ILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten White Book Review
Publication Date: September 9th 2014 by HarperTeen
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: “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.
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White Book Review Overview:
- World-building takes a while to develop but is worth the wait
- Charming characters
- One of the few standalones that I wish was either longer or was part of a series; companion novel please!!
Kiersten White’s Illusions of Fate is a great light historical fantasy – without it actually being set in the past. The time period of the novel is based on Edwardian England, but the novel takes place in the fictional nation of Albion. As a reader, I got all the best things of Edwardian England such as fancy dresses and galas and cute teacups, but I also got the great world that White created.
Jessamin leaves Melei, her island home, to pursue her studies at a boarding school in Albion. Jessamin struggles to survive in the foreign city and is subjected to discrimination because of her heritage. Jessamin juggles her schoolwork along with the chores at the hotel, where she works in exchange for room and board. But when she meets Finn, her whole life changes as she learns about the hidden magical world within Albion’s gentry.
White takes her time to cultivate the world in Illusions of Fate. To be honest, I was really confused at first, and I had no idea what was going on. It took me a while to realize that – Oh, wait! This really isn’t in England but a fictional nation that kinda seems like it with its drab gray skies! While I knew that the novel had fantastical elements to it (after all, it was marketed as a crossover between Cassandra Clare and Downton Abbey – I was sold after Downton was mentioned.), I wasn’t sure what to expect. The action kicks off from the very beginning, and I found myself a little confused (and WTF?!), just like Jessamin. I wasn’t sure what to make of all the crows and Lord Downpike who made it very quick to establish that he was evil.
Despite my initial confusion, I just pushed on, and by a third of the way through, I found myself hooked into the world that Kiersten White created in Illusions of Fate. I love the concept of magic being passed down through generations by the gentry. Even more so, White actually takes the time to explain how the magic works through her characters. Magic isn’t something that I just have to accept and believe in; I can learn how it all comes together in this world.
One of the main reasons to read ILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten White are her delightful characters. Her characters come to life through their witty dialogue. I found myself laughing out loud as the characters quickly exchanged banter. It didn’t take long for me to like all of the secondary characters from Jessamin’s cousin, Jacky Boy, to Eleanor, the debutante that befriends her.
While the romance wasn’t 100% swoon-worthy, I have to admit that I liked the chemistry between Jessamin and Finn. Jessamin finds out that she and Finn are fated to each other after Finn’s shadow becomes connected to her. So basically, Jessamin walks around with two shadows. At first, I thought it was a weird concept – as did Jessamin, but Eleanor was quick to point out how terribly romantic it was. After a while, I had to admit that she was right.
The ending felt a little rushed to me, and I feel like this is one of the rare standalone books that I wish was either longer or was the first of a series. Just when I was totally captivated by the world Kiersten White created, the book ends. There are no loose ends at the conclusion of ILLUSIONS OF FATE, but I would really love to see a spin-off based on the same world. (A book on Eleanor perhaps? — YES PLEASE!!!)
Also, can I talk about the cover? In my opinion, it’s pretty rare for a young adult book to perfectly capture the feel of a book while still appealing to the market. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White has such a pretty cover. I admit it; I wanted to read this book because I liked the cover. But the more I read the book, it became clear to me that the different elements of design on the cover are actually relevant to the plot. So props to Michelle Taormina for such a great cover!
Overall, I really enjoyed ILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten White. It took me a while to get into the story, but once I was hooked, I couldn’t put the book down.
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