Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.
“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.
Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.
First of all, big thanks to James from Book Chic Club for providing me with an ARC.
To be honest, I sort of had mixed feelings about this book. Mainly, because I have mixed feelings about Kiersten White as an author.
When I read the first Paranomalcy book I loved it. However, the quirkiness sort of worn off by the second book and I just didn’t have the heart to read the third. As for the Mind Games duology stream of consciousness isn’t my thing. And while I did love the premises of Chaos of the Stars, the main character and I didn’t gel. So, when I read the premises of Illusions of Fate I sort of had de ja vu. Fortunately, my experience with this book turned out to be one of my good White experiences.
If not my best White experience.
Before I go goo goo over this book, I need to point out that there are some minor technical issues with the book and that not everyone’s going to like it. But it pressed the necessary MJ buttons and that really is all that matters when I review-though I’ll still try to be objective enough for others.
The book itself is pretty short (288 pages) and its a standalone and that’s two things I appreciate right off the bat. But once again, it’s one of those things that is almost a double edge sword. I think for a standalone this book might’ve been a little stronger had it been a little bit longer to build up the world and to tie up the plot better, that being said though I am really grateful this book is short.
Though I read it on and off in the span of two days. Total time spent reading was probably an hour and half tops. Which shows how engrossed I was. I think what made it so wonderful were the characters. And the fluffy bantery relationship between them.
Oh, how do I ship Finn and Jessamin, probably more than any other White couple. It actually surprises me how much I ship them because when I first started reading the book and Finn was spotted and described as looking like Matthew Crawley’s younger brother, I was like insta love.
But it’s not.
I mean, there’s definite attraction there. But both the characters work at it. And Jessamin is a complete breath of fresh air.
She actually tells of Finn quite a few times, especially when he attempts to go quasi Edward Cullen on her-I give him the excuse because a) the time period, b) he doesn’t try to eat her, and c) he’s protecting her from a sociopath.
She’s also fairly pragmatic throughout most of the entire book too, something I had never seen with any other White protagonist. So, yay for that.
The supporting case is fairly good as well. Though, I don’t like the quasi other love interest. I just felt like his purpose and motives were plotted too fast. And I couldn’t even try to swoon over him, since he seemed to have asshole written all over him.
The plot itself was alright. Probably about on par with any other historical paranormal out there, but nothing truly extraordinary. This might be the books biggest fault, since I feel in paranormals you really do have to do a lot of world building and plotting that is going to take a lot of page space. However, I didn’t really read for the plot. Instead, I read for the interactions.
The banter is just delightful. And while the plot is going on, I sort of lost myself in the character interactions. Because it was just so witty. And Finn and Jessamin were just cute together. And I liked Sir Bird. And…yeah, the plot was okay. But the book really was about the banter.
I think the banter and the books characters save me from noticing the one other flaw with the book: pacing. Everything was resolved ridiculously fast. The twist at the end of the book came out of nowhere, and I’m still sort of trying to figure out the revelations at the end. Did it ruin the entire book for me? No. But. But. I don’t know it did sour it a bit.
For me, this one really worked. But I just can’t help notice that it has some very apparent flaws. Do I recommend it? Yes, if you’re willing to overlook some technical things for great characters and a ship that is filled with incredibly fluffy-ness.
Overall Rating: A solid B.