Illusions by Madeline J. Reynolds is a YA Fantasy / Historical Victorian story of magic, romance, and trickery.
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.
Since I read this through an eBook version, it will be interesting to see if this is another alternate formatted book. Illusions is told through two perspectives, each through written letters, pictures, and other forms to convey their stories. I think a physical copy of this book would be highly beneficial to the reader.
I was also surprised, since I rarely remember the synopses, that this was a LGBT romance between two male characters stuck in a forbidden situation. Set in historical London, we follow the two main characters as they battle being apprentices for separate illusionists.
Flowing through their day-to-day, grunting tasks, they feel as if their loneliness is about to overpower them, that is, until they meet each other. And from there, the forbidden connection between them is constantly pulling each other ever closer.
I really enjoyed this book. There is a lot of magic and trickery that turns into these spectacular events. I liked how the historical setting really brought this story to life and created a circus vibe without it actually being a circus.
There was a lot of soul and passion in the writing as well. The back and worth of the journal entries eventually brought everything together into a fun, quick read.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the content and just immersing myself in their creative world. I think that if you love reading romantic twists and spectacular performances, this is your book!
Published: 6 November 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Historical Victorian
How I Read It: eARC from YA Bound Book Tours
“Having never performed on a proper stage, I kept bumping into Neville and standing in the wrong place—how was I to know which direction was meant by “upstage or “downstage”? When he would call out “stage right!” I was never quite sure if he meant my right or his own. Needless to say, I had the same troubles with “stage left.”
But all these other blunders were rather trivial. The real atrocity was the final act: the headlining trick sure to astound our crowds.
Before making any attempt at it, he at least did me the courtesy of running through the mechanics of it all, step by step. He told me how he wanted it to look, where in the theatre he should appear once it was complete, even how I was to pose and smile during the moment of revelation.
I used this discussion as one last attempt at convincing him that a properly trained assistant should really be the one to share the stage with him. Not only would such an assistant be much more appealing to the eye than my scrawny frame, but it would also keep the greatly unwanted attention off myself.
He is convinced I need to be right by his side, seeing everything as he sees it, for the trick to go smoothly.
And then he did it. He leaped from the stage and out over the rows of chairs where the audience would soon be sitting.
I made an honest effort. But concentration was difficult at best, and my reaction was far too slow, causing Neville to fall onto the row of chairs below. His limbs were draped into awkward, unnatural positions, as though he were a marionette doll rather than a living, breathing man made up of bones, and muscles, and flesh.
As I stood watching him groan in agony, I was certain that he had broken at least some of those bones. But after pulling himself up, he claimed to still be in one piece.
When his eyes found me, he screamed insults and profanities, reminding me he’d seen me perform an identical feat just yesterday in his studio.
“Sir,” I said. “Performing this trick on a small vase and performing it on a human being are two vastly different—”
He glared at me. “If you tarnish my good name by letting such a mistake happen on opening night, I will tarnish your reputation. You will never receive work again. Not as a magician’s apprentice. Not as a street sweeper.””
“Madeline J. Reynolds is a YA fantasy author living in Chicago. Originally from Minneapolis, she has a background in journalism and has always loved storytelling in its various forms. When not writing, she can be found exploring the city, eating Thai food, or lost in an epic Lord of the Rings marathon.”
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. All of my book reviews contain my honest opinion only and are not influenced in any way.*
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