Jessamin left her tropical island home country of Melei for the gray and very proper Albion to continue her studies, even though she now has to study history rather than math and is seen as an “island rat,” in Kiersten White’s novel “Illusions of Fate.”
On the way home from school to the hotel where she works and sleeps, Jessamin takes a turn down an alley, meets Lord Finn Ackerly and is thrown into an unseen world of magic practiced by the Albion nobility.
Among the nobility is a power struggle between Lord Downpike, who is the minister of defense, and Ackerly. Downpike sees Ackerly’s growing affection toward Jessamin as a way to exploit him and obtain the knowledge, power and support Downpike craves to invade neighboring nations that have a unique magic.
As Jessamin considers her past choices and current options while making friends with other nobles, she wants to keep those she cares about safe but also learn about the magic that surrounds her.
White has created a magical world where birds turn into books, doors don’t always lead to expected places and Jessamin’s preconceived notions about Albion aren’t always true.
Jessamin, like White’s other female protagonists in her Paranormalacy and Mind Games series and the standalone “The Chaos of Stars,” is headstrong and wants to be independent while protecting those they care about. Jessamin tries to let the prejudice against her and her people roll off her back, but it hurts -- especially because she’s half Albion and half Melenese.
White has conjured an entertaining tale that takes any expectations about magic and turns them sideways, creating a world where an unexpected heroine rises to help save those she loves even if it means emotional pain for herself.
The language is clean and the described romance doesn’t go beyond kissing. There is some magical fantasy violence.
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