Fate does not choose the weak. Fate chooses the ready.
Calliope Rosewood is a witch with a long streak of bad luck. Like all witches in Illustros, her fate is directly tied to Witch’s Dice—powerful artifacts that have blessed her kind with limitless magic but also set them on a path toward destruction. Cursed with unspeakable powers that terrify even the most dangerous witches and fae, Calla deserted her coven four years ago and has been in hiding with her two best friends since. But Calla is also hiding a grave secret: She is only three Rolls away from becoming the last Blood Warrior and starting the Final War that will decimate her people and eradicate their magic.
After a betrayal from her ex leads her one step closer to fulfilling that age-old prophecy, Calla is desperate to do whatever it takes to reset her fate . . . even if that means journeying into the deadly Neverending Forest with said ex and his enticing, yet enigmatic older brother to find the one being who can help her forge her own path. As Calla ventures farther into the enchanted woods, she finds her heart torn between her past desires and the alluring new possibilities of her future and learns that choosing your own destiny may come with deadly consequences.
Can you outrun your fate? Calla sure hopes so. That’s what she’s been doing for the past four years to avoid becoming the last Blood Warrior, a person prophesied to start the Final War that will decimate her people and eradicate their magic. Through a series of unfortunate events that nearly results in her being sold at auction, Calla and her two best friends find themselves on a quest with her ex, his brother, and a couple of soldiers. In hopes of changing her fate as well as that of another character, the group enter the deadly Neverending Forest. Here, nothing is as it seems, and the forest is filled with dangerous creatures – and you don’t want to get on their wrong side if you value your life.
These characters. They’re messy, chaotic, competitive, overprotective – and I adored them. Even though only two are actually related, they all act like a large, dysfunctional family who have love/hate relationships with each other. You also may need a flowchart to keep up with their love lives – many are interconnected. Talk about weird dynamics. Despite all that, the bonds between them are strong even though some have only know each other a few days.
Illustros is a vibrant, colorful world inhabited by diverse people and magical beings that engaged me immediately. The plot is complex and full of action, surprising revelations, heartache, and humor. This is a remarkable debut, and the sequel is high on my list of anticipated reads.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.