“The Illusions of Eventide” by Sarah M. Cradit
The Illusions of Eventide by Sarah M. Cradit is deep drama surrounding a Southern American family who is not entirely what they seem. Blessed (or cursed) with mystical gifts and a large estate they seem to have it all, but reluctant patriarch Nicolas is definitely not content with his lot in life, until he meets a strange woman named Mercy, and his whole life, as well as the lives of his family, change forever. Secrets are revealed that will change relationships and forge new ones and ultimately the Deschanel’s and the Empyreans will have to make some difficult choices.
This book by Sarah M. Cradit is captivating. Less fantastical and more centred around human dramas we meet the characters rather organically as they are slowly drawn into the world of Mercy, a mysterious woman on the run. Cradit does a lovely job of laying out the world her characters inhabit without giving you a history lesson in the process, difficult to do but here it works. The bonus is that if you want to learn more there are prequels and sequels aplenty.
I have to say that I don’t always read the authors notes at the beginning of their books, I have so many to read that I try and get to the meaty stuff as soon as possible, but in this case I did read it and I am so glad I did. Cradit has obviously taken a long time to build this world and the stories that populate it, and she makes sure you know where to go if you want to find more. For example, the relationship between two of the characters, Ana and Finn, are part of a prequel book in the series and give you the juicy details of events that are only alluded to in this book. Additionally, Cradit mentions that maps and genealogical documents for the characters are available as bonus material on her website, as adding them into eBook formats compromised the look of those files. Extras aside Cradit has clearly put a lot of work into this series and I think it pays off.
As I said it is rife with human drama, mostly centered around relationships, and while I love the melding of different genres I do have to say the extended exposition of some of the characters did sometimes strain my understanding of them at times. Especially in the case of the Nicolas, he would often go into long winded bouts of self-assessment about his feelings that you might think his entire persona is centered around his feelings. Occasionally some of his feelings are contradictory and the reader is left feeling confused about what THEY should be feeling as a result. In the end though this conflict within the character leads us to see him as the flawed three dimensional person the author intended, in stark contrast to the low life single minded person he tries to project himself as in the world.
Emotional exposition aside, the book is captivating, complicated and shows just how messy love can be, in all its forms. The sprinkling of fantasy elements only adds to this message, that no matter what kind of being you are emotions can be tough to translate. If you want a book that has some legs to it, then look no further than the Crimson & Clover series.
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