Through Illusion and Deceit
by Stacey Jones & Harper Wylde
When I read Within Obsession and Lies in January I didn’t realize the hold this story, characters, and world, would have over me. I’ve found myself reading other books and wondering what these characters are up to, wondering how Arawyn’s powers are progressing, and who or what her Fated harem has been hunting.
Through Illusions and Deceit picks up right where book 1 left off. Arawyn is still coming to terms with who she is (the true Queen of Faery) and the power that has been brewing just below the surface all her life. To say I ate this book up would be a massive understatement. I read it in one day, and wished I could stay with these characters longer. I’m so excited for the full series to be released so I can go back and binge this story over and over, like I do now with ACOTAR.
This book won’t be every reader’s cup of tea. The first book had a lot to accomplish. We were introduced to a new magic system, world building, and character backgrounds. There was a lot of action in the plot as well as movement as we were introduced to new locations. In this book we get to see more of their day-to-day lives of training, eating, lounging around together, and we watch as they become more and more intimately acquainted with one another.
The writing in this story, specifically the depictions of the physical fae traits and violent action sequences, are disturbingly good. The violent scenes were so graphic and gruesome I found myself feeling physically ill at times. While the depictions of Arawyn’s mates without their glamor was incredibly vivid and awe inspiring, which is exactly how I’d imagine Arawyn felt seeing it firsthand.
If I had read this story a few years ago, I don’t think I would like it as much as I do now. I have a very firm moral compass that doesn’t disintegrate or turn off just because I’m reading a work of fiction. In the past, it would have been hard to come to terms with some of the major bombshell twists that occurred towards the end of this novel. Instead I found myself grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of what is to come.
What has changed? I honestly don’t know. I think exploring the genre of reverse harem, and finding authors who can accomplish this trope without jealousy or red flags, has been a complete game changer. While I know this series won’t be for everyone, it’s definitely one of my current favorites.
TRIGGER WARNINGS: this book has some major TW. Please read with caution.
Graphic flashback to a sexual assault // graphic violence & injuries // graphic mass murder