Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence: A Book Review

Dispel Illusion


Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.

Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.

Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.

Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.

Author: Mark Lawrence
Publisher: 47north
Release Date: 14/11/2019
Pages: 234
Series: Impossible Times #1
Genre: Science Fiction
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating of ‘Dispel Illusion’: 5 out of 5
Purchase: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Audible UK, Audible US


I’ll start out by saying that, not only is this one of the most clever and well thought out trilogies I’ve ever read, but it’s easily one of the most satisfying I’ll ever read.

The first book in the series showed our young protagonist’s future self coming back to ensure that everything happened as he remembered it happening. That, we saw through Young Nick’s eyes. In Dispel Illusion we see those events through older Nick’s eyes and get a real ‘coming full circle feeling’.

It’s not just book one told from a different POV as this features everything that happens in older Nick’s time that leads him up to making the jump backwards. So much great stuff happening across multiple timelines.

The writing was witty and clever in equal measure and, of the Lawrence books I’ve read (in fact of most books I’ve read) this trilogy as a whole stands head and shoulders above the crowd.

Every book comes in at around 220-250 pages, making them short, easy reads that pack more story than most novels of epic length.

One of the long running plotlines that features from book one is the group’s D&D campaign. It’s a charming little side plot that has so much more to do with the overall story than I ever really appreciated. Just more cleverness from Lawrence right there.

My only negative about the series is that it took me so long to pick it up. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Go buy One Word Kill. Go buy Limited Wish. Buy Dispel Illusion. Thrust yourself into the wonderfully nerdy and brilliantly clever world of Nick Hayes and co.

I just wish there had been something at the end where certain characters met up in the future. Could have really hammered certain feelings home.

33 thoughts on “Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence: A Book Review

  1. Similar to you I think I’ve put off reading this. It has always been on my radar but when I read the synopsis it turns me off.

    Really encouraging to hear you enjoyed this so much. I might need to try and put this higher on my list

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was such a brilliant, well-written and cleverly plotted trilogy. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 😀

    …It also definitely helps that the books are routinely selling for 99p on Kindle. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay: time travel, and a D&D campaign added to it as a side plot? This sounds like totally my thing! Even though my to read list is already pretty much past the breaking point, I’m definitely adding this trilogy to my list! It sounds awesome! Also…congrats on hitting 500 WordPress followers! 😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 I think I saw it the 500th cone in yesterday. I don’t actively seek followers that often so it’s nice that that figure has clocked up.

      Every book in the trilogy is relatively short. Nice quick, easy reads. Hope you love it as much as I did if you get around to it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, I’ll be passing this, I’m afraid 😉 I didn’t enjoy the first book enough to pick up the second (though thankfully it was no Nevernight, o gentle friend…), but I’m happy that you did! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I felt Nick was unconvincing and flat – a super-genius adult conveniently locked into the body of a teenager. I didn’t like the McGuffin Motorola chip subplot, nor the similarities with Stranger Things which I thought pronounced and irking. It was slick and well-written, granted, but it felt like fast-food book to me 😉 There’s a review of it on the blog if you’re interested I can find a link for you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wouldn’t call him an adult super genius in a child’s body. I’d more call him a child prodigy.

        The thing that shocked me most, in a good way, was that I was expecting a dreary read about a kid with cancer. Was so happy when it became humerous and more positive.

        All of the strange plot choices are pretty much tied up by the end of the trilogy but, admittedly, if you’re not a fan it won’t be any fun going through to get to them.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, you’re more forgiving than I am, at least in this case 😉 I’d say this was the intention, but in the end I felt some of his thoughts and worldview belonged to a 40-odd-year-old man.

        Ah, so I’d have to read two more books to get a satisfactory answer to my criticism? I guess I’ll pass 😉 but I’ll bear that in mind if I ever come back to reading this!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not normally a fan of beat em ups, but it was really good. They had the proper japanese anime voice actors in on it so the cut scenes felt like you were watching the anime. I really do need to push on with it. Just not been in a gaming mood

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been always so curious about this one but man.. I’ve seen a couple of mixed thoughts on the first book that stopped me in my tracks. And when I got around to reading The Girl and the Stars (which we bought thought was meeeehhhh), I stopped getting TOO excited by anything Lawrence-related for a while hahaha You’ve definitely convinced me to try this one for myself someday though. Thanks for sharing, sir! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would say The Impossible Times trilogy is easily my favourite Lawrence book. Super-easy reading and nice short reads.

      Yea … The Girl and The Stars was not a hit with me. In all fairness I didn’t enjoy his Jorg stuff either. So a bit hit and miss.

      Liked by 1 person

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