Sunday, 9 March 2014


I remember my excitement when I purchased a copy of Mary Fan’s debut novel ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES. The book was so great in many ways (link to my review is at the bottom of the page), that I jumped at the opportunity to read and review Mary’s sequel to ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES, SYNTHETIC ILLUSIONS. Mary Fan has created another sci-fi / thriller masterpiece. Following Artificial Absolutes, Synthetic Illusions throws Jane Colt into another whirlwind of breathtaking action as she and the love of her life, an AI named Adam Palmer, are persecuted by Jane’s elder brother, Devin Colt.

The book opens with a “What-the-hell’s-going-on?” scene that made blood pump faster in my veins. Why did Devin act the way he did? What was going on? The scenes in the book were so vivid as if I was watching a movie. SI is written in multiple points of view, but they are presented in a way that you never feel lost in the scenes. Mary Fan masterfully manages to combine action scenes with the characters’ thoughts in a way that we get to know them so well, as if they are real people, someone we’ve known for ages.

Whereas I sympathized with Jane and Devin, I think I cared about Adam the most. That may sound strange, “to care the most about an AI”, but I couldn’t help myself when reading about the pain he had to go through, and about the sacrifice he was making for Jane.

As a slow reader, I should say the ending kept me so thrilled I couldn’t stop reading it until the last page. I was literally on the edge of my seat, biting my nails and keeping my fingers crossed for the trio of characters that I’ve fallen in love with. I’d love to thank the author and Red Adept Publishing for giving me the chance to read the sequel. I don’t know if there’s going to be a sequel, but in any case I’ll be looking forward to reading more books by Mary Fan.

Here’s a taster to give you an idea what Synthetic Illusions is like.

“Adam firmed his grip on the gun. Forgive me, Absolute One.
He shot the nearest guard in the leg, then ducked, dodging the guards’ blasts with agility he hadn’t known himself capable of.
His mind became murky, and he was hardly aware of his own actions as he fired again. The world blurred. His body moved as though possessed.
His mind cleared, and he became aware of his surroundings. All six guards lay dead on the floor. Adam stared in horror. How could I have done that?
He turned to Jane, who glanced up at him with tear-filled eyes. The scientist was nowhere in sight. I have to get her out. He started toward her. Scorching pain erupted through his back. He fell.”


Illusion is the only reality.

Jane’s new career as a composer is a dream come true, but her blossoming relationship with Adam is marred by his terrifying nightmares. When Jane receives a warning that a shadowy agency is targeting Adam’s seminary school, she rescues him in the nick of time, but the only way she can protect him from such a powerful enemy is to run.

In a shocking betrayal, her brother wasn’t the one who warned her about the attack on Adam. Instead, Devin was leading it. As Jane struggles to keep one step ahead of Devin, Adam’s exhaustion gives way to horror: His nightmares have begun to touch the real world.

Jane can’t abandon Adam to a fate worse than death, and far more than Adam’s life hangs in the balance. As Jane pushes further into the dark unknown, she must challenge everything she once believed in, and she faces the most wrenching decision of her life: choosing between the two people she loves most.


Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil. And what stories she has! Currently, she has three series in progress: her well-received Jane Colt sci-fi novels (Red Adept Publishing, released 2013), her upcoming Flynn Nightsider YA dystopian fantasies (Glass House Press, 2015), and her recently contracted YA fairytales, Fated Stars (Glass House Press, 2015). Mary would like to think that there are many other novels in her bag, and hopes to prove that to the world as well. And though she's well on her way, she can't help dreaming of more.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

NB! My review of ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES can be found here: