Months ago, Ciere would have cast her illusion outward, like throwing a sheet over a table. It would cover everything, but the pain was debilitating. Now, after months of careful practice, Ciere reaches out and  imagines the world the way she wants it. She visualizes the frozen white fields, the twist in the road around a clump of trees—the trees that make a perfect place to stash their getaway van—and the dirt-streaked snow covering the pavement. She gently pulls at the landscape, smudging over the lines of the spiked chain and the armed mobsters. The illusion settles into place, and anyone who walks into the scene will be affected by it—all they’ll see are a few hazy flickers, like heat waves rippling across the snow.

Once again I’ve picked up a book mid-series. I need to start checking out whether I’m only starting or hopping on a moving train. In this specific instance, the train was called “Illusive” and I’ve started with book 2. Thankfully, there is a bit of a backstory so I didn’t go in to be blindsided by characters that everybody knew and a story that had some spicy bits already in the past.

The Story

Ciere Gilba and Alan Fiacre have joined the Gyr Syndicate under Brandt Guntram for six months to pay off her debt. But when of one of the team is killed and the Syndicate turns against Alan who’s found leaning over his body, Ciere begins a search for the real perpetrator of the crime, her suspicions growing that Guntram may be involved.

In a separate thread we get to see Devon Lyre upset over Ciere’s abandonment and wanting to escape his father’s disappointment quickly accepts an internship with a law enforcement agency in Washington, DC.

“‘Nearly eighteen years ago, ’” says the teacher, “‘a new strain of meningitis caused a  global pandemic. An effective vaccine was created by scientist Brenton Fiacre, but it was improperly tested prior to global distribution. The vaccine called Praevenir caused unexpected side effects in approximately 0.003 percent of its recipients.’”
Devon sits at his desk, chin cradled in one hand, eyelids drooping. He lets the words slip past him, catching only part of the lecture. He can recite it from memory, but that’s not new. He can recite anything from memory —because that’s what it means to be one of that 0.003 percent.
“‘… The following symptoms—precognition, body manipulation, perfect recall—’”
Cheers, Devon thinks. “‘—levitation, telepathy, the ability to induce hallucinations—’”
That’s what the government calls illusions.
Hallucinations. Devon silently scoffs at the idea.
Hallucinations make the process sound vague, blurry, and random. He knows firsthand what illusions can do.

“‘—and mind control.’”

Set in a world where an experimental vaccine for a deadly virus left some Americans with supernatural abilities, fear and distrust have grown against the Immunes, giving rise to intolerance and government policies that ensure they are tagged and if deemed a threat are waylaid by the military or police agencies. In this atmosphere many Immunes survive by joining criminal organizations or government agencies like the FBI or UAI (Immune Only Intelligence Agency). Fast-paced and action-oriented the plot heats up not only with a murder that has Ciere searching for a killer, but Daniel and Devon have become involved in exposing a kidnapper who abducts Immunes. Intensity and suspense quickly escalate when Ciere not only confronts an Alberani assassin but the three reunite to expose a conspiracy.

It’s a good YA novel and the writing is perfectly paced. I might pick up the start novel and see if some of the things that got me scratching my head were only due to my lack of knowledge.

3/5