Illusionary by Zoraida Cordova – A Review

Hi! It’s been a while. I’ve fallen into a creative slump, and then it was my birthday (I turned 28!) so this review is a few days late.

Illusionary by Zoraida Cordova
  • Publication date: May 11th 2021
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Genre: Fantasy

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 lofty goals: 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.

For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it’s her time to fight back.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Incendiary took me a while to get properly into and I really didn’t like Renata as a main character. I still enjoyed the book, especially some of the supporting characters and the world and magic system. After finishing it, I was looking forward to learning more about everything – I didn’t quite realise it was a duology. That being said, I think Illusionary wrapped up the story quite well, and it was a satisfying conclusion.

While the first book focused more on the rebellion and had Renata confused about her powers, alliances and love life, and therefore annoying, Illusionary focuses more on her character growth and the magic, which is definitely the strongest aspect of this series. It definitely made me like her more as a character – I think she grew into the person she was meant to be from the very first page, the powerful and badass woman, and she really realised where she belonged.
My favourites remain Leo and Castian, though. Honestly, if the story revolved around those 2 and Lady Nuria from the first book, I think those would easily be 5 star reads.

This book was fast paced and exciting. So much happened in this installment, but it didn’t feel rushed. We found out a lot about the world, how and why the rebellion started. It was a perfect mix of action, character development and back story. And it all led to a satisfying conclusion.

I really enjoyed Illusionary and I’m looking forward to picking up more by Zoraida Cordova in the future. I think, although YA fantasy has a lot to offer that is similar to this story in plot, this duology is definitely worth a read, as Cordova’s voice is distinctive and strong.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Will you be picking up this duology? Or have you read it already? What did you think?

Thank you for reading. Talk soon!