Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

by Kat Alexander

Illusions picks up a fair bit after where Spells left off. Laurel has returned from Avalon, and it’s the very first day of her very last year of high school. Everyone’s getting ready to go off to college, prepping their applications and taking the SAT one last time. Everyone except Laurel, who still has to make a choice–will she spend the next four years getting a degree she’ll likely never use, or go back to the Academy in Avalon and leave everything she’s ever known, forever?

If anything, matters are only complicated by the arrival of two new students, both foreign. Yuki from Japan and Tam Collins of Scotland. Both faeries.

Somehow, the fact that Tam is actually Tamani, Laurel’s faerie bodyguard of sorts, isn’t making the issue any simpler.

Out of the series so far, this is definitely the slowest of the books. Trolls barely show their faces, and Laurel spends nearly the entire time in California, with only a brief stint in Avalon. What’s in the book didn’t disappoint me, but what’s not in the book was what I really wanted. The last two books left the series with a fair number of loose ends, and Illusions is the book to tie them into a loose bow, just in time for book four (untitled, it seems, so far–expected publication about a year from now). Being in California, there’s no cool faerie additions into the mythology of the books–really the thing that kept me reading the series–though it’s clear that Laurel’s skill set is still growing. She works in her bedroom lab to give us a little hint of the magic, but it’s still not much. Trolls seem to be on hiatus, something that at least is mentioned, with a few uneasy glances, by the sentries.

Essentially this book is made up of character interaction, stuff that wouldn’t be as entertaining to sort out during Book Four, which I anticipate to be at least mostly action and plot movement. David and Tamani’s power struggle is central, and even though there is a real plot sort of thing–who the eff is Yuki?–it takes backseat to what was previously the romantic subplot.

Still, while this book was mostly fluff, I can’t wait for the next. I read Illusions in about a day–two sittings between classes–and it’s hardly painful to get through. It leaves a couple big unanswered questions for Book Four to address, and with the relationship stuff mostly sorted, or at least stable, Aprilynne Pike will really be able to make Four a massively fast-paced, action-filled novel. So, three stars for Illusions, but an anticipated four or more its sequel!

Kat Alexander is a Figment Reviewer who (clearly) loves to read and comment. She’s active on a number of sites including NaNo, Fiction Press, and FanFiction under aneko24.

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