If Illusion Town is something you enjoy, I would recommend taking a look at Angels Fall by Nora Roberts; this too features a feisty protagonist, the fight to rise above classifications, and the need to solve a murder before time runs out.

Booklists.jpg Illusion Town by Jayne Castle is in the Top Ten Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels 2016.
Buy Illusion Town by Jayne Castle at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Illusion Town by Jayne Castle at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Illusion Town by Jayne Castle at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Illusion Town by Jayne Castle at Amazon.com.

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