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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Towards the end of last week, I did a tour recap of the night where I got the chance to meet Natalie Whipple and Kiersten White, both fabulous and amazing authors, and now I’m finally getting the chance to post my review of ILLUSIONS OF FATE, the spotlight book of the tour. Now before I actually say anything about the book, I have to introduce you to someone.
This ^^^ is Howl from the Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki directed, spectacular movie HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE. And if you are a fan of animated movies (and even if you aren’t) I strongly encourage you to try one or two
or all of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s movies. The reason why I’m introducing you to Howl is because throughout the course of the book, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and Howl in particular played a strong part in my visual of Finn, the male main character to ILLUSIONS OF FATE. During her tour stop, Kiersten said that Finn is a combination of Mr. Darcy (from Pride & Prejudice) and Howl, and that is exactly on point.
One of my only complaints with this book was Jessamin. There were so many things that I absolutely loved about her, from her personality and how hardworking she was to her dry humor and letters to her mother. But there was also the fact of the matter that sometimes she’s stubborn beyond all practicality and the fact that she made some really bad decisions because of her pride despite the fact that her life and the lives of others were in danger. This is a problem in YA that I see that’s incredibly annoying, and I was sorry to see it in Jessamin.
There were so many things I did enjoy about the characters though. I thought that White’s portrayal of Finn was spot-on, and I really enjoyed reading about him. I loved Jessamin’s determination to protect the people around her, and the community that she had around her. There were a few things I wanted to see more of, particularly more scenes with Kelen. I really wanted to really be able to feel the friendship and relationship between Jessamin and Kelen, but it didn’t really happen. ***This is NOT a love triangle.***
On to Jessamin and Finn’s relationship. I really had no qualms with the two of them, and I actually quite liked their relationship. I appreciated how chaste it was, and how White led up to everything perfectly. I actually loved the banter between the two, and it was a lot of fun to see how their relationship progressed. I completely ship them, and over the course of the book I only loved them together more and more. They go through their own share of troubles, and they have to face their own prejudices against each other–a concept that I love in books, and that was done really well.
The world-building was amazing. I wanted to see more of Jessamin’s life at the boarding school she was at, and maybe a flashback or two of Melei (the place where Jessamin was born and raised), but that was okay. I loved the visual of the life Jessamin lived, and I could picture everything clearly in my mind.
One thing about the ending–this book is a stand-alone, which I really appreciate and I LOVE because I’ve been waiting for way too many series lately. But the thing is, I felt like the ending was a little rushed. There were a few critical things I was looking for in the ending. They were small things that I could let go, but I felt like it needed a little bit more time.
Overall, I completely loved this book and it’s one of my favorite reads of 2014 so far. The writing is clear cut and the prose is beautiful without being too much, and the writing is compulsively readable. There are so many little things, the magic, Sir Bird, Eleanor, that made this book stand out so much more than it already does. I would definitely recommend this for fans of Bethany Hagen, Libba Bray, anime in general and anyone who has ever wanted to see more of Howl. 4.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 278