Illusions by Madeline J. Reynolds

Posted November 5, 2018 by lenoreo in NetGalley ARCs, Reviews / 1 Comment

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Illusions by Madeline J. ReynoldsTitle: Illusions
Author: Madeline J. Reynolds
Published by: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Format: eARC
Pages: 380
Genres: Historical, LGBT, Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult
Potential Triggers: View Spoiler »
Source: NetGalley
Reading Challenges: Lenoreo's 2018 Netgalley and Edelweiss Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 New Release Challenge
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NGoogleKoboiBooksIndieBound
My rating: four-stars


Dear Thomas,

I know you're angry. It's true, I was sent to expose your mentor as a fraud illusionist, and instead I have put your secret in jeopardy. I fear I have even put your life in jeopardy. For that I can only beg your forgiveness. I've fallen for you. You know I have. And I never wanted to create a rift between us, but if it means protecting you from those who wish you dead—I'll do it. I'll do anything to keep you safe, whatever the sacrifice. Please forgive me for all I've done and what I'm about to do next. I promise, it's one magic trick no one will ever see coming.


My Review:

I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

4 stars — Guess who has a crying headache now?  Oh, that would be me!!!  I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this one, as it’s a bit out of my wheelhouse in a couple of ways: a) I don’t tend to read historical; and b) it was written as a series of journal entries, which I wasn’t sure I was going to like.  But that blurb just sucked me in, you know?  Which, I must say, now that I’ve read the story, I feel like the blurb is kind of misleading.  I kept expecting something because of the blurb, and maybe I’m just not thinking correctly, but I don’t feel like the blurb *quite* fits into the story.  Regardless, though, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed myself.

Since this book was outside the norm for me, I was super reluctant to start it.  But once I did, I became intrigued.  And the further along I went, the more invested I became in the story and our characters.  I’m not sure if the way the story was told (through journal entries, and the occasional newspaper clipping, etc) was actually necessary.  Part of me says yes, definitely.  Part of me felt like the journal entries didn’t always feel like real journal entries.  It was like the author was trying to stick to that, but occasionally it felt more like narrative.  But honestly?  In the end it didn’t matter to me, because my love for Thomas and Saverio overshadowed everything else.

Thomas broke my heart so many times.  He was so shy and nervous, and struggling with so much.  And seeing all those people using him was just disgusting.  He had such a sweet, pure heart that it just made it worse.  But I did love seeing him grow throughout the story, build confidence, and become more self-accepting.

Saverio took a bit longer to get his hooks into me.  Which is not to say I disliked him at the beginning, but I was wary of him.  Even with what we know of how he grew up, it was still hard to watch him being so cold and almost mercenary.  But I think that made his slow fall that much more satisfying, and believable.  If the turnaround had been abrupt, it wouldn’t have felt authentic.  I even appreciated the occasional missteps he made after falling for Thomas, because that was believable too.

I thought it was interesting how Sav was fine with his sexual preferences, even at that time.  It was so different from Thomas…  It was SO HARD to read about the way they had to hide their love in that time period.  I mean, I know it’s hard to be gay in the here and now, but I can’t even FATHOM how hard it would have been back then.  BUT their romance was so sweet and beautiful, and I just truly felt their connection to one another.

This book truly took me on a rollercoaster of emotions.  I had no idea where we were going to end up, but I was satisfied when I got there.

On a side note, I will admit that this book didn’t feel young adult to me.  It wasn’t that it was explicit or anything, it just didn’t feel “teen” to me.  But honestly, as an adult reader, I’m not sure I know what YA is anymore.

So yeah.  I went into this one with trepidation, and it surprised me in all the best ways.

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