THE LIBRARY JOURNAL
Kennedy, Kathryne. The Lord of Illusion. Sourcebooks Casablanca. (Elven Lords, Bk. 3). Feb. 2012. c.448p. ISBN 9781402236549. pap. $7.99. HISTORICAL FANTASY
For years, the Rebellion has secretly fought to free England from the cruel tyranny of the mad elven lords. Now, half-elven Lord Drystan Hawkes has found the means to evict the elves and send them back to Elfhame, but he needs the help of the white witch of Ashton House, the multicolored elven-eyed woman of his visions and dreams and a slave in the court of Roden, the malicious lord of glamour and illusion. After saving Camille’s life, Drystan claims her as his “slave” and slowly wins her trust and eventually her love as they work to unlock the secret of the portal between the human and elven realms. VERDICT In an exquisitely imagined alternate 18th-century England in which startling magic and vivid illusion are the norm, well-matched protagonists and an engaging supporting cast (including a remarkable dragon) come together in an action-packed adventure that will appeal to both romance and fantasy fans and beautifully concludes Kennedy’s popular trilogy. Kennedy (The Lady of the Storm) lives in Glendale, AZ.
By Jessie Potts, USA TODAY
The Lord of Illusion is Kathryne Kennedy's conclusion to her best-selling Elven Lords trilogy. Kennedy uses magic, violence and romance to paint a picture of an alternative history of England. She writes of a land controlled by seven elven lords with scepters of power and great dragon steeds. Each of these lords (and ladies) rules a sovereign part of England. They have virtually enslaved the human race, and any child showing signs of becoming more powerful than their predecessors (you see, intermingling was bound to happen) are "sent to Elfhame," which is a euphemism for being put to death. Fear not, Kennedy gives readers and English citizens alike hope … for there is a rebellion brewing, and many half-breeds are starting to rise up against their great parents in hopes of winning the ultimate right: freedom.
Each book in the trilogy can be read as a stand-alone, but the interwoven story of rebellion and intrigue is so much deeper when read in order.
The Fire Lord's Lover, which started the series, is about Dominic Raikes and Lady Cassandra. Dominic is the Fire Lord's son and plays a game of cat and mouse with his father: He can never reveal just how powerful he is or he will be put to death instantly. An arranged marriage by his father leads him to Cassandra, a gentle woman with deadly secrets. She's been sent to take down both the Fire Lord and Dominic, to help the rebellion. Passion blooms between them, however, and they must learn to trust each other or the human race could be enslaved forever.
The Lady of the Storm is the second book and deals with the daughter of the Storm Lord. Unlike Dominic, Cecily doesn't want a rebellion. She knows her father is after her, but all she wants is a normal life and to be safe and happy with her adoptive mother and father. But the rebellion wants to use her as a rallying point. Giles Beaumont is supposed to protect her, but she makes it very clear that she doesn't want a protector. Feelings are never hidden for long, though, and Cecily and Giles both must figure out whether they're really better together or should remain acquaintances only.
In The Lord of Illusion, Drystan Hawkes is the adopted son of Lady Cecily and Giles. For 10 years the scepters the rebellion have stolen have been whispering to him, urging him to find a woman with rainbow-colored eyes then find and free the scepters. Others think he is mad, because he goes into "fits" when the pure elven artifacts are "speaking" to him.
Camille is on the other side of the country. She's been a slave for a long time, and Kennedy doesn't pull punches where that is concerned. While she doesn't go into graphic detail, we know that Camille has been raped many times by the soldiers and that she's managed to rise above her station twice, only to be shoved back down. The repeated abuse has damaged her emotional and psychological growth. Imagine not being able to trust anyone. Or imagine knowing that anyone who does something for you has an ulterior motive. That is no way to live, yet live she must.
When Camille and Drystan meet, it's not fireworks and roses. No matter how Drystan tries to sweep her away, Camille's been swept underfoot too many times not to see where this is going. Besides, the thought of a man's hands on her makes her want to pick up the nearest sword and start chopping off certain … extremities. They have to figure out whether they can trust each other, for the time to squash the rebellion has come.
Whew … Kennedy did really, really well with Camille's character. The reader pities Camille, but we also know she will bounce back stronger then ever. Drystan is the perfect match for her as he tries to discover if Camille can ever love him, and just what it means to be in love.
One of the best parts of this book: All of the characters from the previous two books are brought together in a final showdown. It's been years, so Dominic, Cassandra, Cecily and Giles are older and more experienced, yet it's as if the love is still fresh and new. Fans of previous books will love seeing all of our "old friends" again.
Another fantastic aspect of The Lord of Illusion: The romance was realistic. The two characters didn't meet, fall in love, decide they can't be without each other and then rise up against their opponents. They had to deal with intense trust issues, internal conflict and doubt. It makes it that much more sweeter when they get together.
Stay tuned to HEA for an upcoming interview with Kathryne Kennedy.
"A magical journey fraught with daring, danger, and dragons concludes this stunning trilogy."
Reviewed by Melissa Kammer
Posted February 13, 2012
Drystan Hawkes desires an adventure that will help aid the Rebellion in their quest to rid England of the elven lords. After all, he possessed enough elven blood with the potential for powerful magic that his parents feared for his life and sent him to Wales. However, that did not end all of his problems as the scepters chose to send him visions on how to open the door to Elfhame. While he dutifully catalogues documents and devours the Rebellion's history, he scours for any mention of his mystery woman. At long last his work has paid off, and only he is suited to rescue her from her predicament. He is quite ready to traipse through Dreamhame, where everything is illusion and nothing is at it seems to save her. Will he be able to find the woman in his visions? Will they be able to unravel the mystery regarding the key?
Camille Ashton cannot quite sever the bonds of her slavery. Every time she rises above her station, a horrible disaster occurs sending her back to the slave quarters. She has grown tired of waiting for another miracle, and knows that she can only trust herself to escape her miserable existence. When a man comes looking to save her, she is wary of strangers especially when illusion is the norm. However, she soon realizes that he is a man of his word, but she still remains cautious. After all, she is a slave with no magical abilities whatsoever, so she does not see how she can be important to opening the door to Elfhame. She does know that Drystan seems to hold the key to her heart, and she will do anything to rid England of their elven impressors. Will they succeed in their mission? Or will they risk their lives for naught?
Kathryne Kennedy works her magic weaving an incomparable delight and offering up a breathtaking finale. She takes readers to new heights as the Rebellion gathers their limited resources in preparation for the epic battle against the elven lords. Drystan lives and breathes the Rebellion, and growing up with their lore wishes to join their legendary ranks. Camille lives a solitary existence struggling to survive, and wishes beyond hope for a way out of slavery. Together, they are willing to risk everything for a chance to truly free humankind. With the combined rebel forces, they will unleash a power that hopefully will rid England once and for all of the elven influence. Ms. Kennedy paints a glorious landscape with her words, summons a battle with the elements, and imagines a love with no boundaries. THE LORD OF ILLUSION is a fantastic tale laden with adventure, romance, and suspense. I cannot wait to see what mischief and passion Ms. Kennedy will dream up next.