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Illusions of Fate

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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.

278 pages, Hardcover

First published September 9, 2014

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About the author

Kiersten White

59 books12.8k followers
Kiersten White is the #1 New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of many books, including the And I Darken series, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Star Wars: Padawan, the Sinister Summer series, and HIDE. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, where they obsessively care for their deeply ambivalent tortoise. Visit Kiersten online at KierstenWhite.com and follow @KierstenWhite on Twitter.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,390 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
September 26, 2014
“I clench my jaw and narrow my eyes. I am no wilting Alben, I am a fierce and strong Melenese woman. And I am not the victim of any cruel jokes. Spirits below, I will make certain he knows I am not to be toyed with.”

3 1/2 stars. It was, in fact, a solid 4 stars leaning towards 4 1/2 before those last couple of hastily pulled together chapters in which the author rushed us towards a conclusion and narrowly avoided necessitating a sequel. Messy ending aside, I enjoyed this novel a lot and am thankful I didn't realize initially that the author was the same one who bored me with both Paranormalcy and The Chaos of Stars. This was an all round much better book.

It's an ambitious premise that blends a fantasy world with historical parallels, which clearly allude to colonialism. Amazingly, this wild combination of fast-pacing, fluffy banter, magic and an underlying look at colonial struggles somehow works well. Kiersten White works in social and political issues like racism, sexism, and cultural stereotypes, whilst simultaneously keeping the banter light and funny. There was so much to like here that I feel very forgiving towards the rushed ending.

1) It was a pageturner
The story zips along at a wonderful pace. We are introduced to action, magic and mystery almost immediately, and I was pulled in from the very first chapter. The chapters have that annoyingly addictive habit of finishing on a cliffhanger, so you find yourself forced into the next chapter in order to discover what happens. Between the supernatural omens, the evil ministers and the budding romance, it's hard to look away.

2) I LOVED Jessamin
Jessamin is strong, smart, ambitious and won't melt in a puddle just because a guy with a pretty face looks her way. She's in the middle of a world that doesn't welcome her, both as a female student and as a colonial subject from Melei. Dark-skinned and vivacious, she stands out amid all the paleness and propriety of Albion. Little does she know that racism is about to be only half of her problems when she suddenly gets pulled into a world of magic, murder and mayhem.

3) A romance I actually liked
Firstly, I liked both characters of Jessamin and Finn. There was no instalove or instaobsession or general falling into hormonal mushiness after their first meeting. The build was gradual and realistic, peppered with witty and flirtatious banter (my favourite kind). Jessamin also frequently challenges the way others treat her and doesn't allow Finn to use protection as an excuse to control her:
“You couch your motivations under the banner of protecting me, when it comes down to the fact that you think you are better than I am and more equipped to rule my life.”

4) Healthy portrayal of female friendship
I have no idea why this is so rare in YA, but I am thankful for the friendship between Jessamin and Eleanor in this book. There's no bitterness or jealousy between them, they stick together and look out for one another, despite being two very different people. Plus, I love this exchange (Jessamin speaks first):
“They’re wrong, you know. About you. Your uncle and Lord Downpike. You are smart and brave and terribly important.”
She laughs. “Oh, I know that, silly. But it’s easier not to let them realize it, because then they’d stop ignoring me, and they’d realize how much mischief I really get up to.”

In short, I enjoyed the book a lot. The twist towards the end is a little ridiculous; it attempts to tie everything up in the penultimate chapter and part of me wonders if the ending might have been stronger without the chapter after it. But it didn't matter that much. This is a strong fantasy; fun in its dialogue, friendships and romance, but also important in its look at racism and stereotyping on both sides of colonialism.

On a note unrelated to the actual story, I can't be the only one bugged by the white girl on the cover when the protagonist is clearly described as having "dark skin" and "black hair"... right? You don't fool me with your shadow effects, Ms book cover, I can see you're white.

edit: This has been addressed by the author - http://kierstenwhite.tumblr.com/post/...

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Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
378 reviews1,002 followers
February 20, 2019
Well, I’m two-for-two now, with Kiersten White’s books. In two weeks, I’ve given both of them five-star ratings. WHY ARE THEY SO GOOD?!!!

“He follows my eyes and curses, then slides his hands beneath my legs and back. "What are you doing?"
"Picking you up so we can run!"
"Don't be daft, my hand is broken, not my feet!"
"Right, that was stupid. Stupid.”

Essentially, this book has a historical setting in the country of Albion. Jessamin is a spunky history scholar of mixed-race (half-Alben and half-Melenese), when she discovers that the nobility’s power stems from the fact that they have magical abilities. She’s then unknowingly drawn into a war that is brewing, and commendably fights it every step of the way. There was also a plot twist, near the end, that I didn’t see coming AT ALL! It was so well done!


I absolutely adored smart and ambitious, Jessamin, her sassy and loyal friend, Eleanor, and her oh-so-cute and witty love interest, Finn. I just want a Finn for myself, please! ;) He was sooo swoon-worthy!!! I’d also like to give a shoutout to Sir Bird, who transforms into book, when he isn’t chasing Finn and pecking him. Hehe! :D


Some of the most important themes in this book are racism and prejudice, where Jessamin remarks that "Some voices don’t matter. And I’m afraid mine is one of them. I’m a woman, and a dark-skinned island rat at that. I have no power here".

She is also insecure over the fact that she's not as dark as everyone in Melei, nor is she as light as everyone in Albion. "Not everyone from Melei is as fair of skin as I am and in fact I envy them their darker shade". Like many who are of mixed-race, she is unsure of where she really belongs.

But what I loved the most is that Jessamin realises that her own prejudices about the Alben race were just as wrong and unfair. "[Finn] recoils as though I’ve struck him. 'For all you think we judge you, I have never once cared about the colour of your skin or the country of your birth. But it would appear you cannot get past mine'." I actually teared up a bit, at this part!

This was such a fast and fun read (despite the important themes that are also included) with that definitely unputdownable quality. I highly recommend it to anyone who desires a wonderful and magical standalone. I’m just slightly sad that we shan’t get to see any more of Jessamin, Finn, and Eleanor’s adventures!!! I want more of them!!!
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,049 followers
April 27, 2017
3.75 stars

A fast-paced, adorable historical fantasy for a change! Them fantasies are taking themselves too seriously, with too tedious backgrounds and intros, it even has to take one entire book for just these things. It’s high time one finally stands out for its brevity, strong and sure heroine, admirable non-condescending pretty hero, and a unique plot that involves magic, history, politics, several social issues, adorable romance, laudable friendships (involving not only humans but birds as well) minus the drama and love triangles usually found in fantasy series.

I was really excited to find a 278-page fantasy standalone and was delighted that it didn’t disappoint, although I could honestly use a couple more pages for a more solid finale and a few more minutes of swooning. Lol. It was an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,009 followers
February 7, 2017
“And how do you find the school?” he asks.
“Well, seeing as it’s always in the same location, it’s never very difficult to find.”

I know it's so dashingly idiotic it almost seems clever but ah, I burst out laughing like the fool that I am.

•One thing is for sure: Kiersten White knows how to write strong-willed, purposeful, sharp-tongued heroines (yes Lada my dear, I'm thinking of you. Always). Illusions of Fate features, Jessamin is a brilliant, hard-working young woman who's trying to build herself a successful life in a country where her dark skin and her nationality are seen as shortcomings. I loved how she never loses the strength to rebel to people's prejudices, how she rightfully and bravely keeps refusing to consider herself inadequate because of her skin, because she has to work to cover her tuition, because she's a foreigner, because she's a woman. Her tenacity and resolve are inspirational, heartening, and sometimes also lead to deliciously humorous situations.

“He follows my eyes and curses, then slides his hands beneath my legs and back.
“What are you doing?”
“Picking you up so we can run!”
“Don’t be daft, my hand is broken, not my feet!”
“Right, that was stupid. Stupid.” He helps me up by my elbow. “This way!”

•Crafting such a compelling main character is no mean achievement, but, as wonderful as Jessa might be, she's not enough to sustain a whole book. The world-building is very simple, very neat, but I feel that some extra information was necessary. Especially in the first chapters, I was very confused about the setting: I gathered the fundamental elements as the story went on, but at the beginning everything was so fuzzy it gave me a headache, and hardly anything was clearly and purposely explained.

The plot is unambitiously linear, which is fine, or would be if the ending didn't feel so anticlimactic and, so, unsatisfying. I expected more (obviously so, since what we got is basically nothing) and overall, I'm very disappointed in the story line.

The romance was cute, and I think Finn deserves an adorable-ness award or something. For a book so short, it was generally very well done.

•You know that in this kind of stories, the heroine usually has at least one female friend who's constantly and lovingly loyal to her. Fun fact: I never could stand those. I still don't. They always feel criminally flat and stereotypical to me, and I'd basically lost all my faith in that category of characters. But she came along: Eleanor. All the stars. So sharp, clever and witty. Yes, Kiersten White definitely know how to write her female characters.

Sir Bird. My poor heart. I refuse to say more on the matter.

Illusions of Fate is a quick, light read that will delight you with its characters and general fluffiness. I wouldn't dive into it expecting something as deep or rich or magnificent as And I Darken, but I'm sure that Illusions of Fate, adorably uncomplicated as it is, will be able to grant you a few hours of fun and leisure.
Profile Image for Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*.
373 reviews449 followers
May 27, 2015



Big Edit: Basically, the author knew that she was copying and doesn't market it as a retelling, but as her own ideas. So not cool. Link to Interview. I can respect retellings but not when it isn't credited towards the original. I had to search to find if the author had had any experience with Howl's Moving Castle. This is a cheap rip off and unless the author somewhere wrote that these are not her own ideas, I'm not going to buy a single other book from her. #SorryNotSorry

I'll explain the warning in a bit but I will say this first: Illusions of Fate is a cute, fluffy love story with a healthy dose of fantasy mixed in. It's adorable and I felt like animals were going to start singing and following the main character around. For that aspect of it, it was a good read.

But there is a massivehugeenormousoutofcontrolabsolutelyno problem with this book.

Shall I compare thee to Howl's Moving Castle? Let me count the ways...

Sophie Jessamin is a girl working for relatives in a hat shop hotel where she lives. She tries to stay out of the way and mind her own business but things take a wrong turn while she is out on a walk.

One day, a handsome blonde wizard magical nobleman sweeps down and rescues her from a couple of lewd soldiers creeper in the streets. He whisks her off and hopes that she won't get involved in his crazy life.

The girl finds out that her rescuer uses his charm and wits to stay out of trouble while desperately trying to prevent a war from happening.

She also discovers that he dyes his hair and is not a natural blonde, but who cares about that? Minor detail...

Somehow, the girl gets attached to the familiar of an evil queen nobleman and the familiar follows her around loyally and she becomes incredibly attached to him.

She comes to live in his house with him where there are magical doors that lead to different places. Opening a door could put you in another country or another city just as easily as it could lead you to the living room.

The magical nobleman has to step up in order to prevent a war, even though he had resigned himself to inaction. This is the first time that he has really acted on his own and there are those that oppose him.

And that's not even mentioning the whole bird motif that is going on throughout the movie book.


Cute story, but way too close to a classic beautiful movie/book. It's been a long time since I've read Howl's Moving Castle but the movie is one of my favorites from Miyazaki and it is far superior to this book.

If you want this story line but with hand drawn, hand painted animation with stunning attention to detail, wonderful voice actors, and a heartwarming love story, go watch Howl's and the rest of the Miyazaki films. They will change you in wonderful ways.

And if the author meant to do this and the similarities were intentional...

Stuff like this really makes me mad because it shares way too much for it to be just a coincidence. Just thinking about it makes me want to rage and bitch about it but I won't. It isn't similar to the point of only the most intense fans would notice it. This is strikingly disgustingly obvious.

Not okay. Do not recommend.

Full review at Tara Belle Talking
Profile Image for Anne.
4,053 reviews69.5k followers
March 12, 2015
3.5 stars

Well, whether or not you like this is going to depend on what you're expecting from it, I think.
To me, it was a lot like The Chaos of Stars, in that the magic stuff sort of took a backseat in the book.

In this, magic is something that only the nobility have running though their veins. Commoners don't have any idea that their countries' leaders are wizards.
Ok. Not wizards, Magic-users. Something.
Anyway, Jessamin comes from a made-up island called Melei, which I assumed was supposed to be like a pseudo-Polynesian island. And she's recently moved to the made-up country of Albion, which I assumed was code for England. She's studying at the college (forgot the name), and working at a hotel (also forgot the name) when she meets Finn.
He's a NOBLE! *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

The blurb implies that there's an overabundance or danger and secrets, and while that's technically true, this isn't a fast-paced thriller. It's more of a historical/fantasy/romance.
I don't want to give any spoilers, but there is an evil villain who's pretty horrible.
Although, I guess Pretty Horrible is sort of implied by my calling him the Evil Villain, no?
So there is danger. It's just the slow kind of danger.
And maybe because there wasn't an some in-depth mystery/conspiracy involving the magical world, it seemed...less something than I was expecting. I mean, yes, the bad guy is after ALL THE POWER , but it's more like a hostile takeover, and all of the other magic folks are (pretty much) aware that it's happening.
I don't think I'm explaining this right...
It's more about the characters than the magic, if that makes sense?

The good news is, the romance isn't super-cheesy. Jessamin doesn't swoon, bite her lip, or get all weak in the knees. The girl had a backbone, and I liked her!
And Finn didn't give me the Creeper-vibe, even though there was one point where he spied on her with his shadow (yes, his real shadow). It was kind of like a safety thing, and I didn't get the impression that he was watching her go to the bathroom, or anything else skeevy.

I liked the story, I liked the characters, and, for the most part, I really enjoyed this book.
Did it change my life?
But it was entertaining.
So, if you don't go into this expecting a thrilling paranormal, you'll probably enjoy it, too.

Profile Image for Melissa.
361 reviews624 followers
October 8, 2015
Buddy Read with the awesomeness that is Brit (Her review :D)
"I always draw FATE. But fate is a slippery thing, is it not?(...) Paths do not only go one way. We choose which direction to take. I refuse to believe that any outside forces can determine the course of my life."

I was drowning in a sea of bunnies, skipping across massive rainbows, riding on shiny unicorns, flying alongside fairies, and cuddled by clouds. Sheer bliss for this was pure and utter fluff.
⇉ And I ❤ every whopping second of it!⇇

Despite it's ridiculously perfect wrapped up ending, I couldn't help but love this-and be greatly forgiving-due to everything that came beforehand.

An awesome STRONG female lead:
"No. I will not become Mama, dependent on a man who thinks himself better than her and grateful for the privilege of his condescension."

She is enjoyable and magnificently independent. She wants to get ahead in life and fights with nails and claws to do so. My favorite kind of heroine, the kind that won't melt at the sign of testosterone. She's ambitious and headstrong and refuses to cowered by those who think themselves entitled.
“I refuse to be ruled, whether by those with bad intentions or those with good.”

A so-cute-I-just-want-to-squish-you male lead:
"What are you doing?"
“Picking you up so we can run!”
“Don’t be daft, my hand is broken, not my feet!”
“Right, that was stupid. Stupid.”

Finn was cute. I don't think there is any other way to put it. He melted my heart with his vulnerability and made me smile with his unrelenting wit. He was adorable in every sense of the word. I can't help but gush and squeal.

I refuse to believe I am the only one happy about this. I'm tired of reading an amazing book to basically forget everything that happened by the time the sequel comes rolling along...not that I'll ever stop reading series. But I'm just saying.

An awesome depiction of female friends:
“They’re wrong, you know. About you. Your uncle and Lord Downpike. You are smart and brave and terribly important.”
She laughs. “Oh, I know that, silly. But it’s easier not to let them realize it, because then they’d stop ignoring me, and they’d realize how much mischief I really get up to.”

I don't understand the need to fill books to the brim with horrid female characters for the sole reason of making the main character shine. Here we're given the awesomeness(she just took your tittle Brit) that was Eleanor and instead of outshining each other, they complemented each other's strong suits. Eleanor was funny and strong and constantly brought a smile to my face.

An painfully adorable fluffy romance you couldn't help but root for:
“Shall we?” I slip my hand into place, and my voice trembles as I say, “Yes.” For some reason, it feels as though I am answering a far more important question.

Ok, so I bet you noticed I haven't mentioned the world building or the magic system.

And that is because I refuse to do so...because it sucked. It's glossed over and many other not so lovely adjectives.

My only advice is:
⇨Read this for the endearing characters⇦

In the end it's a light and exciting fluffy read. And had me hooked from the very first page.

I do not resign myself to this fate. I claim it as my own. Forever.

Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
August 10, 2015
If you, like me, dismissed Illusions of Fate because...well, Kiersten White, then please, please give this one a chance. White's debut, Paranormalcy, released when I was just thirteen and my young, teenage self fell head-over-heels for it. Admittedly, it didn't contain a love triangle and, at the time, that was enough to get me to enjoy it. Its sequels, though, quickly highlighted the fact that White's premises was not nearly as original as I thought and neither was it nearly so well-executed.

Which is why it is a pleasant surprise for me to admit that Illusions of Fate is well-written, romantic, and surprisingly unique. White's stand-alone follows Jessamin, a young woman who arrives in a foreign country, Albion, looking out-of-place with her dark skin and black hair and resolves to pursue her education. Jessamin's relatively poor, island home is home to many women who gave birth to half-Melei, half-Albion children and Jessamin, one of them, has grown up learning the customs, language, and traditions of her father's country. A father who has never acknowledged her and a country she feels no kinship with. Thus, when we meet her, Jessamin is working with a cousin of hers, using the wages she earns to pay for a small room and her admittance into school. She is contemplating the dreariness of Albion, a country whose temperament and society are similar to our own Victorian England, when she bumps into Finn.

From the moment she meets Finn, Jessamin is the victim of a series of odd events; ravens seem to follow her everywhere, her shadow seems unusually different, and her interactions from Finn are far from typical. As it turns out, Finn is a member of the ruling elite in Albion and, like them, he possesses magical ability. Only very few are strong enough to do much with their magic, though, and as one of two extremely strong magicians, it is up to Finn to stand against the Minister of Defense who seeks even more magic. Jessamin, who is the first weak link the Minister of Defense has found against Finn, is thrown into a political war for a country she has no ties with. All Jessamin wants is out but the truth is far more complicated than she could imagine.

I loved Jessamin. Although she knows only a few people in Albion, she constantly overcomes her fear and puts on a brave front, courageously charging into new situations boldly and refusing to feel ashamed of the heritage she wears proudly on her skin. Moreover, Jessamin is not the savior of this tale. If anything, Jessamin is the liability; the only one in this political game who possesses not a drop of magical blood at all. Yet, she never lets this prevent her from learning as much as she can, thus equipping herself in the only way she knows how.

Yet, what I admire most about Jessamin's character is the fact that she never succumbs to insta-love. Finn, who Jessamin meets purely through fate, bonds with Jessamin on a molecular, magical level. Even when Jessamin finds out about this, though, she never ceases to argue with Finn for her freedom or push him to accept that she will not be a mere spectator in the situation she finds herself in. It would be so easy for White to throw these two together at once but instead, Finn and Jessamin's relationship develops at the perfect pace and their interactions--their banter, their support of one another, their acceptance of the other's cultures--all made this novel stellar.

Finn, too, is utterly charming. Not only is he sweet and kind, but his power and protective tendencies never push him over to becoming an alpha male. What's more, the secrets that surround him never made him take on a "bad boy" appeal. Instead, I simply enjoyed peeling back the layers to his personality, swooning at his maturity and capable gaze. In addition to Finn, though, Jessamin's friend Eleanor, another member of the ruling elite but one whose magical powers are greatly diminished in comparison to Finn's, is one of the strongest secondary characters. Eleanor and Jessamin's close friendship is a delight to behold and, what's more, I truly rooted for Eleanor, a young woman who is often underestimated by her brother and uncle but truly possesses far more skills than others would imagine.

If there are any flaws to Illusions of Fate it is that it is too short. I found the ending to be jarring; vividly abrupt, though I didn't mind once I realized that other readers felt the same way and no, I was not missing the epilogue in my copy after all. I also wished for more world-building, more time spent uncovering Finn's past, more of Jessamin's family in Melei, etc. I was satisfied with what White gave us, and Illusions of Fate is crafted in such a way that the reader is never missing the information they need to understand this realm, but I still wanted more from a world like this, brimming with possibility.

Nevertheless, I cannot recommend this novel enough--particularly if you're in the mood for a story that will keep you flipping the pages into the wee hours of dawn--and, naively, I hope that White will write a companion novel and return to this world, somewhere down the line.
Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews842 followers
December 31, 2020
6.5 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives
(please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Shiro Sagisu – Fate
Lunik – The Game
Jamie Cullum – If I Ruled The World

Genre: historical fantasy, YA
Stuff: magic, aristocrats, colonization
Fail: rushed pacing
WOW: nice characters
POV: 3rd-person, female
Love-Geometry: seeming

"Dear Mama, I am being stalked by not one but two men of exceptionally high birth. One is a madman who tortured me and promised to make me love him forever. The other is a madman who gave me his shadow and lives to make my life difficult."

This book is short and standalone (which is a rare thing nowadays), maybe that's why it seemed rushed. As if some plot-pieces were cut off. I needed more tension between the main characters, more details of their romance, more information about magic, and a more impressive final. But I was completely happy with the writing style (I will definitely read other books by this author).

The story felt like a sketch, but a good one, and it's about a dark-skin girl among white nobles. Her kin was colonized by Albion, she is a bastard daughter of a local professor and, after blackmailing him a little, she got a place in Albion's university. It's not that easy for someone like her to live in a snob-society, but she has a goal (to become a teacher after returning to her island) and nothing would stop her this way. Nothing except magic-danger.

I can't say more about the plot, because of spoilers (the length of Illusions of Fate is supposed that something important is happening from the very beginning). But I'll try to express my feelings.

Important note: this is a historical fantasy. The world inside the book is a mix of a real one and a high one. So don't try to find Melei on maps, I had tried and then got the point))

Now to the characters.

Miss Jessamin is a nice heroine: clever, not whiny (despite the number of problems she has to deal with every day), reasonable and strong. Sometimes I wanted her to be less independent (or stubborn). She had got in trouble, someone was offering his protection, she refused and brought on her head even more problems. It grows old sooner than later.

Mister Finn (aka lord Finley Ackerley) is mysterious, vulnerable and honorable (and handsome, if anyone cares)). Tortured hero with a dark past. Cliche much? I didn't care and have nothing wrong to say about him and his behavior. Too bad he wasn't in focus quite all the time.

Jessamin and Finn . These two have pretty chemistry and I adore their dialogues. The romance between them wasn't developed as good as I'd love, but I felt them and for them.

Eleanor. Without her this book wouldn't be the same, she's really funny and can't stop teasing Jess and especially Finn (there is a good reason and it calls 'shadowing', it happens when someone's shadow fused with a shadow of another person, I believe you know what it means).

Other heroes are nice, but serve as tools and no more. They say what they have to say at the right moment, they appear when it's needed, they die for the sake of plot-twists and act for the same thing. It wasn't annoying, though. But the book could have more details and lines.

The plot has slow- and at the same time fast-burning romance, witty-banters, creepy birds and a loyal Sir Bird, comical and dangerous situations, magical things, and so on. It's not tedious, but not epic too.

I don't know what you would make of the book's ending, for me it was kinda far-fetching.

Overall, Illusions of Fate is an enjoyable read with historical decorations, ancient magic, colonization topic and a battle for power. I don't think you'd regret reading it, but I can't promise you'll fall for it either.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,917 followers
September 27, 2014
4.5 stars
By once again using her trademark sense of humor combined with superior writing, Kiersten White added another work to her list of literary successes. Illusions of Fate has just about everything I’ve learned to expect from this excellent author: interesting characters, beautiful writing, dry wit and an unforgettable ending.

White penned Illusions of Fate with her usual elegance. Her writing flows fluidly and effortlessly, which makes our journey through this story a light and pleasant experience. Her chapters blend smoothly together into an enchanting tale, filled with danger, romance and unusual magic.

While the magic part of this story could have been better developed, it was interesting enough to support the romance, which was definitely at the forefront. Illusions of Fate takes place in a fantasy setting, and as such, it left a lot to be desired, but considering that it’s a rather short standalone, we were given details aplenty for our needs. And the romance itself was very successful; there was undeniable strong chemistry between Jessamine and Finn which made their love seem very sincere, but also inevitable.

Although I liked her from the very first sentence, Jessamine’s path from cautious admiration to outright love made me appreciate her so much more. She didn’t fawn over Finn or indulge him in any way. If anything, she questioned his every action, determined to keep her integrity and independence, even when his involvement would have made her life so much easier.

For his part, Finn quickly learned to abandon his high-handed ways and allow Jessamine to make her own decisions. His youth was long lost due to the tragedy that struck his family so I never blamed him for his attempts of control and overprotectiveness, and neither did Jessamine. But not blaming him and allowing him to have his way are two different things entirely, and Jessamine fought all her battles, including those with Finn, admirably.

The villain was a bit too villainous and too vaguely motivated for my taste, but the rest of the secondary characters were simply fabulous, especially Jessa’s new best friend Eleanor. The little society girl had me laughing myself into stitches, but underneath the amusement was a deep and honest admiration for the clever and underappreciated girl.

All in all, Illusions of Fate was a splendid and highly entertaining read, which is exactly what I expected from Kiersten White.

Profile Image for Cynthia Hand.
Author 22 books9,523 followers
September 11, 2014
I hate it when people say a book is my best book, because I feel like that is subtly snubbing my other books, and . . .

I really like all of Kiersten White's other work, especially Paranormalcy and Mind Games, but . . .

I loved Illusions of Fate. I was completed absorbed in it. Jessamin is so completely interesting and kick-ass and Finn was so cool and sooooo hot, and the world and its magic was so finely built. And I wept over a bird. Which is unusual for me.

Her best book ever, in my opinion. :)
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
982 reviews749 followers
December 12, 2020

I almost on hold reading Illusions of Fate because I'm getting bored and the story doesn't make sense but fortunately I didn't give up on this one. The middle part until the end, I daresay, was great. It redeemed my dull moments reading this book and made me realized how satisfying and enthralling the story was.

The historical aspect and the characters were the reason why I continued reading this book at first but when the second part comes (which is the middle until end) there are several reasons added to why I finished reading this book.

The almost inexistent plot became clear, thus making the story more interesting that I'd done reading the remaining chapters for at least 3 hours when I'm in the office/work. Sssh. Lol.

I've got to see the magic too. Even though it wasn't impressive, I think it was enough in glorifying the premise of this book. It's just that I'm expecting a mind-blowing magic with that gorgeous cover.

The romance isn't annoying. No insta-love because it grew in a light and funny manner with those dialogues and banter which I like because it was kinda funny. What can I say? I love me some humor in romance.

In addition, I like the fact that Illusions of Fate isn't just a wonderful magical story. It tackled some important political and social issues like racism, sexism and stereotyping.
Profile Image for Lexie.
224 reviews198 followers
December 26, 2016
I love Hitchcock's Birds. I love Poe's Raven. I also love dragons. Basically, my love of creepy flying animals knows no bounds. So Illusions of Fate, with its abundance of creepy flying animals was right up my alley. (The only thing that could have made it better was a dragon.)

Full review to come.
Profile Image for mads.
410 reviews369 followers
June 11, 2022
”A well-wielded pen is a woman’s best weapon.”

TW: abduction, alcohol, animal death/injury, blood, bullying, colonialism, death of a loved one, drugging, eugenics, fire, forced marriage, gun violence, injury/injury detail (graphic), kidnapping, misogyny, murder, nightmares/night terrors, parental abandonment, persecution for witchcraft, racism/racial slurs, rape, sexual harassment, torture, violence, vomit.

Actual Rating: 3.5✶

Firstly, what the heck.

Secondly, I liked this! I’d heard practically nothing about this book before reading it and was hesitant going in, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

It wasn’t perfect as far as quality goes, but I had a really great time. Like, quality? 3 stars. Enjoyment level? Easily 4 stars. So, to a 3.5 we go.

I feel like this book had the vibe that books like Ruby Red and A Temptation of Angels attempted to have but never properly executed, at least in my opinion.

It was quick, humorous, intriguing, and dark all at once. And there was a moment that totally messed me up. I was so sad lol.

All in all, I would definitely revisit this and recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, easy read. (Definitely check the list of TW’s I included first though.)
September 1, 2014
Confession: I did want to read this book mostly because of the cover. Are you surprised? Of course not, the cover is gorgeous! Luckily, the summary also sounded pretty damn good which only made me want to read the book even more. Even though I’m a fan of historicals, the fantasy aspect of it had me intrigued. Illusions of Fate had me hooked from the first line:
Dear Mama, I am most certainly not dead.

Jessamin moved to Albion to study at a prestigious school, but being from Melei and with her exotic looks and dark skintone, she never feels like more than an outsider. But Jessamin is determined to keep attending school and she makes that her focus. She studies hard and she works hard at a local hotel. When she meets the mysterious Finn, who belongs to Albion nobility, he plans of coasting through life and finishing up her studies are disrupted. Along with meeting Finn, Jessamin discovers a new darker side of Albion: magic.

Turns out that the members of nobility have the ability to practice magic and Finn has dangerous enemies who are now after Jessamin as a way to get to Finn. But Jessamin isn’t going to let a little thing like the threat of danger keep her from finishing her studies. Before she knows it, Jessamin becomes in pawn in a dangerous game. Her life now involves balls, political disputes and a dangerous romance. In a way, I admired Jessamin for being determined and trying her best to not get involved in the feud. But other times, I just wanted to smack her! After being captured and hurt, she still refuses to accept help from Finn who can keep her safe. Still, girl had balls for refusing to be just another damsel in distress. There was this complete eye-rolling moment when she was gussiep up for a ball she was attending. Jessamin put on a beautiful dress and got her hair and (some) makeup done. There’s this moment where she sees her reflection and thinks it’s someone else. I don’t care how much makeup someone throws on me. I’m pretty positive I will recognize myself if I look in the mirror…
Beaming, I step through and am greeted on one side by a woman in scarlet.
She is beautiful, I think with a pang of jealousy, before realizing that I am greeting my reflection.

Even though Jessamin annoyed me sometimes, I still found myself liking her character. She was smart but she also had that witty and sarcastic attitude that made her pleasant to read. I loved the letters that she wrote to her mother. I liked Finn as a character but wanted to know more. He had that charming but mysterious personality that I really liked. I felt like we spent too little time with him, but the moments we did get from him were good. But my favorite character was Eleanor, a member of nobility who befriends Jessamin. She made the story so enjoyable and she was such a scene stealer! Eleanor loved gossip, she lived for gossip and she was a master at spreading it for her benefit. I loved how she wasn’t afraid or intimidated of Finn. I loved how she was such a great friend to Jessamin and how loyal she was to her. Another character that I really liked was Sir Bird. I always love when book covers have at least something to do with the story and was happy to find that this was one of them. No the bird doesn’t talk, but he will steal your heart all the same.

The plot was fast paced and interesting. I liked spin the author took on magic and the whole ‘shadow’ thing. At only pages, we don’t get as much depth as I would have liked. But I didn’t feel like the plot lacked in anything. My one complaint with the book was that I wish the romance was more developed. Finn is 19, I believe Jessamin is 18 or 19, but all we get is a few quick kisses. I would have liked to feel more of the romance aspect of it. It all just felt very PG, especially for their age. Illusions of Fate was a very fun and quick read that I enjoyed. It has a nice twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting. I recommend this if you’re in the mood for a light and fun story with just the perfect touch of magic.

3.5 out of 5 stars!

Check out my cover inspired look:

Illusion's of Fate by nereyda1003

Read full review & more of my reviews at Mostly YA Book Obsessed

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Profile Image for Justine.
250 reviews136 followers
April 29, 2017
4.5 stars

I still haven't found a 5 star worthy book for this year, but I thought this was really close; in fact, I might round up to 5 if I dwell on the positive aspects of this book. I'm gonna make a bold claim by saying that this is fantasy lite at its finest. The word building, though lacking some details, is highly creative and inventive. The setting is different from the usual high fantasy setting and I thought the inclusion of racial issues and colonial references is a nice touch. It greatly enhanced the plot and added more layers to it despite being a light fantasy novel at its core.

Besides the awesome characters, I'd like to take this moment to praise the witty and adorable banter between Jessamin and Finn. It's really fun and romantic (in a good way). The romance is done extremely well and in fact, it feels like a Stephanie Perkins romance. Imagine Anna and the French Kiss or Lola and the Boy Next Door and turn it into fantasy. This is exactly that book. Finn also reminds me of Cricket from Lola in a way, because they're the kind of goody two shoes guy who respects and loves their romantic interest deeply (in that emotional way that makes them the opposite of the bad boy characters in YA which most female readers adore). In fact, Finn was very hesitant in making his move because of his kind and unassuming nature as seen in this part of the book:

"As soon as my lips find his, he backs away, nearly falling off his chair.

'I didn't make you do that!'

His eyes are wide with panic.

'Please believe me, I really have not been using any charm, spells, and I would never take advantage of you' "

Jessamin is also an amazing character and I like her dauntless personality. These two individuals are simply charming and charismatic in their own way and that makes their romance worth caring for. The secondary cast is also amazing especially Eleanor. She is one of my favorites because of the funny moments she adds to the entire narrative.

For the criticisms, I think the ending was a little rushed and wrapped too neatly. This has been noted in most reviews, but thankfully it wasn't a big issue for me because the characters are just too good. I would've also liked the conflict and plot to be more complex. It was too straight-forward which is a usual criticism for fantasy lite. There's also the concept of magic. I thought it would be utilized to its best and would strengthen the story by peppering the book with pulse-pounding magical fight scenes. I admit, I expected something more from its inclusion since the use of magic in this book is very limited. But then again, these nit-picks don't really matter that much. This book is fun, enjoyable and highly compelling. What more can I ask for in a fantasy lite novel?
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews577 followers
July 20, 2014
It’s disappointing to see a novel that displayed as much potential as Illusions of Fate stumble over so many hurdles towards its fizzling ending. The book reaches out to readers yet repeatedly pulls back, offering moments of wit and spark amidst a rushed and underdeveloped concept that seems so unsure of itself. While it’s a quick read and never a slog, it sits comfortably in that middling spot, never quite striving for more.

Read my full review at Bibliodaze.

Profile Image for Kassidy.
340 reviews11k followers
November 22, 2014

This is an entertaining fantasy read, with a historical feel. I really like the main character, she is interesting and different. The magic aspect of this book is really cool. I also like the political undertones that are thrown in.
I wish I could give it a higher rating, but it just wasn't GREAT for me. I liked it well enough, and there aren't any glaring faults, but it's just not very memorable.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews842 followers
August 10, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

“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.

What I Liked:

Two words: historical fantasy. My two favorite genres put together, making my favorite subgenre! Actually, my favorite subgenre is medieval fantasy, but that's a subgenre of historical fantasy. Ha! Anyway. I had seriously high hopes for this book, and they totally panned out for me! I was disappointed by this book, which is always a plus. And I really, really enjoyed it, which was an even bigger plus!

Jessamin goes to school on Albion, which is a totally different place from her island home of Melei. For one, she has black skin, whereas the people of Albion are pale white. She is shunned, ignored, picked on, tormented, etc. at school. Her estranged father, a professor at the illustrious school, refuses to acknowledge her presence. Life isn't too hot in Albion, but Jessamin is determined to be perfect and a flawless student, so she can be a teacher on Melei.

Everything changes when Jessamin learns about the world of the nobility - in which the nobility all have magical abilities (which is what makes them the nobility). The Minister of Defense, Downpike, has a vendetta against Lord Finley Ackley (Finn), and Finn has a thing for Jessamin. She is caught in the middle, and she will find out just how much her country, her love, and her being means to her.

I absolutely LOVE the world-building of this book. Not just the setting, but the atmosphere of this novel. The setting is so well-written - I can practically see the streets, parks, houses, etc. But it's the atmosphere that took me by surprise. Jessamin feels totally out of sorts in Albion, since she is a "dirty islander rat" to the people of Albion. The other people from Melei treat her like a sister or daughter. Her cousin takes her in since the dorms at the school are too expensive, and he gives her a job at the hotel at which he works. The prejudice and stereotypes are cruel and harsh, but they go both ways. White does an excellent job of portraying the animosity between the two places.

I really like Jessamin. She is a commoner (not royalty), an outsider (from Melei), and she has no idea about the magical world that lies in Albion. Jessamin is curious and feisty, almost waspish, but I love it. She presses and presses until she finds out what she wants, or gets what she wants, but it's not in a selfish way. She has a prickly but likable personality. I certainly enjoyed her interactions with other characters in this book!

Also, how cool is it that Jessamin is a person of color?! She's described as having black skin, I believe. This is actually brought up a few times, as the prejudices also have to do with skin (not just power or location or money). I'm happy to see this diversity, especially in a historical fiction novel! Sort of historical fiction, anyway. It's more fantasy than historical fiction.

I LOVE Finn. Jessamin has nothing on Finn. Finn is devilish and charming, like, ACTUALLY charming. He is a rich, powerful lord - literally powerful, both in influence and in power. His parents were extremely powerful as well, but were murdered, leaving him with a ton of money and titles and property and power. Finn is sweet and roguish and not so forthcoming, yet he bares his soul over and over. Jessamin doesn't accept him at first, for most of the book, and hurts him over and over. I don't blame her as much as I might have, since it makes sense (Finn is a stranger to her, bringing her into a dangerous world), and it fits her personality. However. I would have given him a break ;)

That being said, I liked the romance a lot! I wanted to see more between Finn and Jessamin though. It's totally Jessamin's fault - she wouldn't take a chance on Finn. I don't blame her... but I do... but I don't. I would have trusted him, if only because he is a powerful lord, magically powerful... and handsome. I said "handsome" third, okay?

The plot is very interesting! I wanted to know how Finn would defeat Downpike. I wanted to know if the Hallin magic existed, and where to find it. I wanted to know MORE. I had a bad feeling about certain characters, and that foreshadowing was well-placed. I definitely didn't see the ending coming though - this is fabulously written, by White. What a way to weave a surprising climax and resolution!

I'm very pleased with this book! I'm glad it's a standalone novel, because everything wraps up well. The ending almost killed me (you are warned), but it worked out well in the end. I had questions at the end, but I kind of threw them out of the window because ehhh, things ended well and I'm not going to question certain things too much.

What I Did Not Like:

As I mentioned before - I wanted more from the romance. It's there, and I liked it, but more romance really would have made sense, with the tone of the story. I can't explain it, but it feels like there should have been a powerful, sweeping romance to match up with a powerful, sweeping tale of magic and lords and power. Magic struggle, power struggle, romance struggle, you know? Also, knowing the nature of the charming and lovely Finn... yeah, we needed more. The romance is always THERE... but not quite, physically.

Would I Recommend It:

Um, YEAH! Historical fiction + fantasy elements = total win! I wanted a little more from the romance, but I'm slowly figuring out that it's just not White's style, it seems. I suppose that's okay.


4 stars. Definitely My favorite Kiersten White book yet! I haven't read all of her so-far-published books (nor do I plan to do so), but I will continue to check out her upcoming releases. The Conquerors Saga is definitely high on my list of book priorities!
Profile Image for Kylee.
40 reviews105 followers
January 19, 2020
The book starts with Jessamin, a young lady from the island of Melei has moved to Albion, to study in a college and avoid the hordes of eligible husbands her mother keeps flinging at her. One day she runs into a handsome young man who saves her from being assaulted, even though she could have taken care of it herself. Unfortunately for her, Finn, the handsome young man previously mentioned, falls madly in love with her, dragging her in the middle of a political war involving magic.

I really enjoyed Jessamin as a character. She was brave and smart, and I really liked that she was pretty capable of taking care of herself and working her way out of tough situations without always needing to be rescued like a damsel in distress. Also, she was super stubborn which is something I can always respect in a lady. I wish that her cultural differences had been addressed a little more, but her mother made sure she was raised like a proper young lady from Albion. Which I couldn’t help but feel was the author’s excuse to make her exotic and different, but not too different, if you know what I mean. And it was nice to see a girl who is normal for once, but then takes it upon herself to learn all she can, so she can fend for herself or feel like she wasn’t at such a disadvantage.

Finn was also a really fun character. While his back story was a little lacking and predictable, I could his personality to be strong enough that he was likable and memorable. I also really liked that he wasn’t too proud or stubborn to let the women around him help him out in the way that they could. I like that he recognized their strengths and didn’t try to keep them in the dark. Also, his sly personality was so fun, I found myself constantly laughing at him getting Jessamin all riled up with some charming, witty banter.

While I was a little alarmed at first with Finn falling madly in love with Jessamin after just meeting her then giving her his shadow, she was very opposed to the whole thing which made the relationship feel more realistic. A lot of time went by in this book, time for them to study and work together, to get to know each other, a reasonable amount of time for them to fall in love, and I was so happy. Also, they worked so well together and respected each other, but were still flirty and playful, so there was passion but also a good foundation for a lasting relationship. It felt realistic and cohesive, not forced at all, which was rather refreshing. When I’m reading a book and finally get in far enough to realize that there was no love triangle or insta-love situation, I have to let out a huge sigh of relief.

My main problem with this book, however, was the villain. Lord Downpike was very sinister through the whole book, obviously not above getting his hands dirty. He was constantly plotting and scheming, wiggling his way out of situations or turning them to his advantage, and I found him intriguing. So I was waiting the whole book for the big reveal, the true reason for him being so evil, or the back story to show us why he was the way he was. But when the time came, it was very disappointing and rushed. I just kind of sat there for a second and was like, “Really? I mean, really?!”

The plot itself was very engaging and I liked the world this story took place in. Since the book was under 300 pages long, some aspects were obviously a little lacking, but the political and magic parts were fairly well explained and interesting. Also, the pacing was great. Right when you felt like things were maybe calming down, the author lured you into a false sense of security, only to throw something new at you and suck you back in. I love it when I’m reading and being kept on my toes, knowing something is coming up but not sure when or what it’s going to be. Between Lord Downpike trying to basically take over the world, and the sweet romance between Finn and Jessamin, I couldn’t put it down.

Overall, I heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book but I was pleasantly surprised. I flew through this book, unable to put it down for a minute without thinking about the characters or wondering what was going to happen next. And that ending, holy crap, that ending… it got me. Curse you Kiersten White, curse you. I was just as surprised to see that this was only one book. With all the world-building and great chracters, it felt like there was so much potential to have these be a series, but I guess not. I find that I’m rather disappointed.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,242 followers
January 4, 2015
I almost DNFed this book. It has a slow and rocky start. But, I stuck with it and it paid off because I got to meet Eleanor. I want her to be my BFF. She is hilarious and awesome. Definitely the best character in this book.

And, since the story is pretty weak and rambling, it really is all about the characters.

Jessamin, the main character in this book is one of those characters that will drive you crazy. Constantly doing the wrong thing, super caught up in her pride, and not seeing things that are so obvious in front of her face. Annoying. I wanted to kill her.

Finn, the love interest, is super weak and one-dimensional. We have no idea why Finn likes Jessamin, really, because it seems to happen instantly (for him). And yet, he then treats her abusively the next couple of times he sees her. Even then, he doesn't come off as one of those sexy alpha males. He still remains a weak character. Basically, he chases around this stupid girl who is determined to put herself in danger and act like an idiot the whole book. Yeah, she's a keeper, dude.

So, basically, I was generous with my stars because of one amazing character in an otherwise bland book. You're welcome! ;)
Profile Image for Kristy (Book Nerd Reviews).
170 reviews688 followers
October 5, 2014
Illusions of Fate may well be my favourite Kiersten White book to date. This beautifully written story is captivating, thrilling and intriguing. Coupled with a lush setting, and brilliant characters this is one book not to be missed!

Jessamin leaves her island home to move Albion to further her studies. And it is not an easy place for her to be. Jessamin is darker skinned, poor and from Melei, and none of these things are a good thing according to the wealthy, privileged, and mostly elitist society of Albion. But Jessamin is determined to achieve her goals – to complete her study at a school that is too distinguished for the likes of her kind, and to become a teacher so she can return home as a teacher. She faces many hurdles after moving to Albion, one of which is being ignored by her estranged father, who happens to be a professor at her school.

But Jessamin’s world completely changes when she meets Finn, a mysterious, handsome Lord. Not only does she learn about the nobility’s world of magical abilities, but she becomes stuck in the middle of a long and magical power battle. Will Jessamin be able to choose between her loyalty and her heart? And will she survive to make the choice?

Once again, Kiersten White has cemented her place as one of my favourite authors with this historical fantasy that includes everything from magic, politics, racism, elitist, and of course, romance. I loved the world that Kiersten built. She not only created a setting, but and atmosphere. A complex one at that. I could vividly imagine this lovely Victorian setting, with amazing buildings and parks, but also feel the tension that is such a major part of this world. The tension between “island rats” and the nobility of Albion is superbly written. And I respect that fact that Kiersten so openly included racial, socio-economical and political differences into this storyline. And she tackles these issues flawlessly.

Now to the characters. Jessamin is driven, determined, sassy and quite sarcastic. She will not allow people to walk over her, and this results in some very interesting interactions (especially with Finn). She is tough, smart and is no damsel in distress. I really liked her. However she is flawed. She is stubborn, which is not a bad thing, but she can be stubborn to the point of damaging. And I found her reverse discrimination fascinating. She is a person of colour from Melei and is often discriminated against, but she is also quite prejudiced herself, and I found this quite fascinating (even if it was a little frustrating when it affected her relationship with Finn).

And Finn… oh Finn. He is charming. And when I say charming, I actually mean charming – he is handsome, chivalrous, charismatic, fascinating, noble, refined, powerful… the list goes on and on. Finn is sweet, intelligent, fiercely protective, slightly mischievous and actually quite sensitive – I adored him. He is certainly powerful, but he isn’t like the other nobility he has surrounded himself with.

I admire Kiersten’s concise writing style, while still being able to create a world I can get absorbed in, delivering complex and real characters, an intriguing storyline and sublime romance. I have always admired Kiersten’s use of humour in her novels, and I feel that she excelled herself in Illusions of Fate. The storyline flowed brilliantly, interweaving mystery with development.

Illusions of Fate takes you on a magical journey, artfully and beautifully. You will be enchanted by this gorgeous story all the way to the surprising end. Sadly this is a standalone, and the storyline was wrapped up nicely, but I would love to see more of this world.


“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.”

“I long for the security of the world I lived in yesterday, but it is lost to me forever.”

“Clearly he doesn’t not know me if he thinks I am ever in a condition where arguing is not possible.”

“For all you think we judge you, I have never once cared about the color of your skin or the country of your birth. But it would appear you cannot get past mine.”

“That is a tragedy beyond expression”
Profile Image for Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers).
256 reviews507 followers
January 12, 2015

4 Stars

ILLUSIONS OF FATE is a magically enchanting, highly emotional, and beautifully written. With a spiraling world of ups and downs, that will have you swaying with the need for more.

With it's highly complex characters, to it's richly dramatic world, and it's sweeping magical undertow, it's made for a thrilling adventure that will keep you on your toes until the very end.

I was hooked from the beginning of ILLUSIONS OF FATE . It was something about this book that instantly drew me in. But I noticed as the plot progressed, I started to find myself not as attached as I was in the earlier chapters. And while I still really enjoyed ILLUSIONS OF FATE , and would definitely recommended it, it just felt like it was lacking that special something in some areas.

One being that it felt rushed. At a mere 275 pages in a physical ARC, it could of been longer , it needed to be longer. The world building was fascinating, I loved the different magical groups and the mythological background. But it was not explored and revealed as much as it could should of been. And the ending ended to abruptly. Seriously, one chapter there's the big scene that we've all been waiting for. Then the next, bam... it's over, no closure, not really anyway, well not enough for my taste. But if there is going to be a sequel, then it wouldn't be as bad. But I've heard rumors that there will not be a sequel. And if that is the case, then that's terrible, because A LOT is left unsaid and unrevealed. I just felt the author could of easily added 100 pages on and made the story more complex with a deeper route into the background and wrapped up the ending in a more drawn-out satisfying way.


Jessamin left her home island of Melei to go to one of the best schools in the upper class country of Albion. But as Jessa starts to get into her normal routine in a new country, her world is thrown up into a chaotic uproar. Jessa has just been opened into a new world....of magic.

“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.”

When Jessa meets the enticing and dangerously alluring young Lord, Finn Ackerly, she is quickly swept into a magical world known only to the nobility. Jessa can't help but feel drawn to the attractively charming lord, but knows that something is different when she is around him. She's never known magic existed, let alone is the backbone to the nobles existence. But when it becomes clear that magic is in fact real, and it's not going away, she will have to decide what, and ultimately who is worth fighting for.

There is a deadly game being played by two very powerful lords, and Jessa just so happens to be dead smack in the middle of it all! She's become their pawn piece in their vicious game of magical war, and if Jessa wants to save the ones she's come to love, then she has no choice but to follow through and be the pawn in their vicious game of tug a war.

With no other options, Jessa will have to use every ally she has made to dig herself out of the mess she's been pulled into to beat the evil Minister of Defense, Lord Downpike at his own game. Because if she fails, not only the ones she's come to love, but also her home island will pay the ultimate price.

Overall, ILLUSIONS OF FATE was a quick, lighthearted, read, with thrilling characters that were entertaining and magical. I really enjoyed ILLUSIONS OF FATE , even with it's unrevealed secrets that I'm dying to know. It still was a great read and I would definitely recommend it.

NOTE: I received a physical ARC from HarperTeen for reviewing purposes! All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way!

Profile Image for Julia.
115 reviews96 followers
August 27, 2016
I read this book as a part of BookTubeAThon 2015:
3. Read someone else's favourite book

Fantasy isn't my genre. I'm not a big fan of all this magic-related-stuff. And I didn't have high expectations, when it came to this book (let's be honest, I rarely do have them). And if I saw this book and knew no one of my friends read it, I wouldn't even pick it up. But I'm glad I did. Especially without reading the synopsis.

Illusions of Fate is one of those really fast paced books: you can't put it down. Each chapter is packed with action and the endings of them make you want to find more, so if you don't have enough time to finish this book in one or two sitting, don't pick it up. Save it for later. You'll definitely suffer without knowing what comes next. The only thing that I didn't really like, was a messy and hasty ending.

Illusions of Fate is one of those books with strong female protagonists: they don't whine, nor they act thoughtlessly, nor they do nothing at all. I loved Jessamin from the very first chapter. Trust me, this girl can stand up for herself. She's smart, strong, witty. And most of all, she's real. She has a lot of issues in this cold and gray world of Albion even before being involved in the world of magic and politics, so she doesn't immediately fall in love with the first man who helped her, yet she can act recklessly.

Illusions of Fate is one of those books with strong runner-up characters: and I'm talking about Eleanor. Oh, Eleanor. I really enjoyed her voice in this story, don't let her fool you with her light-mindedness, she's so much more than this.

Illusions of Fate is one of those books with amazing male characters: they aren't all that bossy, nor are they only pretty and brainless, nor are they boring. For me Finn still is a riddle. In one chapter he's a total mystery, in the other — Mad Hatter, in the other — Mr. Darcy. He has so many sides that you can't help but love him.

Illusions of Fate is one of those books that make you give fantasy books a try. Or maybe it's just me ;)
Profile Image for Kierstan.
141 reviews381 followers
April 26, 2015
This book is so stinking cute. Like really, so cute.

This is my first Kiersten White book. I knew that I wanted to give one of her books a try, after reading her short story in My True Love Gave To Me. Now I want to go out and purchase the rest of her books, because this was just so adorable.

This was a nice quick read. It combines all of my favorite YA elements. Important friendship, sense of self and determination, throw in a little magic, and an adorable romance. You have a true winner. This book had the perfect amount of conflict to keep the story interesting, yet not overdone. Although the book is only 250 pages, you get a great sense of the characters and their development. Every person introduced had a vital role in the story, there was no wasted dialogue or filler. Which always leaves me feeling satisfied when the book is over. No matter how long it is.

I love the fact that even though this was a short book, I got a great sense of the world they are living in. Royal blood lines with the ability to do magic. Trying to force the common people into a war they are unaware of. One girl who is resistant to the charms of magic, getting swept up in this secret world. Doing the best she can to save her village from this magic war. Her gentrification and how it effects her and those around her. Never quite fitting in, even though she has the same education and upbringing of any lady. It was just all so perfectly done.

I'm just still so impressed by the punch this little book packs. It's fluffy, but with the perfect amount of suspense to keep you interested in more than just the romance of the main characters. The great thing about the romance between them, is the conflict doesn't arise between the two of them. It lies outside their relationship, which makes me love the story even more. If there is one thing I despise, it's a romance, where the only thing propelling the story forward is their conflict with each other. So I'm so thankful I found this book!

I just need to get the rest of her books now and binge.
Profile Image for Madison.
182 reviews18 followers
January 4, 2016
Ok wow.. what to say.. what to say..

Well I did enjoy this book a lot, it was a lot of fun and it made me a bit emotional at times but most of the time I just wanted the book to finish. It wasn't boring but it just felt so.. I don't know. I felt like this story had no personality to it, it felt bland even though it wasn't. The plot, characters and world were cool as hell so I don't know why I felt the way I'm feeling about it.

I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a nice, fun read!

Profile Image for E.V. Fairfall.
Author 4 books594 followers
February 18, 2016
Super fun book! We found Kiersten White through her short story in "My True Love Gave to Me" and will continue to read her work.
Profile Image for rin.
411 reviews483 followers
February 29, 2016
I can't say that I loved the book but I certainly liked it.
The plot is fast paced and interesting, the plot twist is unexpected (even though I didn't trust the guy), the book has few plot holes, but overall I enjoyed it.
I liked the romance and the portrayal of the friendship. My favorite character is not Jessamin the MC, but she's pretty OK (even though I was annoyed at her at some moments). Finn is cute, I adored him a lot. (And loved him from the very beginning, guys named Finn are love by default).
I liked the villain until his real identity was revealed :/
In other news, I want Finn's house.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews710 followers
October 23, 2014
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Illusions of Fate is a book that would have completely won me over pre-blogging, but now, not so much. I still had a lot of fun reading it but the problem is that I am somewhat of a critic; I now notice things that might have completely escaped my attention before I became a blogger and that’s why I didn’t love this book.

For starters, the characters were all great from a glance but if you dig deeper… there weren't much. Jessamin herself sometimes annoyed me and made me want to shake her but her sense of humor won me over. She wasn’t what I’d call an admirable character, but she worked for the purposes of the story. Finn, the love interest, was similar. He was sweet in spite of the initial misunderstandings, but there wasn’t much else to him. He was pretty flat aside from that. Eleanor was a nice addition to the story and probably the only secondary character that wasn’t almost completely forgotten about afterwards. My favorite character was Sir Bird though. He was a strong, brave bird that defied authority and did what he thought was right and you couldn’t help but want to cuddle with him.

The romance was kind of the similar to the characters. It was pleasant but not much else aside from that. I didn’t think of it as insta-love or slow burn or anything. It was just there and it was nice to read about. The two were all right as a couple, however, I did wish Jessamin have paid more attention to Finn and realized his intentions so that they wouldn't have had to dance around each other for so long.

The plot was pretty meh to be honest. Things were happening and I understood that and it was paced well enough, but there weren't enough to satisfy me. The resolution came out of nowhere, and the twist surprised me and not in a good way. Twists are great when they surprise you and then you can go back and connect the dots, but when you literally cannot even understand how that happened, that’s not a good thing.

This probably has something to do with the lack of world building. There just weren't enough. I mean, it was good enough to keep the book going but not nearly enough to satisfy me as a reader. What it did was make me have more questions than not and the lack of world building also made it harder for me as a reader to connect the dots as the story progressed. In fact, there were a LOT of things just forgotten about after being introduced. Not just secondary characters but other secrets brushed over but never fully explored.

With that said, the little world building we DID get was fascinating. The idea that the nobility possessed magical powers was an interesting one and the whole shadow jumping thing (which kind of reminds me of the whole mating thing in pnr featuring shapeshifters) was intriguing as well. There was definitely a LOT of potential in this world, but the fact that it was a standalone made it harder for it to be explored.

It makes me wonder what this would have been like it weren’t a standalone; if it had been part of a series instead. That said, I am glad that it is one. We DO need more of them because as much as I love a series, I could use a bunch of standalones in my life.

The one thing this book has done though is encourage me to pick up other books by the author. I wasn’t a fan of Paranormalcy (AT ALL) and I had been wary of giving the author another shot, but I think I am ready to read some of the other books by her that I had wanted to read at some point.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun read. If you’re not as concerned about details as I was, and just want a nice story to fall into, this would be perfect.
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