Saturday, April 30, 2011

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Illusions

Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.
[from Goodreads]

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Faerie fanatic
High point:  How easily I slipped into the series
Low point:  Tamani's obsessiveness
Reader maturity: 13+

Illusions was the third faerie novel I read in a week, and I was afraid it would blend into the previous two, Lament and Ballad. I needn't have feared; it was strong enough to hold its own.

After receiving Illusions for review, I hesitated to begin it because I haven't read the first two books in the series, Wings and Spells. I read the synopsis on Wikipedia (totally cheating, I know!) and that was sufficient to catch me up with the goings-on in Illusions. Based on what I read in Illusions, I have no doubt that, while I was able to keep up with the drama, the story would be a much richer experience if I knew the nuances of Laurel's history, both with Tamani and as a faerie. However, Illusions was still riveting (I finished it in one sitting), and after catching up on Wikipedia, I didn't have trouble following the action. Ms. Pike does a good job of including explanations without burdening the book.

Laurel is a sweet, smart, caring main character with just enough flaws to keep her feeling human, even though she isn't. I admired her desire to live as "normally" as possible to be near her family and friends. Her boyfriend, David, is a nice change in that he was [mostly] understanding of her situation and seemed like a really sweet guy. Now, Tamani, on the other hand--he is a little bit obsessed. Fortunately, everyone seems to realize that, especially Laurel, but I kept getting angry whenever he'd pressure her about David. Obsession aside, he is certainly devoted to Laurel and her safety, apart from his feelings for her. My favorite character, though, is her best friend, who is funny and loyal ALL the time but has some bonus moments of greatness.

They're background characters, in Illusions at least, but I'd like to give props to Laurel's parents for being so well-adjusted and laid-back (but still parental). YA parents often get a bad rap, and Laurel's mom and dad are normal parents, loving and a little bit strict when looking out for their daughter's best interests. It's good to see the functional relationship Laurel has with them.

The writing is smooth and subtle, perfect for describing Avalon and Laurel's plant-based experiments. Everything was so vivid; even without having read about it before, I could picture the door into Avalon and the land, as well as Laurel's blossom. The blossom/plant component is pretty neat; I'd never read about faeries as plants or with blossoms. They brought a new twist to the faerie myth. I would love to know more about the different castes of faeries, as well as what happened with Laurel and the trolls (book 2?) so I guess I'll be picking up the first two sometime in the near future!

If you've read Wings and Spells, then Illusions will be an amazing addition to the series, and even if you haven't, it's still a beautiful and entertaining read.

Title:  Illusions (Wings #3)
Author:  Aprilynne Pike
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Faeries
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Received for review from Harper Teen

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