Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White is a standalone historical fantasy that combines terrifying magic with rather thoughtful commentary on colonialism and the accompanying racism. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from Illusions of Fate and didn’t realize how much magic played a role in its plot. I really enjoyed the magic and world that White created here, to the point that I wish this wasn’t a standalone! The first half of Illusions of Fate was definitely my favorite part of the book, meaning that I ended up being a little disappointed, but it was a fun ride.
Note: I received an advanced copy of Illusions of Fate from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTeen on Sept. 9th, 2014
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 275 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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“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.
- Creepy crow magic! Do I really need to say anything else? No, because the more I say, the less surprised and horrified you’ll be as Jessamin discovers the horrible hidden world of magic. But seriously, I can’t look at crows for too long anymore >.>.
- Jessamin is a really wonderful main character. She’s one of those characters that I would love to be friends with and am kind of disappointed that she isn’t actually real (as far as I know <.< >.>). She says what she is thinking and is harshly realistic about the world and her goals for her place in it. She also refuses to shy away from the consequences of her upbringing in a colonized island nation as she is going to school in the country that thinks it is better than her people.
- Speaking of colonialism! I love when speculative fiction takes the opportunity to comment on problems that we have in our own world, but in a setting different enough that we can get an outsider’s perspective on the situation. Jessamin and Finn have some great conversations where they both point out the racist assumptions of each other’s cultures, but then work to overcome those painful assumptions in their relationship.
- The romance between Jessamin and Finn is really quite adorable and proceeds slowly enough that I could believe it while still fitting in to a rather short standalone.
- Beyond just the creepy crow magic, I enjoyed how magic was treated in Illusions of Fate. Since Jessamin is learning about everything from the outside, the magic maintains an air of mystery that just made me want to read more to learn a tiny bit more. Seriously, can I have a sequel puh-leeeeeeeeeeeease?!
- Honestly beyond the love of the magic and characters, I really want a sequel because there are too many unanswered questions left at the end of Illusions of Fate for me to be completely satisfied. I must know how everything came to be this way and how it works!
- The plot twist that I assume was supposed to be shocking really didn’t shock me. I didn’t necessarily see it coming, but I just didn’t care enough to even try to figure it out I guess.
- If you couldn’t tell, the ending in general just fell pretty flat for me. I’m sure that I should have felt emotional and I just felt nothing :-/.
- I have a pet peeve about a certain aspect of the ending of Illusions of Fate, but I can’t tell you because I don’t want to spoil anything, but this certain pet peeve had me majorly rolling my eyes and led to the half-star less….
Illusions of Fate had a very promising beginning that sucked me in and kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed reading about this world and Jessamin very much and would honestly love to read a sequel to spend more time with Miss Jessamin and to answer some of the questions that are left painfully open. While the ending had me shrugging a bit, it was still an enjoyable reading experience overall and since it is so short, I do still recommend reading Illusions of Fate!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
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