(Image from Barnes & Noble)
As a native of tropical Melei, Jessamin Olea longs for the warmth and brightness of her island home. She can't stand the dark dreariness of Albion, the city where she attends school. Its inhabitants, obsessed with wealth and status, aren't anymore enamored of Jessamin as she is of them. As an "island rat," she's considered a second-class citizen, useful only as a servant to her high-brow betters. Even her father, a professor in Albion, can't be bothered with her. Despite all this, she's determined to make something of herself using her natural gifts of intelligence, quick-thinking, and spunk.
When she draws the attention of Finn Ackerly, a handsome 19-year-old aristocrat, Jessamin is introduced to the glittering world of Albion high society. Not only is it filled with bulging pocketbooks, fancy gowns and sparkling jewels, but it's also defined by a potent blood-magic that runs through noble veins. Because of her growing friendship with Finn, Jessamin also attracts the attention of the sadistic Lord Downpike, who will stop at nothing to recover what she's taken from him. Caught in a deadly game against a dangerous opponent, Jessamin will have to rely not on magic, but on her own wit and spunk. Can she save herself and Finn before it's too late for both of them? Or will she, like so many of her island countrymen, be trampled under the boots of Albion's powerful gentry?
Filled with adventure and magic, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White is a fun, enjoyable novel. Although it's clever and imaginative, it's true the story isn't all that original. Still. It's clean, it's engaging, it's an easy, entertaining read that can be enjoyed by both teens and adults (my 13-year-old daughter and I both liked it). Jessamin's the kind of heroine anyone will find compelling —it's as easy to sympathize with her plight as it is to cheer on her brave fight against Albion's evils. All in all, then, Illusions of Fate tells a satisfying story that's just plain fun to read.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for violence, intense situations, and mild sexual innuendo