Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova
Illusionary is the sequel to Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova, this review might contain spoilers for the first book in the series.
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I was sent a copy of this novel by the publishers to review, however this has no bearing on my rating or review.
Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by a lofty goal: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.
With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren-the Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics-and her mind-to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.
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Illusionary is the epic conclusion to the fast paced Hollow Crown duology, the story continues to unfold with plenty of surprises and action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat! The sequel begins a couple of weeks following the events of Incendiary and I was delighted to re-immerse myself in the rich world of Puerto Leones that the author has created. Illusionary introduces us to a wealth of new characters and builds on the already incredible world building.
This novel, similarly to the first book, focuses on Renata and her previous trauma as someone who was used as a weapon by the kingdom. Renata began to question her past and confront her trauma in Incendiary, and in the sequel she continues on her journey of self-discovery. She is definitely one of the most complex fantasy characters I have ever read, she is plagued by her past deeds and how she is viewed as a villain by many people while attempting to be the kingdom’s saviour.
Illusionary features many more personal scenes for Renata as well as Castian, scenes of quiet contemplation rather than high stakes action at all times which was refreshing and built up tension perfectly. Renata and Castian both bonded over their shared pasts, as their characters can both be viewed as villains or saviours. Their backstory is revealed very slowly over the length of the novel in short flashbacks and memories, creating a deeper connection between the reader and the main characters.
With magical weapons, corrupt kings, desolate rebels and a dash of romance, Illusionary is the perfect conclusion to an incredible duology. Incendiary was one of my favourite fantasy novels of 2020, and Illusionary has definitely stolen the spotlight for 2021. I do believe this brilliantly creative series deserves a lot more hype and a much bigger readership, if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, then I highly recommend doing so!
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