I was provided with an ARC of this book.
4 out of 5 stars.
This book is completely awesome! It is set in a steampunk version of Europe where the female population is being ravaged by a strange disease. Jonathan and his father are under orders from the king to find a cure when a strange scientist from his father’s past comes and offers them a way to speed up their research. Using the smoke from a strange chemical, she can induce shared hallucinations that certain people can manipulate. Jonathan’s father flat out refuses to use the drug, but when his mother and sister fall sick, Jonathan decides to take a chance with the compound, not realizing its strange and sometimes lethal side effects.
This book is really amazing. The character of Lockwood, the brash Lieutenant who seems to think primarily with his fists, is hilarious in his interactions with Jonathan. The villain is appropriately villainous and there are a couple really neat character twists in this book. The system of magic with the hallucinations is really well thought out and unique, and the gladiator-style competitions in the book will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. In the appropriate steampunk fashion, there are airships and steam guns aplenty! I love the penalty thought up for manipulating illusions and all the imagination that went into this work. It was exciting and hard to put down. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for a good steampunk read or some swashbuckling, blimp-flying, magical adventure. Hooray for Heather Dixon!