Book Series Review - The Disillusionists by Carolyn Crane.

The Disillusionists by Carolyn Crane is my latest, great reading find in urban fantasy. It's only three books in series. I know, it's so novel to read an urban fantasy series that is a trilogy and the bonus is all the books are already published. The series was recommended as our Goodreads three month, book series read and for me, it's been a delightful discovery.  The heroine, Justine Jones, was so likable to me and she wasn't super badass, but she fights for what she believes is right.  Add convincing side characters and it makes a series this reader thoroughly enjoyed. Plus throw in a couple of sexy guys and I'm intrigued to find out what happens next.

So join me after the jump and learn why you should be reading this series. Mildly spoilery for the series.

Order of Books

1. Mind Games
2. Double Cross
3. Head Rush

Book Review

Disillusionists are people with a special ability to zing their paranoia, their vices or their insecurities into other people. By zinging they are able to alleviate their own pressure on their mental health. It has the added bonus of a "glory hour" after a zing, which kind of makes world feel magical. The Disillusionists are bound together to try to turn despicable, evil people around by disillusioning them to such a point that they hit rock bottom and turn their lives around. Alas if it was as simple as that. The Disillusionists see the lowest of society, the morally depraved, the guilty and just the plain scary. These are the people that most of us probably think don't need saving. The setting is a fictional city called Midcity. A city full of crime that is the kind of place Disillusionists would flourish. Crane is able to create a world that pulled me in and I didn't want to let go. Okay maybe I did a little, when a few of the scary talents that people had come to light. 

The series is told from the point of view of one Justine Jones. I really like the ring of her name. Hypochondriac extraordinaire, she was busy spending her life paying off medical bills and trawling through online medical forums, heightening her paranoia of every little virus and unheard of medical condition you can imagine.  If you are a hypochondriac, medical forums should be avoided at all costs. The weirder the condition the more likely you think you might have it. It's hard to maintain a relationship when you are always at the ER thinking up imaginary illnesses. But what it does is makes Justine a valuable commodity for one Sterling Packard, head honcho of The Disillusionists. What a great tool Justine would be in his tool box for turning around people that needed disillusioning.  Imagine playing on hypochondriacs' fears and turning it against them?

As usual though, nothing is as it seems and Packard has his own end game in sight.  He's trapped in a restaurant called Mongolian Delites and he'll do anything to escape and I mean anything. Of course there is a bit of charged sexual chemistry between Justine and Packard, but to Justine it doesn't feel right and she starts to see herself as a minion,totally reliant on Packard to keep the madness at bay, a situation that Packard weaves to his own ends.

There is a love triangle with Justine, Packard and Otto. (I can't talk about him too much as I don't want to spoil you.) Let's just say that in Justine's mind Otto is her ideal man, although I can't get over the attraction to someone who wears a beret all the time. I do mean all the time. He even sleeps with it. The reality of who and what Otto is might just shock your socks off. It did for me and hell, there is a cliffhanger kind of ending to Double Cross, Book #2. You cannot imagine my relief that this whole series had already been completed. I should warn you early on that there is kind of a love triangle, but it's very clear which guy our main character Justine Jones is destined to be with and the love triangle is an integral part of the story, especially by Double Cross.

Carolyn Crane has skilfully woven her tale together and has made me care about what happens to the characters. I love the interplay between Simon and Justine. They have this kind of "I hate you, but I grudgingly admire you as well" friendship. Doom-and-gloom-Shelby and Justine who have become best friends, also clicked with me. I felt that their relationship could really work and what do outcasts want? They want friends. They want acceptance. Despite Packard's flaws, he seems to be able to give this to The Disillusionists.  Thus this motley group kind of become a family.

A tiny nugget of information of Carolyn Crane. I think I liked her just a little bit more when I read she use to be obsessed with Nancy Drew as well. Oh, how I loved Nancy Drew. No wonder I liked your series, Carolyn Crane. If you are looking for a fantasy book without a whiff of werewolves, vampires or witches, but still urban fantasy, then this series might just be for you.


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