Review: Illusion (The Remedy Files) by Lauren Eckhardt

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
A life without feelings, a life without decisions; that’s the only life Evangeline knows. Due to the manufacturing of Remedy, her community of Impetus has discovered a way to survive and prevent the self-destructing mistakes of The Before by inhibiting feelings, creating a society that relies wholly on logic and entrusts Impetus to make all the decisions for its people. A chance encounter results in a friendship between Evangeline and Gavin that challenges Evangeline to reassess her conviction in the world she has always known and introduces her to a choice she never thought she had. By defying Impetus on her 18th birthday, Evangeline is taken on an intense journey through the divided populations, power struggles, love triangles and the vitality of physical and emotional feelings. Every single part of her being is tested and challenged to make decisions like she’s never before been forced to do. She must determine who she trusts, who she loves, and who she’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of what’s right and to fight what she believes is wrong.
Summary courtesy of Amazon
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The first thought that struck me as I was reading this book was how very similar it was to The Giver. Here are some parallels I drew from the first half of the book:
- Evangeline lives in a community. (It is always referred to as 'the community', just like in The Giver)
- The people of this community do not have deep feelings.
- Feelings are suppressed by taking pills. (Similar to the movie, which has injections)
- There is a Ceremony where all the teenagers are assigned their jobs and are finally considered adult.

(The following point contains a spoiler for The Giver)

- The Impetus (basically the Elders of this community) secretly kill people who may be a threat to their perfectly-structured society.

- And Evangeline, like Jonas, has light-coloured eyes, which is atypical of those who live in the community.

The process of Pairing seems to be taken from Ally Condie's dystopia 'Matched', and Evangeline, like Cassia, even receives a green dress to wear for the occasion. Green.

The first half of the book really let me down, because there were just too many resemblances to be a coincidence. This is mostly why two stars went down on my rating. I feel there could have been more originality on the author's part.

That being said, I did quite enjoy the second half of the book, when Evangeline's life in Rebirth begins. Her relationship with Gavin is really sweet and totally shippable, but then there's Liam, too. I see a love triangle coming!

I think the conversations between Evangeline and Gavin in the later half of the book is a little bipolar; one minute there having a moment, and the next, they're arguing again. (especially that scene in the woods where Evie follows Gavin.) It was a little jarring how quickly they moved from squabbling to kissing.
Although the setting was not very original, the plot wasn't, so points for that! It had me hooked, especially after Evangeline's Future Ceremony, and watch out for the killer ending, which was a total cliff-hanger.
Who would I recommend this to?
For the ardent fans of The Giver, this book may be annoying with its many similarities and borrowed ideas, so reading it may not be a good idea. But I can tell you that the ending took a very different turn, and I will  consider reading the next book in hopes of it being more original than this one.
Final rating:

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