I was excited to read this when I first heard about it. It sounded pretty awesome, and that cover, yeah, that had me pulling towards it faster than anI was excited to read this when I first heard about it. It sounded pretty awesome, and that cover, yeah, that had me pulling towards it faster than anything else could. When Netgalley accepted my request, I was so anxious to dive right into the story. I was never really worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. And it did. Even going beyond what I was hoping for, and promising so much more.
I find pirates rather intriguing. Maybe that stems from my liking of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but don’t pillaging, sword fighting, treasure seeking pirates have a ring of adventure and mystery to them? Even if some of them are good for nothing scoundrels. The pirates in this here book were fashioned quite well. The story is told from a young pirate girl’s point of view. Which I honestly find quite appealing. A pirate girl isn’t going to be a TSTL heroine who relies on her hero to save her. Ananna was fierce and independent. She takes action, and she doesn’t wait for the dazzling hero to get her out of the situations she gets herself into. And this is what drew me completely into the story.
I found myself falling in love with Ananna’s voice. She was just such fun to read. She was a strong character. She was the fierce, independent pirate girl, but she also shows a soft side. A side that cares about people and that could love. And she shows that she’s not completely fearless. There are things that scare her senseless. But she doesn’t let her fright get the better of her. She rises after the scare with strength and determination to set out to do what she needs to. Then there was Naji. The assassin whose life Ananna saved and now they’re bonded together and they have to find a way to break the curse. Naji was a pretty cool character, and I felt was created really good. He’s an awesome assassin. Black as night that can move without a sound and can kill with precision and skill. But Naji isn’t your typical prince charming who has girls falling over their feet to get him, who dazzles everyone, including the heroine, with his charms and extremely hot looks. Naji is scarred, physically and internally. And this shows the reader his weakness. It shows that he is not just the fearless, stealthy assassin. He has demons he’s trying to fight, and he tries to hide it. And I really did feel for him. I find myself liking the tortured hero, because it shows they’re not perfect, and that they have a past.
I liked the subtle, slow growing romance. I liked that Ananna didn’t immediately fall in love with him (which would be pretty hard to do when he just tried to kill her). I liked that they were forced to be together which they both resented, but that through this bond, this curse, they grew to understand each other. I liked that Ananna was able to see past Naji’s scars, and focus on the man who desperately needs help. I felt that the buildup of their friendship, and potential, inevitable romance was done well and was beautiful. I’m extremely excited to see how their romance will blossom.
And the ending. The ending was perfect! The last line made me smile and made my heart grow warm because of its beauty and love. This novel was beautifully crafted and executed. It was by no means perfect. When I really think about it, there are a few flaws, but I just don’t want to think about those, because the book was otherwise so awesome that I don’t want my love of it tainted in any way. So, I’ll focus on the bright spots instead. K? The characters were very well rounded, and I loved them, the plot was exciting and intriguing, the world was luscious and wonderfully built, the writing was amazing. Pretty much I just loved the whole book. Clarke did an awesome job, and I cannot wait for the sequel. Which should be coming out any day now. Sometime next year. Or maybe sooner if I can bribe the publisher, and find some ingenious way to force Clarke to write faster. Because we all know how readers hate to wait. Anyway, I applaud Clarke for writing an incredible, worthwhile young adult novel that hopefully readers everywhere will love.
Thank you to Strange Chemistry and Netgalley for the arc....more
Glamorous Illusions follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover who she is, and what she can become. At the beginning, she learns abGlamorous Illusions follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover who she is, and what she can become. At the beginning, she learns about a secret her parents kept from her her whole life. She feels betrayed by what happened, and that they never told her. Then she is offered a chance to go on the Grand Tour of Europe with her new found siblings, who may just hate her for who she is. She goes a little grudgingly, wary of the man who she knows now as her blood father. But she finds as she travels with her siblings, and comes to accept who she is, that she can’t be mad at any of her parents, her mother or her two fathers, because they each gave her a life that helped shape her into the woman that she is, and is becoming.
Cora was a nice protagonist. I didn’t always like being in her head. Not that she was annoying, or stupid, I just couldn’t quite connect with her. It helped that her narrative was broken up by the viewpoints of Will. I did like seeing Cora’s journey, and how she coped with her new, extravagant life, and having to leave the people she loved. She was strong, and didn’t let her siblings dislike of her keep her down. I appreciated her humility, and determination to stand firm, and her accepting herself for who she is, no matter what her past is. People could treat her however they may, but she knew there were people who cared about her, so their disdain couldn’t hurt her. But, I also felt that she was kind of boring. She’s just a normal girl, trying to find where she fits in; which is, you know, cliché. And nothing terribly original or exciting happened to put a twist on that storyline. So maybe that’s partly why I couldn’t connect with her.
The plot also, was kind of boring. It wasn’t bad, or completely disinteresting, but it wasn’t interesting enough to keep my attention focused solely on the book, so that I couldn’t bear to be stop reading. I did enjoy learning about the history, and whatnot. I can tell that Bergren did her research well, and cared enough to get the details right. It wasn’t until the ending, where the real excitement began, that I became really interested, and excited, and couldn’t stop reading. Too bad that happened at the end, and not sooner. Don’t get me wrong, not all books have to be exciting and adventurous to be worth reading, or to have deep meaning. I love books that are slow, and contemplative, with lush descriptions and wonderful characters who triumph not by fighting a dragon, but by coming to know their heart and the hearts of others. And Glamorous Illusions did do this. It did have wonderful descriptions of the places the characters visited, and well-rounded characters that the reader comes to understand and like. I just felt that something was missing, for me at least.
I did like the romance, and actually, the biggest reason why I would consider reading the second book would be to see that romance develop. I’m interested to see where it goes, and to see Will and Cora fall in love. Will was a wonderful hero. He was a gentlemen who only wanted to teach his clients history, and to protect them on the tour. He just wasn’t ready to have his heart stolen. And he tries to fight it. Cora is above his station, and he isn’t supposed to get involved with the clients. But he can’t help what he feels. I liked seeing his perspective. Being able to see his side and Cora’s, seeing both of their uncertainties, and wondering if the other could possibly like them, but then telling themselves that it could never work. And then there’s Pierre, a Frenchman who falls for Cora, and she can’t help but be pleased by his attention. So, there’s a little love triangle, which will probably be explored more in the coming novels. But this triangle isn’t angsty or annoying, where the girl flip flops between the guys. It’s done well, and is believable.
So, in the end, I liked Glamorous Illusions well enough. I loved the ending, and would like to see more of Cora and Will. I think fans of the River of Time series will like this novel, and probably history fiction buffs. As for me, I’ll just have to see what the next novel has to offer before I invest in it.
Thank you to David C. Cook and Netgalley for the arc....more