This might be the hardest review I've had to write so far in my reviewing "career". Illusion is book fourth of The Grimoire Saga, and I was both excited and sad to read this last book of the series. I've been following Kara, the main character, on her journey through the beautiful and dangerous world of Ourea since early 2012. After reading the first book, Lichgates (please ignore the very basic, dated layout for my reviews. It was one of my first.), I knew I was hooked, but with each book that came out I was drawn in more and more. This is hands down my favorite book series, and S.M. Boyce will stay on my top authors list for years to come. I have no doubt about that.
I could do a close review of this, but I fear saying too much about the plot and outcome. So much happens in this book to tie up the many loose ends that weave through this series. There is a long awaited epic battle, twists and turns, joy and dismay. This book has everything long time fans have felt the series building up to. To say that I'm pleased with the way the author ended things would be an understatement. It can't be easy to create a satisfying ending to an epic like The Grimoire Saga, but I felt it was the way it should all work out.
Boyce's writing continues to gain strength with each book, and Illusion is no exception. Her world of Ourea is just as complex and beautiful as when I first was thrown into it with Kara in the first book. Much of this book takes place in the Steleian Kingdom, a place we've only seen glimpses of before. I feel that even in the midst of the concluding battle, the kingdom was painted with a skill I've grown to admire. I also found it surprising when the story took on different character viewpoints. For most of this series, the chapters are from either Kara or Braeden's POV, with few exceptions. For reasons obvious to those reading the book, these two POVs would have limited a battle as big as what takes place in this book. What was the surprising part is that even with just a chapter or two from the POV of more minor characters (and more impressively from characters, the vagabonds, we know almost nothing about) the author was able to keep me in the story, develop that character in a short time, and get me invested in this part of the larger story. It was a change in style overall, but not a jarring or out-of-place change.
I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, and as a whole this series, but I'd rather leave it at what I've said already. I'm sad that the series is over. Happiness and sadness fell over me when I finished the last line, but isn't that what great books should do? There is a light at the end of the tunnel, as well. It's only about a year until fans of Ourea have to wait for a spin-off series The Ourean Chornicles. I'm looking forward to reading about some of my favorite characters in their own books.