by Carolyn Crane
Released: March 23, 2010
Series: The Disillusionists #1
Published by Spectra
Does anyone else love the X-Men? I love it, the comics, he films, the TV series I eat it all up with relish, I can’t get enough of my favourite misunderstood Mutants. Now, imagine that the X-Men are actually just a normal group of people and each has their own special brand of crazy, alcoholism, chronic pessimism, paranoia, gambling addiction, rage issues and hypochondria, now imagine that instead of being lead by the wholesome and morally forthright Profersor X, they are instead lead by a younger, more charming Magneto. This motley crew would be the Disillusionist and the subject of this book. The Disillusionist are a team of vigilantes-for-hire who reboot criminals trying to make them into decent members of society by breaking their psyche open with fear and inviting them to take a look at their dispicable selves, in affect, stripping them of all their illusion. Disalluisioning them.
Justine Jones is a hypochondriac and it is tearing her life apart, her normal happy go lucky boyfriend is on the cusp of leaving her and the constant fear is eating away at her sanity. That all seems to change when she meets with the mysterious Packard who says that he can not only help her get rid of her hypochondria but she can save the city she lives in, which is now suffering through it’s 8 year of a huge crime wave. But Packard is keeping a great many secrets and Justine conscience is nagging her, is she really doing the right thing?
What a fantastic book, it was original, putting an entirely unusual twist on the classic superhero and a superhero group. I loved that Crane made all these peoples neuroses their “superpower”, they were also a little morally suspect, normally you have a group like this being the good guys, but it wasn’t quite that simple, one they did their good deed only for money and two their leader Sterling Packard definietly had a few nefarious plans. Packard was another great thing about this book, I loved how he was described as their overlord and the disillusionist as his minions, it was funny, but also gave Packard a slightly melodramamtically sinister air.
As well as Packard, Justine, from whom point of view this book is told, was also a memorable character. She was compassionate, funny and a little crazy. At first I found it being told not only in first person POV but also in present tense a little strange but once I got used to it I quite enjoyed seeing everything from Justine’s angle. The secondary cast of characters for this, mainly the other disillusionists and their marks were also great and added some warmth to the story as Justine finally finds herself being able to fit into a group of people without having to hide any parts of herself.
The plot line in this book was full of little mysteries and surprises, I didn’t see some of the twists coming and what is even better is that I can’t guess at all how this trilogy is going to end. This is a great read, not only does it have characters that are both intriguing and likable but it has a great story line, which I can’t wait to read more of.
If you liked this book, I think you may also like: Black & White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge