Illusions of Fate
by Kiersten White
Published on September 9th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Goodreads
Also by this author: In the Shadows , The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
“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.
This is a story about magic, prejudice, discrimination pride, fate, destiny, mystery, good and evil, conquerors, conquered, and most of all, love, friendship and acceptance. Needless to say, I LOVED Illusions of Fate.
The setting and world building is always important when writing fantasy and I think White did a great job. This is not a world that is completely foreign to the reader, but more of a subtle change of a world based on Britain in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Albion is an Empire, its climate is colder and their people are very formal and somewhat repressed. As I said, the names of the countries changed, and of course, the fact that the nobility have magical powers, but it is not completely alien. Melei is a conquered island, full of color, flavors, culture, and passionate people.
I stop midway to standing. “I told you my name?” His sly smile is back, all innocence gone. “I plucked it from the air around your lips. And for the privilege of knowing it, I’ll tell you mine is Finn.”
Jessamin comes from Melei to Albien to attend school. She’s very smart, but it’s discriminated (and bullied!) by the Albians because of her origin and the color of her skin. Yes! You heard right, Jessamin has “dark skin and straight black hair”, way to go with adding diversity. By chance Jessamin meets the gorgeous Lord Finley (Finn) Ackley and her life get a lot more complicated. Jessamin is not perfect and she tries to deny her feelings and underestimates the danger that she’s in, which was a bit aggravating.
Finn is a young lord and he’s very powerful, both because he’s a noble and rich and because he’s a mage. I adore Finn! He tries to be so tough and calculating, but the way he fell so madly in love was so sweet. He would do anything for his country, but nothing and no one takes precedence over Jessamin, and that is swoon worthy. I also loved that Finn was willing to share everything with her, even a magic that she couldn’t perform, but understood quite well.
I love their relationship, but if there is something that I would improve is that I wanted more of the romance. I know that part of Illusions of Fate felt “historical” and it is a YA book, but I feel like Jessamin and Finn’s time together could have been more. Also, I think there is room for a sequel or a companion novel to this one. Can you tell I want more of this couple?
“Jessamin, I should very much like to call on you.” … “But,”, he says with a drawn-out sigh, “I’m afraid I cannot, simply because I do like you, ever so much. I should not have stolen this moment as it is…”
The two other main characters are Eleanor and Lord Downpike. Eleanor is also a noble, and l ’m happy that she hit it off with Jessamin as soon as she met her and was able to love her for who she is and not from where she came from or the color of her skin. Jessamin deserved a true friend and she found that in Eleanor (besides, she was so much fun!) The bad guy is Lord Downpike. There is a twist in the plot that I can’t spoil for you, but he’s awful, cunning, twisted, cruel and all a mortal enemy is expected to be.
“Will it hurt?” I hate that tears pool in my eyes, but I cannot help it.
He nods. “It will. Terribly. But only for a moment.”
“Couldn’t you knock me over the head with something first?”
He smiles, but it doesn’t touch your eyes. “Then I would have to fix your head, too, and I’m much better with fingers”
I loved both the writing and the plot of Illusions of Fate. There is magic in this book, but it’s of a different kind that relates heavily in spells, knowledge, ability and know how. The dialogue, banter and conversations are funny and witty, I truly love White’s writing.
“I’m still very cross at you.” “Making you cross with me is a full-time occupation.”
Overall, Illusions of Fate is a must read for fantasy and magic lovers anywhere. Highly recommended.
About the cover: Gorgeous! It is beautiful! The girl with the delicate cup that has a depiction of a cold, foggy city. The ravens are an important part of the story, and I love the colors and the illuminated font.