YA Review: ILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten White

I was a huge a fan of Kiersten White’s PARANORMALCY trilogy, and while I’ve enjoyed her last few books, they haven’t quite lived up to that series for me. Hey, when you really love something, that’s hard to do. However, her latest, ILLUSIONS OF FATE, captured that magic again–in more than one way :).

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten WhiteThe people of Albion are different from anyone Jessamin has ever known: harsh, uptight, and obsessed with wealth and rank. Jessamin knew as much when she left her sun-drenched island home to attend school in their gray, dreary country.

But she had no idea how different they truly were.

She never thought she would discover a house with doors that open onto a hundred corners of the city or a book that spends its days as a bird. She certainly never expected to become a pawn in a political and magical power struggle between the sinister Lord Downpike and the handsome, charming Finn Ackerly. And she never so much as imagined she’d win Finn’s affections–or that one day his shadow would follow her every step.

Fortunately for Jessamin, fate has other ideas …

Here are the five things I loved most.

1. The setting – Despite the description, I didn’t realize until I started reading that this book is historical fantasy. I loved the period, with the beautiful gowns and carriages and formalities. It does give a sense of the characters being older, as in any historical YA, but I enjoyed it.

2. Jessamin’s letters – It’s a rather small part of the story, and yet Jessamin’s letters to her mother are such a great demonstration of her personality. Here’s a sample from the opening of the book:

“Dear Mama,

“I am most certainly not dead. Thank you for your tender concern. I will try to write more often so you don’t have to worry so between letters. (Because a week’s silence surely means I have fallen prey to a wasting illness or been murdered in these boring, gray streets.)

“School is going well. I am excelling in all of my classes. (Apparently, some things never change, and girls are not challenged in Albion in the same way they weren’t on Melei.)

It goes on, obviously. But don’t you get such a great sense of how she thinks in what she doesn’t say to her mother?

3. The magic – It’s amazing that with all the stories out there about magic, Ms. White found a new way to introduce it in this story. At least, a way I haven’t seen it done before. I won’t give it away because you should just experience it yourself.

4. The romance – It’s both a love-at-first-sight and a slow-building romance at the same time. I know that sounds contradictory, but it makes complete sense if you read the book, so do it!

5. The ending – Ooh, there was something I really didn’t see coming at the end. And yet, something I kept wondering about throughout the whole book so that it made total sense. That’s nice and vague, isn’t it? Very well done, Ms. White!

Have you read ILLUSIONS OF FATE yet? What did you think?

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