Friday, December 12, 2014

Book Review: Illusions of Fate

Title: Illusions of Fate
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Genre: Fantasy // Young Adult // Romance // Magic
Format: eBook
Source: Library

“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.


  1. It was such a BBC book, right? It lost itself a bit at the end, totally agree! But the beginning was great! Man oh man, I wish I remembered more of the details but my memory's a little weak so...

    Fantastic review, Amber! <3 x

    1. YES. It had Downton Abbey written all over it. I think that this would have been a pretty good series, oh well.

  2. Ya the pacing was a bit off but I loved it. This is my first Kiersten White book and happy I liked it very much.

    Great review by the way :)
    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

    1. This was my first Kiersten White book, and since then I've only read her short story in My True Love Gave to Me. She seems like a pretty solid author, I'll have to try her other series soon.

  3. I LOVED some of the themes this book raised as they aren't those you often see in a YA historical. But I agree that the end was a little rushed -- this could have been a little longer to allow things to wrap up in a more satisfying fashion...
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Yeah Illusions of Fate was a really intelligent novel, I didn't expect it to draw so many parallels when I first picked it up. I don' think I would have minded if this were a series, or at least duology.

  4. Only 3 stars? Kiersten White hasn't been my fave author so I probably won't be reading this one. It also sounds very very slow…the more likely I'll be hating on it HAHAH I hate YA historical fiction…they don't come out that strong to me. :( But thank you for the helpful review!

  5. Oh, pacing problems suck. :( They kind of throw the whole book, right?! And that is the wooorst. It does sound like a super interesting book but probably not one I'd run for. STILL. I do want to try another Kiersten White book eventually!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

  6. It's a real shame that the pacing didn't work for you, girl! I wasn't a fan of this book at all, and I can agree with quite a few of your points here.

    Lovely review, Amber! <33


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