Hardcover, 275 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by HarperTeen
Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.
“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”
Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.
Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.
Reviewer's Copy: ARC
Source: Harper Collins(Thank you!)
Illusions of Fate was set in a colonial period alternate world, with a strong vibe of historical fiction. There was a struggle and tension between the Albens and the Melenese. The story world presented a colonial experience that was both a reality and a history for many people around the world.
Finn and Jessamin were two of my most favorite characters. Being both Alben and Melenese, Jessamin was stuck in between, not as dark as her people but not as fair and pale of skin as the Albens. Studying in Albion, made her standout as an outcast. She seemed so out of place yet she was determined to survive. She had a strong spirit and an even stronger dedication to her people. She wanted to finish school and to be a teacher back in her island. Finn, on the other hand, was filled with mystery and charm. In the beginning, I even thought that he was the bad guy. But as the story moved forward, his protective layers and "public face" were peeled off, revealing the true Finn. He was not your typical noble. He was open minded, which seemed too advanced for the period they were in, and had a kind heart.
The secondary characters were also bright and radiant, shining along with the main characters. Sir Bird, an unlikely ally, had become my favorite literary pet. Although wordless, his (not an it as Jessamin would say) eye contact, caws, movements and beak-thrusting-into-the-air could convey so much meaning. Because of this, I found myself amazed with Kiersten White. She was able to "humanize" a crow so effectively. Eleanor was another bright star of the show. She was extremely loyal, smart and fun. She brought color and humor into the story. I just loved reading about her ramblings, her gossips and her plans.
Albion has a highly political society. The hierarchy was apparent, though it was not as detailed as I would have wanted it to be. As the story unfolded, magic's role in the society was emphasized - how it could create both order and chaos, and establish the grounds for changes. Although there were predictable variables in the novel, there were also unpredictable elements and twists.
The writing was smooth and beautiful, as it was in her debut Paranormalcy. White was a good a storyteller. What I liked most about her novels was the humorous tone and wit that were embedded in the pages. Nothing was ever boring in the hands of White. The characters' lines had me thoroughly entertained, cracking up with laughter and smiling. The banter between characters seemed so natural.
I loved that this novel was a standalone but I hated that I would not get to read about Finn more. I would have very much wanted to find out more about his past and how he came to be such a gentleman. Aside from that, there was a specific scene in the book related to the antagonist that troubled me. It remained a question in my head until the very end.
Illusions of Fate was a captivating and humorous colonial period fantasy. With explosions of magic, tragedy, social politics and twists and turns, Illusions of Fate will satisfy readers of fantasy and historical fiction. I recommend this to people who are looking for the following:YA books with humor and wit, colonial-period historical fiction (the likes of The Winner's Curse) and a quick read.
4 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!