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Book Review-Cruel Illusions

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5 stars

RELEASE DATE November 1, 2022

Caraval meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this deliciously dark young adult fantasy about a girl who makes a deal with a magical secret society to enter a potentially deadly competition for the chance to avenge her mother’s death.

Ever since a vampire murdered her mother, Ava has been determined to get revenge. This all-encompassing drive has given her the fuel she needed to survive foster home after foster home.

But it’s been ten years since anyone’s seen a vampire, and Ava has lost hope that she’ll ever find one…until she stumbles across a hidden magic show where she witnesses impossible illusions. The magicians may not be the bloodsuckers she’s hunting, but Ava is convinced something supernatural is at play, so she sneaks backstage and catches them in acts they can’t explain.

But they’ve been waiting for her.

The magicians reveal they’re part of an ancient secret society with true magic, and Ava has the same power in her blood that they do. If she joins them, they promise to teach her the skills she needs to hunt vampires and avenge her mother. But there’s a catch: if she wants to keep the power they offer, she needs to prove she’s worthy of it. And to do so, she must put on the performance of her life in a sinister and dangerous competition where illusion and reality blur, and the stakes are deadly.


**I received an e-arc from Net Galley for an honest review**

I know they're comparing this book to Caraval but honestly, this was more like Hunger Games with all the violence and blood! I don't know why but I love these competition game stories. Then add in the magic and I'm sold!

Ava stumbles on a magic show where she meets magicians. As her parents were magicians, she knows all about how tricks and illusions are done, but these people are different and she can't figure out how they do their show. She meets their leader Xander who tells her they have real magic, are immortal, AND hunt vampires! (The magic building here is incredible, just fyi!) So they offer her a chance to be like them but she has to compete with other groups of magicians and they're apprentices.

The story has twists and turns and a love triangle, but don't let that stop you from reading it. I'm not one for love triangles but this one worked.

Anyway, if you love vampires, magic, and competition with high stakes, then this story is for you!

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