Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Illusion by J.S. Cooper | Swept Away Series
Other books in the series:
Series: Swept Away Trilogy
Author: J.S. Cooper
# of Books: 3 (Illusion, Disillusioned, Resolution)
There are 2 novellas: #1.5 Charade & #2.5 Masquerade
Book Order: Chronological
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Romance, Mystery, Dark
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**
J.S. Cooper is one of those authors that I have a few freebie reads for on my Kobo & Kindle yet haven’t had a chance to read any. But when I saw this series, I had to read it right away. One, it reminded me a lot of Stolen by Lucy Christoper, one of my all-time favourite books where a girl is captured and tells her story through a letter to her captor, and two, it was a contemporary romance with a “dark” tag on Goodreads. So I figured it would have all the elements that I loved in Stolen but with older leads and the cool spin of being trapped on an island (which seems to be a popular plot device lately…).
After reading Illusion, I’m not sure what I am feeling. One word that comes to mind is awkward and I use that word for a few reasons. One is the delivery of the mystery elements. It seemed choppy to me and not smooth in its execution. I mean, I get that in mystery novels, truths are revealed a little bit at a time, but in this case it felt like they were dropping things like they were hot and that you were supposed to know. I find it really hard to explain what I am trying to say without giving away any plot points. I guess to sum it up, I did a lot of flipping back in pages to make sure I had the right idea about things because it just seemed like the planning was messy. Maybe it’s just been a long time since I read a mystery/suspense novel and that’s why I struggled a bit.
That messy planning did have a positive aspect: while I had suspicions about what was going to happen, I never totally predicted what would occur. So being fuzzy in all the details did keep me in suspense and made me want to finish the book faster.
Another reason why it is awkward is the “romance”. I know if I was stranded on an island with a strange, handsome man, my first instinct would not be to jump his bones. I guess you have a lot of free time on your hands since you are stranded on an island and all; so you theoretically could focus your time on sleeping with the hot guy you don’t entirely trust but I’ll just say that isn’t my first priority. I know it is a dark romantic suspense novel, hence the romance focus but I just found it personally weird (and I’m pretty OK with reading nontraditional relationships) and I think it ruined my impression of Bianca. Because of how she is so wish-washy on the romance and how she interacts with Jakob, it made her seem like a complete idiot to me and she never recovered in my books.
Another awkward thing is that the synopsis on the back of the book kinda gives away part of the plot line. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but once you are two chapters or so in, you kinda figure it out and I am thoroughly confused as to why you would let your publisher do that in your synopsis as it kinda ruins the whole “mystery” of the story!
I will be reading the prequel novella, Charade (which is to be read after Illusion despite being a prequel novella as it has spoilers) and the sequel Disillusioned just because I really want to know what the full mystery is and I didn’t feel like I wasted my time with Illusion just because it wasn’t executed the way I would have wanted.
–April 8, 2015– Book #2: Disillusioned
I was lucky to get one of the first copies of Disillusioned from my library as soon as it was released. Again, I have mixed reactions reading the execution of the plot. It seemed a tad more polished this time around but I found the characters to be extremely frustrating. It was like they were intentionally being vague just for the sake of being a pain in the ass! Hey, here’s an idea! Let people actually complete their sentences! Man, the number of times Bianca would interrupt someone when they were talking–and always just on the brink of revealing the truth–was physically exhausting to read!
Even more frustrating is that fact that Bianca is a complete idiot! I really don’t like calling anyone an idiot but this is an exception! Bianca is told one very specific thing and she somehow turns it completely around! Like she was literally told who the one “guilty” person is and she goes on and on thinking it’s someone else! I’m not sure if this is an editing error (it seems possible) but I really do think Bianca is just plain stupid.
Regardless, there is some interesting plot development in the end and I’m looking forward to the closure the finale will provide!
–May 18, 2015– Book #1.5: Charade
It is recommended that Charade should be read after Illusion and I agree. To read it before would give away some spoilers because of how Illusion is written (in its stupid unreliable narrator way). Overall, it gives you a little insight into the events that lead up to Illusion but in the end all it did was continue my perpetual disdain for Bianca’s idiotic character and a few others. Therefore, I wouldn’t say it is necessary to read but it does expand on something that isn’t full explained in the full novels.
–January 20, 2016– Book #2.5: Masquerade
–January 20, 2016– Book #3: Resolution
I will admit, I was very surprised by this book. I thought it was the best of the series in terms of writing and plotline. Finally, we get some answers and I have to say I was impressed by how everything came together. The big reveal was intriging and worked well with all that we had been given.
The characters still annoyed me, but luckily, this isn’t a very long book and most of the book is other people talking or flashbacks so we get very little Bianca time–so I would call that winning!
Series Rating: 2.5/5
Illusion 2.5/5 | [Charade] 2/5 | Disillusioned 2.5/5 | [Masquerade] 3/5 | Resolution 3/5
Interesting premise and mystery but it just seems a little sloppy to me.
Because it is a series, I feel a little trapped into reading the next one because I want to know how it all ends. So I’m not completely giving up on this series; however, I won’t be going out of my way to recommend this to people. It’s over the top drama and sex at every turn. Very disappointed in it overall.
Read if You Like: erotica, dark romances
Avoid if You: dislike reading illogical characters
- Facade by Nyrae Dawn (Games Series #2)
- Wanted by Amanda Lance (Wanted Series #1)
- Torrent by Gemma James (Condemned Series #1)
Synopsis for Illusion (from Goodreads):
The day started like every other day…
Bianca London finds herself kidnapped and locked up in a van with a strange man. Ten hours later, they’re dumped on a deserted island. Bianca has no idea what’s going on and her attraction to this stranger is the only thing keeping her fear at bay.
Jakob Bradley wants only to figure out why they’ve been left on the island and how they can get off. But as the days go by, he can’t ignore his growing fascination with Bianca.
In order to survive, Bianca and Jakob must figure out how they’re connected, but as they grow closer, secrets are revealed that may destroy everything they thought they knew about each other.