Sunday, December 21, 2014

Illusions of Fate Review: Jessamin

I moved here from my island.
I am here to better my education.
But my skin marks me as an outsider.

This land is different than my village home.
The biggest difference is the hidden world of nobility.
It's filled with power, money, and magic.

I was unwillingly dragged into the secret world.
Now I am swept up in a dangerous game, as a pawn.
I am a man's weakness; I am a man's strength.

Fate brought me into this game.
Fate will not let me out.
But I will not let Fate rule me completely.

I will find a way to win this game.
To navigate through this new world.
I will not submit to Fate.

My name is Jessamin Olea.

Hi guys! Today, I'm Jessamin, from Illusions of Fate!

Book: Illusions of Fate
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Stand alone
Setting: Albion
POV: Jessamin, first person
Genre: YA fantasy, history
Categories: We Need Diverse Books

Reading: first time
Favorite line: "I refuse to be ruled, whether by those with bad intentions or those with good."
Rating: 4 stars

Such a powerful protagonist. Firstly, I love that Jessamin is not Caucasian. It is made very clear that she has darker skin than those in Albion, thus making her a target for discrimination. But Jessamin is able to rise above it, which is one of strengths in this book. It is an excellent demonstration of character and inner strength, and most importantly, of strong diverse characters. Add the fact that this is about a female protagonist, and you immediately get a strong feminist from a diverse culture. It's no secret that I approve of this, immensely.

Jessamin moves to Albion not because she's forced to, but because she knows that's the only way to better herself in education. She knows that by moving away to Albion, she will be subjected to discrimination for both race and money, but in the end, she knows that she'll become an even better person. Her resolve and conviction to learn as much as she can through tough times makes her very admirable. She doesn't let anything get her down, doesn't let anything sway her from her main purpose of being in a foreign country.

But that's not all she goes through. She finds herself dragged into the nobility world of magic, somewhere she never even began to dream of being. She is an outsider to this world, given that a) she's not nobility (she's not even from Albion to begin with) and b) she does not wield magic. She is as far from familiar as it gets, tangled up in a dangerous game she normally has no part of. Yet circumstances cause her to become involved, and Jessamin still is able to make the best of it, with merely her wits and determinism.

Jessamin demonstrates that just because you may not be rich, magical, powerful in name, or Caucasian, does not mean you should be underestimated. Jessamin is not weak, is not purely at the mercy of men and the people of the country she lives in. She is clever, smarter than the average Albion citizen, and able to work her way through the magical nobility world she finds herself in. "Weak" and "helpless" are not words used to describe Jessamin.

It's a nice change to finally see more diverse characters taking the spotlight. It's a good chance to see them being arguably better than a few Caucasian characters, to show that everyone of all cultures can be equally as awesome. Add that to the feminist theme you got going here, and it's amazing.

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