Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate
By: Kiersten White
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: September 9, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
288 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

One of the best moments for a bibliophile is when she gets her hands on a much-anticipated book, and it is exactly as magnificent as she thought it would be. I got the pleasure of experiencing just that with Illusions of Fate.

The book is set in a fictional land in what seems to be about the 19th century. Albion is the continental home of the aristocracy, who are able to access and use magic. Our heroine, Jessamin, is the illegitimate child of a dark-skinned woman from Melei, an island colony, and a light-skinned scholar from Albion. Jessa's mother insisted that Jessa learn the language and customs of Albion better than those of even her home Melei, and has sent Jessa to the continent to continue her studies. Her darker skin, however, continually sets her apart from everyone, and makes her the target of several forms of prejudice.

Jessa is honest and strong-willed to a fault, however, and is determined to say and do what she feels is best. When she attracts the attention of the dashingly handsome Finn, as well as the villainous Lord Downpike, she refuses to defer to the authority of either man, as most Albion women would. This is perhaps my favorite thing about the character, and probably one of the best reasons that the book should be made available to as many YA readers as possible; our young women need great examples of strong women who hold their own and think for themselves without becoming hateful or destructive.

Jessa's friend Eleanor is one of the best secondary characters I've read in a long time. She's a classic aristocratic beauty, yet she's a study in contradictions. She understands that men often underestimate her, but rather than fight the stereotypes, she plays the part just well enough to allow her to be covert and gather a lot of useful information. She freely admits that she loves to gossip, yet she gathers and dispenses just the right tidbits to just the right ears, with perfect timing. She's much more intelligent than most think, and much too cunning to be showy about it. She's the kind of friend every teen girl needs on her side.

There is a love story, but it certainly doesn't upstage the magic, the intrigue, and the coming-of-age storyline. The plot is well-crafted and perfectly seasoned, and begs for a sequel. The one item that niggles at the back of my brain will surely be resolved in a subsequent volume, so for now, I'm happy to let it go undiscussed.

Illusions of Fate is a luxurious mix of witty dialogue, exotic setting, and intriguing characters. It's certain to be on my list of favorites for 2014, and I'll be pushing it into the hands of everyone who gives me a chance.


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.


  1. Wow
    This sounds so good
    HHow come I have never heard of this before?
    great review, though

  2. Oooh nice review! I am debating over getting this one but reading lots of good reviews so I may have to add it to the TBR mountain!

  3. A lot of people have really loved this one. I thought it was okay, but I wasn't blown away by it. I'm glad you loved it, though! Great review :)

    Amber @ Fall Into Books

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Amber.
    Soma and Jessica- get it! I think it's a must read for the year.

  5. Eep! Sounds wonderful! Love the new social hierarchy and the magic and it's awesome diversity plays a part!!

    Lovely review :)


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