I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I had a really fun time reading this book. It's one of those books that is far from perfect, yet the good is so much more splendid that I'm willing to forgive a lot of things have usually bother me. Does that make sense? No? Ok I'll try to explain a little better.
Illusions of Fate is a stand alone move that takes place in an alternate reality. The main character, Jessamin, is a student studying at a university in her father's country (he teachers at the university too, but ignores her). She blackmails her way in (yeah, she's spunky and awesome) and soon finds herself mixed up in a world of nobility and magic where the color of your skin is a distinct disadvantage. I liked Jessamin a lot. She's super smart, and I just love smart women. She is more clever than the men in the novel, including her crush Finn. You may know how rare it is for the girl to be smarter than the guy (in novels, in real life it happens all the time) or to not find the girl suddenly dumb in all subjects because she's falling In love. ;)
Jessamin has a mastery of language and is great at mathematics even though she's not allowed to study it. I really liked her spirit, and the fact that she was alone in a new country just because she wanted to learn.
She's plucky and sarcastic and stubborn, to a fault at times. The other characters were just as fun to read about. I loved Finn. He was charming and I am not embarrassed to admit I have a total crush on him. I like how he let Jessamin do what she wanted and take control of her own fate. I also really loved Eleanor. She was so much fun because of her gossip-loving personality.
Now to address the things I didn't really like. I am mad this is a stand alone novel. It should've, could've EASILY been a series, or at least two books. See, so much went into the history, world building, and culture, and it seemed that other things were just so rushed. It's like the book could've been fleshed out more, and as it is it felt rushed and too short. Is this because I wanted to spend more time in Jessamin's world? Partly, and partly because when I read so much and finally understand and get the feel for the books setting, it sucks to have it end shortly after. The ending ended a little too perfectly, although I couldn't be happier for what actually did happen. Again, if the books pacing would've been a bit more balanced I think the author would've had to make this two separate books. Things could've been explained more at the end, with what happens to Finn.
But this is one of those books I couldn't put it down, and I loved every minute of it. So for that reason, I'm willing to forgive the error of making the a stand alone and am now pushing up the authors other books higher on my TBR. I recommend this book to lovers of magical novels, although in this one, the girl doesn't suddenly discover she has magical powers.
She is still special, though, and as cheesy as that sounds I found it very inspiring.