Briefly: Melei is a riot of color; Albion is shades of slate. Jessamin, the daughter of an encounter between her Melei mother and Alben father, has left the island to continue her studies. The professor at a college in Avebury (“teeming with people, but coldly lifeless”), Jessamin’s father, under duress (and some threats), gets Jessamin admitted to the college. The locals call the people from Melei “island rats” and think themselves better, with their pale skin and bigotry.
Accosted one evening on her way home to the hotel where she lives and works, she is saved by a man with golden hair who convinces her to go to dinner with him. But what is stranger is that when they part, she seems to now have two shadows. Who is this Finn, and why is he interested in Jessamine?
Jessamin learns there still is magic in the world, and while some are content to leave things as they are, there are others who want to turn that magic into enormous power. And her relationship with Finn has drawn the attention of someone evil. Can she protect herself, her Melei friends and her new Alben allies from the ending that this villain wants to drag them toward?
Didja Like It?: Those of you looking for a snarky tale of a spunky gal may be either disappointed or thrilled. Amazingly different from her Paranormalcy series, Illusions could have been a drag. The atmosphere is gray, rainy, dreary. There is more than one time where the heroine gets relegated to a claustrophobic existence. There aren’t many secondary or background characters that fill in the surroundings. It takes a skilled writer to keep the reader from feeling the effects of those somewhat depressing features, and she does exactly that.
Finn and Eleanor keep things moving with their humor and spark. Jessamin’s connections to the island, Jacabo and his girlfriend, Ma’ati, are her support team. And when her old friend (and first kiss), Kelen, finds her…could it be fate?
Anything Else to Mention?: This is one of those books where a lot of things happen, but not a lot of things happen. There is a lot of action, elements of fantasy and magic, descriptions, characters, yet the environment and the manners and dress of the players dictate that everything slow down and run at the speed of a phaeton and not a sports car. It is very dependent upon the time period, though since it is in a fabricated locale with fictional inhabitants, the reader mentally invents the era by the speech, their clothing and the demeanor of the characters.
To Read or Not To Read: I enjoyed it very much. The visuals are fantastic, from the descriptions of the city to the ballgowns and the magical happenings. The birds are particularly striking, and the book cover conveys this with much effect.
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White was published September 9, 2014 by HarperTeen. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library and was thrilled that it didn’t take six months for her turn.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy Romance Thriller
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note.