Illusions by Madeline J. Reynolds

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Illusions by Madeline J. Reynolds
380 pgs
4 Stars

Thomas Pendelton was born into wealth and prestige. He has a sensitive heart and wants nothing more than to write poetry. Instead, he is apprenticing for Neville Wighton the Great, an aging magician who has become somewhat crazed over the years in his pursuit of fame. With Thomas’ help, Wighton is about to premiere the greatest illusion seen by man, for Thomas possesses something no other illusionist has: real magic. Many in the theatrical world are desperate to learn Wighton’s big secret. One such magician is Paolo il Magnifico. His apprentice, Saverio Moretti, is also seeking the answer. He has a scheme to get close to Wighton by seducing Thomas but seduction turns to real feelings. Now the young men must struggle to keep the secret of their romance, as well as the secret of Thomas’ magic, as both of these things could cost Thomas his life. Through journal entries, posters, letters, and other documents, ILLUSIONS is a story of love, betrayal, and of course, magic.

This book was not what I expected both in a good and bad way. For some reason, I anticipated a story somewhat reminiscent of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I absolutely loved those books, so I was a little disappointed this story wasn’t even a little similar. On the other hand, it turned out to be a really good story that holds its own.
I’m mostly over love stories at this point. Currently, my favorite books are about fantasy, magic, and strong women as an MC. But this was just so beautifully written, I just couldn’t help becoming a huge fan.

The story follow Thomas and Sav through journal entries and letters written by them. This was also something I didn’t enjoy at first, but it just took a few chapters to get used to. It also turned out to be important to the story later on in the book.

Overall, I gave this book 4 stars. The writing was beautiful, the characters and their development were interesting and entertaining. The plot was intriguing with a mostly surprise result. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an original, magical love story.

Thanks for reading!
-V

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