Friday, October 10, 2014

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White {review}

Illusion of Fate
by Kiersten White
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: September 9, 2014
♦hardcover, 288 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
“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.

Review: From page one of Illusions of Fate, I realized I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Kiersten White’s fun-spirited writing style from my experiences reading her Paranormalcy series.  The wit and humor immediately pulls me in and gives the heroine a voice that is entertaining and likeable.  We first meet Jessamin through a letter she is composing to her mother, and from this clever beginning, we get a first taste of her snarky humor, learn that she is from the island of Melei, and attending school on the main land of Albion, and that her estranged father is one of her professors.  

Further in, we learn exactly what she thinks of her school, her father and this new dreary sunless land.  She'd a very head-strong, determined girl, if her tactics for gaining entrance into the school is any indication.  Then she meets the strangely mesmerizing and mysterious Finn, and suddenly finds herself a pawn in the middle of a two-man war over magical power and political control.   

I liked the many facets of Jessamin’s character, her strong will and stubbornness garnering both respect and frustration from me. I’m all for a won’t-back-down attitude, and loved her determination not to let a strange man take care of things for her.  But it did get to the point where I was getting frustrated with her character when she put herself and everyone in danger in the name of doing things how she wanted to do them. Sometimes it came off as strong, sometimes it just seemed plain pig-headed. But it made for a great fleshed-out and complicated character. 

For the most part it was a fun story to read, but once the villain made himself known, I couldn’t help but feel the plot fell into a bit of a repetitive loop.  They’d venture out, Jessamin or one of her friends would be put in danger, they’d make a quick fix of it, and then go into hiding for a bit---and then start that cycle all over again.  Still, the lively characters, the fated romance, the mystique and magic, and a pretty shocking twist at the end all added up to a story that kept me glued to the pages until the end.  I truly waffled between a 3.5 or 4 rating for this one, but I think White's fun writing flare tips it toward the latter.  

Find Kiersten White online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Illusions of Fate:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •


  1. Hi! I really like your review. I recently read this book and enjoyed it a lot, but had some issues with it as well - I particularly felt the ending was really abrupt! But I agree that White writes good prose and I'd like to try and read more of her books.

  2. Great review Becky. <3 I'm glad you liked this book so much :) I.. had more issues with it, lol. Just didn't love it. Sigh. But it was a quick read :) glad you liked the romance. <3 thank you for sharing sweetie :)

  3. I haven't read Kiersten White's other books yet but this one has been on my TBR list ever since I saw that fantastic cover!! Love it when a book has great characters and writing. Loved the review!

  4. I'm so glad that you loved this story! I really, really want to read this one and I hope I can order a copy as soon as prices lower down a bit on either B&N or Amazon. I'm just glad I haven't read any negative reviews about this book. Especially from the reviews I trust the most :) And I'm glad this is kind of like Howl's Moving Castle from what I've heard. I LOVE that movie! :D Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Becky! ^_^

  5. Yay! I was worried when you mentioned a mixed review it'd be much worse than this! :D I definitely agree with your statement about the loop, but I also agree that all the good stuff made it addicting! Kiersten White's writing really has a lot of personality and is such fun to read. :)

  6. Loved your review! I heard so many people recommending me to read this book. I'm hoping I get the chance to read it!

  7. Tiffany (Abouttoread)October 28, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    I really liked this one! I also like Jessamin's characters, but got frustrated with her at times. Finn was one of my favorite characters.