Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate

by Kiersten White


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Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from Kiersten White, #1 New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken.

Illusions of Fate is an absolute delight—a magical, sparkling, dangerous world with witty repartee and a romance that will light your heart on fire. Kiersten White’s best yet.”—Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss

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 the gorgeous, enigmatic Finn, who introduces her to the secret world of Albion's nobility. It’s a world that has everything Jessamin doesn't—power, money, status . . . and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, and the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess them. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits, can stop him.

Readers who love Libba Bray, Cassanda Clare, or Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell won’t want to miss this captivating stand-alone novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062135896
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: HL780L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy, The Chaos of Stars, and the psychological thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies. She has neither magic nor a pet bird, but wants both. Kiersten lives with her family in San Diego, California.

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Illusions of Fate 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an easy read that drew me right in! I enjoyed the book very much!
Amber_Elise More than 1 year ago
Illusions of Fate is set in beautiful world based in magic and political gain.  Plot: Illusions of Fate is a nice slow build. We are first introduced to Jessamin who travels to the continent from her colonized island in hopes of getting a proper education. She runs into the dashing "Finn" and things get weird from there. I thought that this novel moved at a nice slow pace, Jessa is given information on magic little by little, we discover different aspects of the political system and the history of the world, and the romance takes a back seat to the political intrigue. Once the romance begins to pick up ,I feel like Kiersten got tired of waiting and just hit the reader with every plot twist possible. The pacing was so off that I felt removed from the story.  Characters: Jessamin has left her island of Melei full of sun and love to the dreary London-esque Albion. As Melei was colonized by leaders of Albion, Jessamin is treated significantly differently from the paler Albionians. I loved the social parallels of colonization in Illusions of Fate. Jessamin manages to keep a straight face while people hurl insults at her, remark on her "exotic" dark skin, and make lurid comments about the sexualization of her culture. Finn, her romantic interest, was a fairly nice love interest but he isn't given much personality. From the opening pages, he seems to exist just because Jessamin exists and is ready to confess his undying love. Their love felt lopsided which I think is a result of the confused pacing as well.  World Building: Kiersten White did a fabulous job of creating her world, I could easily picture myself on the rainy streets of Albion, at a fancy gala, or in the parlor of a mad man. It really does have that 20th century London feel that makes me want to go binge watch period pieces on the BBC. Short N Sweet: Illusions of Fate is an intelligent novel that explores the negative affects of colonization, it fell short due to an inconsistent pacing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG SO GOOD. I love the YA genre, but I'm really picky and this is one of the first new (non series books) that I've LOVED in a long time. I read it in 24 hrs (not very impressive since its so short, but still!) I, like many others, wish that there was more romance, but that is a minor complaint. Finn is SO SWEET, and Jessamine is a surprisingly good heroine. Most heroines lately have been very annoying but she was so refreshing!
COBauer More than 1 year ago
Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. "Illusions of Fate" is a quick & entertaining read. I haven’t had a chance to read White’s Paranormalcy trilogy yet, but if this is an indication of her style I think I’ll enjoy it. The only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because it felt a little bit rushed. I wanted a bit more development of her relationship with Finn and her place in this world. I loved the twist at the end—didn’t see it coming. But I was left feeling like it came out of left field. I probably need to go back and give it another read to see if the author dropped some hints early on. Was satisfied with the ending, but again it still felt like it was rushed/lacking. Overall: fun characters, nice world-building, and nicely paced. Definitely recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing and is my new favorite book!
AsDreamsAreMade More than 1 year ago
Original Review Link: It was so great to finally read a YA standalone novel! A beginning, middle and end–all in one book! I know, a rarity. Obviously I snatched the opportunity to read this the moment I found out. Plus the cover is so pretty! Jessamin is from the Island of Melei, something that doesn’t necessarily work in her favor in Albion where she is studying at University. A chance encounter with the enigmatic Finn introduces Jessa to a world she never knew existed, completely altering her destiny–or was it fate? Jessa is a very intelligent heroine. She’s great at science and Math which helps her in understanding the magic in this new worlds she’s thrust into. Finn was charming (he spelled his hair to ensure that) and her friend Eleanor was very witty as well, as much as she tries to prove to everybody that she isn’t. Lord Downspike is quintessential evil and we’re introduced to his darker side very early. As much as I loved the characters they were a bit trite, and juvenile. I know, it’s a YA novel, but it had a little more of a juvenile feel to it, compared to other YA I’ve read. I enjoyed the twist at the end, even though it was predictable. I would have liked less hints throughout the novel so it would have been a bit more of a shock when it happened. I loved the issues the book brought up about racism, imperialism and acceptance. I would love to see another book set in the same world. Maybe one about Eleanor?? That would just be an entertaining story!
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Albion is dank and cold; a dreary, grey thing far removed from Jessamin Olea's tropical island home of Melei. Even the people of Albion are different with their harsh, staid manners and so many of them obsessed with wealth or status. With her dark hair and skin, Jessa never stood a chance of blending in here--even if she wanted to do such a thing. No matter the hardships, Jessa knows moving to Albion will be worthwhile once her fancy Alben education is complete and she can use all of her new knowledge to help Melei and its people. If Jessa hadn't tried to walk down an alley on her way home from class, that might have been the end of the story. Instead, after a chance encounter with a strange and charming man named Finn Ackerly, Jessa's life becomes something very different. Soon Jessa is drawn into a magical power struggle between Finn and the sinister Lord Downpike. Weeks ago Jessa's biggest concerns were keeping warm and trying to afford her textbooks while staying at the top of her class. Now, as enemies circle, Jessa will have to decide whether to stay on the path that will bring her home to Melei or bind herself further to Finn in Illusions of Fate (2014) by Kiersten White. White offers a clever and original story here that is a fine historial-esque fantasy set in a well-realized world. With wit and humor aplenty, Illusions of Fate also features a nuanced commentary on what it means to feel and be seen as "other" along with the power that comes from claiming one's heritage and identity. Ideas surrounding feminism and imperialism are also handled as thoughtfully as race here. Jessa is a fierce heroine who knows exactly who she is and refuses to compromise that sense of self for anyone. Unapologetic, smart, and more than capable of saving herself, Jessa is sure to appeal to readers of all ages. Finn is her perfect foil as these unlikely allies bring out the best in each other with chemistry that is evident in every banter-filled exchange. Illusions of Fate is a delightful blend of fantasy and romance with an action-packed plot with more than a few twists. The story builds slowly to reveal a story that is both engaging and thoughtful as Jessa tries to navigate the murky waters of Alben society. Although the ending is rushed in places, readers will finish this book with all of the pieces they need to imagine what other adventures might be in store for this truly wonderful heroine. Possible Pairings: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carringer, The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason, A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee, Sabriel by Garth Nix, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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BookLoversLife1 More than 1 year ago
Jessamin moves to Albion from her home town of Melei to study at a prestigious school. Her biological father is a professor there and Jessamin wormed her way into the school through her father. She is determined to be the best and studies hard. Despite being wealthy in Melei, Jessamin has nothing in Albion. She has to work at a hotel to make ends meet.  One day while in the park she meets the mysterious enigmatic Finn. From then on it seems she bumps into him wherever she goes. Finn is rich, charming and Jessamin finds herself drawn to him, but is he all he seems? Jessamin discovers a dark and deadly side to Albion and she is dragged into it through Finn. She becomes the pawn in a deadly game an her only hope of surviving is sticking close to the person who brought this upon her.  This is by far my favourite Kiersten White book!! A fun romantic magical read.  Jessamin was an awesome heroine. Spunky, brave, smart and witty. Despite being seen as inferior by Albion society because she comes from Melei, Jessamin stays upbeat and doesn't let them get to her. She is the best in her class and extremely bright and she relies on no one.  The enigmatic Finn was perfect. Loyal, generous, brave and a true gentleman. Its hard not to love him. He tries to keep away from Jessamin simply because he doesn't want to pull her into his world but he just cant seem to stop himself. He was just an amazing character.  I also have to say that I loved Eleanor. She was such a fun person. Lol. I loved that she was so confident in herself and even though her family thought she didn't have a lot of magic, she still managed some awesome spells. She was a breath of fresh air!! Overall I fell in love with the world Kiersten White has created. From the exquisite writing to the magical plot and from the fantastic characters to the witty repertoire, Illusions Of Fate is a must read. I loved everything from the pacing to the plot and flew through the book. Its has everything Ive come to expect from the author, fast pacing, fun characters, sweet romance and swoon worthy men. This is a book that will stay firmly on my favourites shelf. I hope there's more from this world because I need more Finn!! 
book4children More than 1 year ago
I've discovered a new favorite author. This is my first Kiersten White book, but it certainly won't be my last. This book was everything I love about the young adult fantasy genre. It was full of magic, friendship, romance, and suspense. It was very clean, too. Other than a few instances of mild innuendo, there was nothing objectionable in the book. I love horrid bad guys in books, and this one was as awful as they come. I loved the twist at the end! I didn't see it coming. Illusions of Fate is an imaginatively magical adventure that left me wanting more. I sincerely hope that there will be a sequel. Content: Some non-descriptive violence and mild innuendo. Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Kiersten White's special blend of quirky, engaging characters, old-new imaginative worlds, plots and information that make me want to reread everything when I get to the ending, swirled together with romance and humor! I loved the characters. I sided with Jessamin in not knowing if Finn was trustworthy, though swoon worthy. I like that the story's pace picks up right away, throwing Jessamin into a world she (and we) don't fully understand. I like Jessamin more for having realistic faults; experiences in her background that keep her wary. She's clever and courageous, and though her culture, gender, nonmagic and social status could (and do sometimes) make her feel less valuable, she's determined and strong - being stubborn pays off. She's the firecracker she's painted to be. I love the conflicting emotions between Finn and Jessamin, their sometimes witty, sometimes tender and other times cross interactions. They're dealt a few cards they weren't planning on and I loved seeing how they played out. 
ABookVacation More than 1 year ago
This novel pulled me in from the get go with its alluring magic and snarky, realistic characters. I absolutely adored it, and I am really hoping that there will be more novels set in this world. While a stand-alone, I’d love some companion novels or, better yet, a sequel. But, as it is, perfection abounds. If you’re a lover of Downton Abbey and all things paranormal, then this is definitely the novel for you. Similar to the hidden world of Harry Potter, White’s archaic world gives an old-world, realistic feeling to readers, and it exists exactly how I expect the early 1900s to have existed in Europe, but with a catch. Unbeknownst to the populace, the upper class possess magical traits, passed down through their lineage, adding an air of mystery and intrigue to this novel as the plot unfolds. And I loved every moment of it! Jessamin is a wonderful, snarky, quick-witted character, and I just loved her interactions with my dear swoonworthy Finn. While utterly infuriating, Finn is indeed the epitome of the perfect man, and I really enjoyed getting to know him, as well as watching his and Jessamin’s love grow. Jessamin is a strong character, set in her ways, full of pride, and it was amazing to watch her carry on, especially once she was pulled into the magical war between Finn and Lord Downpike—a despicable man we just love to hate. I have to admit that White had me on pins and needles as the novel progressed, especially near the end then the other show seemed to drop and I feared the worst. Thankfully, White does tie the end up with a nice bow, leaving readers exhaling in relief—and in my opinion, White also leaves the ending open enough that there could be more to come, should she choose to write it. And as I said, I hope she does. Five amazing stars!
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
With an alternate historical setting and a healthy helping of magic, Illusions of Fate was a delightfully intriguing YA romance. I really liked this lovely book. From the romance, to the thrills, to a truly unexpected secret, this book was fantastic. The world-building for this book was good. It was set in an alternate Victorian world with magic. The countries had different names, but it was easy to find the parallel. The whole set up of the world was well done and the descriptions of magic explained enough that I never got confused. There could have been more expansion, but it wasn't necessary to the plot, just for my curiosity. Otherwise, great world-building. Jessamin was a good heroine. At first, I didn't like her very much. She came off as judgmental and, while I understood and liked her strength and strive for independence, she was often stubborn just for stubbornness' sake. And, I didn't like how selfish her thinking was a first. She was frustratingly unconcerned about the possibility of a huge war, so long as it didn't affect her. However, as the book went on, she rethought her judgement, became more reasonable, and realized that she needed to step up. And, she proved that she was a clever and resilient character who protected her loved ones, no matter what it took. By the end of the book, I quite liked her. Finn was just amazing. He was very loyal to his loved ones, determined to stop a war (even if he was one of the few standing against it), and clever enough to get himself out of any situation. Not to mention he was SO sweet and just perfect. I totally adored him. The romance was lovely. After Jessamin stopped being so stubborn, they were a sweet couple. I thought it was adorable how Finn has been infatuated from their first meeting (the whole shadow thing was so romantic), but he was willing to wait for Jessamin. They were lovely together. The plot was okay. It started off slow. For about the first third, I was only mildly interested. However, after that first part, things started picking up and I became fully engaged in the story. From them on, I was hooked. There were plenty of thrills that kept me on the edge of my seat and a huge secret and betrayal that I never saw coming. Nothing was as it seemed with this villain. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was perfect. Illusions of Fate was a wonderful YA romance. I really liked this book. It had thrills, secrets, and a super sweet romance and I enjoyed it all. YA lovers, this is a book worth checking out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***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. Rating: 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!