Saturday 6 July 2024

Book Review: Illusion of Stars by Sarah Marie Page (Fantasy Romance)

Illusion of Stars
Sarah Marie Page
Shadow Forge Publishing
16 July 2024
eBook - PDF
Fantasy Romance
ARC via NetGalley

She's stealing more than secrets.

As the royal physician of a tiny, windswept island, Isabel spends her days trying to keep the queen from dying and the mad king from streaking naked down the halls. But when her best friend is found murdered on the beaches, her world is ripped apart. Desperate for answers, she discovers a stash of letters that reveal a terrifying truth: the neighboring kingdom of Volgaard possesses a kingdom-shattering weapon and is poised to conquer everything in its path.

Seeking vengeance, Isabel infiltrates the enemy. Her mission? Woo Erik Lothgarson, the general’s steamy, illusion-magic wielding son, and steal the dangerous weapon. She can bring Volgaard to its knees—if she isn’t caught.

But as Isabel dances along the knife edge of deception, the lines between truth and fiction blur, and she must wrestle her quest for vengeance against her undeniable attraction to the enemy.

Illusion of Stars was a book I struggled with. The premise sounded interesting, but it didn't quite hit the mark for me. I found the prose style somewhat distracting with its constant descriptions and similes, and that pulled me out of the story in every chapter. I am usually all about the tropes, but here I found them a bit annoying as I was so tuned in to what was going to happen ahead of time that it took any excitement out of the story. I never connected with Isabel as the lead female character; I just couldn't get behind her. But on the plus side, I thought the development of the romance part of the story worked well and avoided the insta-love trap so much romantasy falls into. I would add as a disclaimer that my view of the book could also have been coloured a little by my reading experience. I received the book as an eBook ARC and, while it downloaded fine to my computer, it crashed my e-reader when I tried to add it on there, so I was forced to read a chapter or two here and there when I was on the PC, rather than settled in my usual reading routine. I even went out and bought a new e-reader, as mine was over ten years old and I thought it perhaps couldn't cope with newer formatting (since this was now the second file I'd had such an issue with), but even the new e-reader failed to accept it. In conclusion, this book had some positive points, but overall it wasn't for me. That's not to say, though, that other readers won't enjoy it, as I can see it also has many positive reviews online. If you are a romantasy fan, check it out and see for yourself. I am giving it three stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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