Author: Kiersten White
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Genre: Fantasy // Young Adult // Romance // Magic
“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 (goodreads).
Illusions of Fate is set in beautiful world based in magic and political gain.
Plot: Illusions of Fate is a nice slow build. We are first introduced to Jessamin who travels to the continent from her colonized island in hopes of getting a proper education. She runs into the dashing "Finn" and things get weird from there. I thought that this novel moved at a nice slow pace, Jessa is given information on magic little by little, we discover different aspects of the political system and the history of the world, and the romance takes a back seat to the political intrigue. Once the romance begins to pick up ,I feel like Kiersten got tired of waiting and just hit the reader with every plot twist possible. The pacing was so off that I felt removed from the story.
Characters: Jessamin has left her island of Melei full of sun and love to the dreary London-esque Albion. As Melei was colonized by leaders of Albion, Jessamin is treated significantly differently from the paler Albionians. I loved the social parallels of colonization in Illusions of Fate. Jessamin manages to keep a straight face while people hurl insults at her, remark on her "exotic" dark skin, and make lurid comments about the sexualization of her culture. Finn, her romantic interest, was a fairly nice love interest but he isn't given much personality. From the opening pages, he seems to exist just because Jessamin exists and is ready to confess his undying love. Their love felt lopsided which I think is a result of the confused pacing as well.
World Building: Kiersten White did a fabulous job of creating her world, I could easily picture myself on the rainy streets of Albion, at a fancy gala, or in the parlor of a mad man. It really does have that 20th century London feel that makes me want to go binge watch period pieces on the BBC.
Short N Sweet: Illusions of Fate is an intelligent novel that explores the negative affects of colonization, it fell short due to an inconsistent pacing.