Cruel Illusions Readalong: Day 3!

Gorgeous photo by @paperfury!

Hello fairies!

I hope that you’re all loving Cruel Illusions so far! It’s now day 3 and things are really getting interesting!

But before we start reading, we have our secret giveaway! What’s that? Oh, just a chance to get your next FairyLoot for free as a reward for reading! Doesn’t really get better than that! And your chances are so good too! We don’t really announce this anywhere else as we truly want the person from the readalong to win! If you’d like to try your luck, all you need to do is follow these steps!

  1. Take a photo of our edition of Cruel Illusions
  2. Include the hashtag #FairyIllusions (very important!)
  3. Do all of this by the end of February 2nd Mention down below in your comment that you have entered and include your Instagram handle (also super important!)

Good luck!

Today we’ll be reading from Chapter 14 to the end of Chapter 21, let’s jump in!

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston, from chapters 14 to 21. Please only read on if you’ve finished this section!


Roman takes time training Ava. It’s clear he’s annoyed at some of the circus-like tricks she’s picked up from Xander, like twirling her knives. It’s hard to tell at this point if Roman sincerely cares, or if he just wants to one up Xander. Either way though, it seems to be working. Willow admits she thought Roman was cute the first time she met him, but they’re more like siblings.

The next morning, Xander wants to know where she was. He’s weirdly pushy about it…

In between their training and their squabbling, Ava and Roman talk. She finds out he loved a vampire, that’s why he’s adamant that not every vampire is bad. I thought Ava and Roman were having a really sweet moment where he taught her to heal… until he stabbed her in the hand to make her learn again! Brutal!

They use a fake make-out session as a way to lure the vampires in. It’s not all fake though, he gently brushes her cheek and that feels real! Suddenly the vampire is there and her teeth are in Roman’s neck. Ava doesn’t do it though, she misses and Roman kills her instead. The other four behind Roman are a different story though. Roman tells her to run but she doesn’t. She tries to hold her own but Roman saves her just as a vampire has bitten her neck. She won’t leave him though and together they manage to take the rest down. And then, they’re having a real make out session!

It’s interrupted by another vampire, can these two not catch a break? Roman is quick to react and take the vampire down… but not with a stake. With his teeth, his own fangs.

Ava grabs her stake but she can’t do it. He begs her not to tell anyone. The vampire he loved turned him so they could live together forever, she died before anyone knew he’d changed. She tells him to leave and then she has to call Xander and ask him to pick her up. 

Officially part of Xander and Aristelle’s troupe, Xander amps up his flirting and he and Ava have their first kiss… but it doesn’t stop her thinking about Roman.

On an outing with the troupe, Ava spots Stacie with someone called Adam who used to bully Ava. I don’t like this… Well. First Roman, now Stacie and Adam, is EVERYONE a vampire??? They’ve been following Ava in the hopes of leading Numerius to their compound. Ava’s ‘last test’ (I thought she was already in?) is to kill Adam. She can’t do it, so Xander does it instead.

As part of the competition, the apprentices have all been placed in a maze. They have to find a way out. Ava manages to find Willow, at least two people working together have a better chance of escaping, right?

They escape the maze but it’s not over, there are 12 doors in front of them. Barry ignores Ava’s warnings not to use magic to force the doors open, and does it anyway. As soon as the door opens, an arrow sails from the dark and lands in Barry’s throat.

Did you guess about Roman or Stacie’s vampness? (is that a word? Let’s make it one!)
Who do you think will win the competition?
Any theories going forward? I’d love to know!

Things are getting SO intense and I can’t wait to see where tomorrow’s section will take us!

See you tomorrow for day four!


36 thoughts on “Cruel Illusions Readalong: Day 3!

  1. I am loving this book so much so far!
    I have entered with @saskiabooks

  2. I’m so excited how this book will go on….see ya’ll tomorrow at day 4 of the readalong!

    I’ve joined the readalong challenge with this Instagram account: bookish.sundays

  3. I’m am so confused about like everything that’s going on 😂 I’m not quite sure I like Roman being a vampire but I knew he had another secret. I also had a tiny suspicion of Stacie but not that she was in a big scheme.

    I entered the giveaway with @mellas.reading.habits

  4. Roman’s backstory adds layers to everything that I’m really excited about. The hurt happening between Willow & Ava is unfortunate but not unexpected seeing as how they decided to become friends despite being competitors 1st, but I’m hoping they can work through it somehow. Roman’s instant healing (Parker’s party & their joint performance) makes a lot more sense now, but WHAT?? Now she’s with Xander as a rebound/bandage? Her only friend turns out to be a vampire in league with the bully, & it’s somehow all a plot by Ground Zero vampire, Numerius? So, I guess they’ve been watching her for a while now. Roman changing the dress color has raised so many questions, too. Is Barry another casualty of this competition or will he pull through (pompous ass isn’t enough to warrant a death sentence), & will she be able to save Willow &/or being her with her through whichever door she opens with her desire to get out of there?
    Daily Q&A:
    1.) Did you guess about Roman or Stacie’s vampness? (is that a word? Let’s make it one!)
    2.) Who do you think will win the competition?
    3.) Any theories going forward? I’d love to know!
    1.) I had a suspicion about Stacie being “other” with the way she acted at the show & how she always seemed to have an affect on people to get what she wanted. Adam was barely on my radar since he was only briefly mentioned.
    2.) I’m rooting for Ava, obviously.
    3.) I’m not sure, but I’m ready to dive back in to find out. For now, I’m still Team Rowan since Xander is more “Fairy Tale” & also leaning into the blindly fanatical revenge troupe whereas she sees that some stuff doesn’t quite add up. I’m going everything gets wrapped up at the end because there’s still so much I’m dying to know.
    *I’ve already posted my #FairyIllusions photo under @TupaKitty_Reads 🤞🏼🤞🏼*

  5. I was getting a strange vibe from Roman, but I don’t think I had suspected him as a vampire. Stacie, however, was totally out of left field. Nowhere in the start of the book was it hinted that she was doing a long con as Ava’s friend.

    Who do you think will win the competition? Lol, not Barry obviously. I don’t think Ava’s going to win. Maybe Willow? My theory going forward is that Ava’s going to lose the competition or get disqualified somehow, but she’ll find her mom’s immortality jewel and be able to use that.

    I also entered the giveaway on my account @giggenbach.reads

  6. Loving this book so far and knew there was something up with Roman! 😉

    I have entered the readalong challengewith @doriforvictory

  7. I had no clue about Stacie’s but had a small inkling about Romans. Still was shocking.
    I really hope Ava wins this. But I don’t want to choose between Ava and Willow. They are but awesome.
    You were right yesterday, this section will be even more intense.
    I will be posting from @abookiesbooks

  8. Not to be that person, but I called it! Roman had to be a vampire, and he had to make Ava question her blind hatred. Still don’t trust Xander, by the way. Or Lucius, but I think that’s by design.
    As for winning the competition… Probably Ava, but I think she’ll step down and Willow will get it instead. God forbid it’s Ethan. He’s been nothing but annoying. Still, I’d like to see Willow get a bit of a backbone.
    As for theories, we all know that Numerius will show up and wreak havoc, yeah? Stacie will also show up again for sure, maybe be used as bait. More competitors will die since it’s clearly been hinted that many apprentices don’t actually go back to training. And their blood is probably being harnessed by Lucius. (Has any character named Lucius ever not been slimy? Enquiring minds want to know.)

    I’ve also joined the readalong challenge! Here’s the account: @tired.tiger.tales

  9. Knew Roman was a vamp but was definitely surprised by Stacie!
    I want Ava to destroy the entire competition so that they all win 💪

  10. So I guessed Roman and his vampness but I didn’t pick Stacie!! I thought Stacie would just disappear into the ether like so many childhood friends do.
    Surely Ava has to win the competition…but then I think she’ll learn a few things as she goes that makes her not want to take the winnings and she’ll give it to someone else? Or maybe dissolve the magicians guild completely? Who knows…

    I’ll join the readalong challenge, my insta account is @mirlyah

  11. So I was right to not trust Stacie. Also was right about Roman being a vampire but not an evil one. And Numerius has been aware of Ava for several years, sent Adam and Stacie after after her but not to kill her. What exactly is the story there. Her dad is definitely dead right? Numerius definitely isn’t Ava’s dad right? Right?

    I don’t dislike Xander but I definitely prefer Ava with Roman despite his vampness.

    I will post my readalong photo to my IG Jenthebookishbakernz

  12. I’ve entered @enchantedliterary ☺️🌹

    I guessed about Roman but not at all about Stacie! Just a general theory that Lucius is also a vampire from all the blood he’s feeding off of through the rose vines. I think Aristelle and Xander are into each other but that’s okay because Ava likes Roman anyway. I don’t think her troupe is the family she thinks they are, and I really want for Willow to be her real friend.

    1. Roman and Stacie are vampires? What the heck, I did not see that coming! Though they are on opposite sides of being a vampire.
      I just started liking Ava but then, she went and kissed Xander after kissing Roman, and learning the truth about him. Who do you really like, make up your mind, girl! And so, seems like Ava and Xander are together now. But, Xander and Aristelle are still hiding something from Ava, I still don’t fully trust Xander.

      The actual compretition just started where Barry was shot. Is he dead? Probably. Oh my, scary and exciting!

      I still think Ava will win the competition, but will not join the Society.
      And, I’m still team Roman!

      Just posted my photo, my ig handle is @theslowbookworm

  13. I suspected Roman in the begining but than forgot about it because I was to cought up with them being un item becuse he was so worried about her that it totaly surprised me hehe. But Stacey had no clue at first I tought she had magic too

    Poor Ava I would be freaked out two if I had to kill somebody that I knew I mean kill somebody on instict to save someone is different

    I hope Ava wins just to prove sje is a badass but dont know becausr tjis competition is starting to get firce and dangerous yikes

    I used to have teties but now I am all out hehe cant wait whst hapoens next and who she will and up eith Roman or Xander I kinda want her to be with both hehe

    1. ps. entering the competition and my intagram handle is db.lovesbooks

  14. I’m v curious which boy will be the “choice” in the end. I’ve entered and @delaneyreads is my handle. (:

  15. 1) I figured *someone* was going to end up being a vampire and Roman seemed like a likely candidate. Stacie was a shock though!

    2) I’m assuming Ava, which how trope-y this book is going. It would be a cool twist if she didn’t win and still insisted on involving herself though, because you know our girl don’t quit.

    3) I’m really intrigued how closely magic and vampirism seem to be to each other. It feels like a very fine line and it’s getting harder to tell who the “good” guys are.

    1. Also will be entering the giveaway as @sonata_ix

  16. I’m definitely behind in the reading, but really enjoying this book!! I’ve entered and my IG is @kaaty.reads

  17. 1. I did guess Stacie was a vampire! She seemed a bit to sketchy to me in the beginning haha. Roman did came as quite a shock! I wasn’t really surprised he loved a vampire, but it was finding out he had been turned by her!
    2. I think Ava will make it to the final, but it seems a bit to convenient and like to much luck for her to win. I actually think the girl who Ethan said was the best or Ethan himself will win and Ava will either go on the run before being made forgot or find another way to become immortal (which I think will happen because she gets her mothers necklace and becomes immortal like that)
    3. Ava will find her mothers necklace and becomes immortal like that. The Society will find out Roman is a vampire, probably around the final of the competition, which will make him run. She’ll find her mothers killer as well, which I still think is Numerius and she’ll probably find out more about her mothers past with the society.

    I have entered the challenge via my Bookstagram account @lisashelves

  18. I honestly found them being vamps a bit predictable for my taste. Still not really enjoying this, but at least the book is looking stunning on my shelves. I’ve also entered the competition and my handle is @Kratist0

  19. Entered! My IG handle is @jayjay_pjkw and this readalong has been amazing!

  20. Did you guess about Roman or Stacie’s vampness? (is that a word? Let’s make it one!)
    Who do you think will win the competition?
    Any theories going forward? I’d love to know!

    I did not expect Roman to be a vampire however I still like him more than Xander.

    I have no theories with the completion other than I think Willow will die.

    I will say I was really really struggling getting through this section. I’m not sure why. But I’m going to keep pushing through!

    I did post and my handle is mangapenguin

  21. Did you guess about Roman or Stacie’s vampness? (is that a word? Let’s make it one!)
    Who do you think will win the competition?
    Any theories going forward? I’d love to know!

    I did not expect Roman to be a vampire however I still like him more than Xander.

    I have no theories with the completion other than I think Willow will die.

    I will say I was really really struggling getting through this section. I’m not sure why. But I’m going to keep pushing through! I will say the last few chapters were interesting so hopefully this book is about to get wild.

    I did post and my handle is mangapenguin

  22. Roman was not a surprise at all, saw his vampness a mile away! I like how this challenges Ava view of the world though, and makes her question her own desires and moral code. Very much needed as she is able to grow from here, whereas she may never have thought differently if she was only around Xander and her troupe and their views.
    Stacie however, I was blindsided by. It wasn’t super shocking, just mainly sad. Ava thought she had a friend but it was just somebody else using her (just like her troupe I suspect).

    I have no doubt Ava will win the competition, however, I really hope Willow makes it out alive. It seems unclear if apprentices are dying at this point, but the competition is definitely more dangerous than Xander let on.

    Going forward, I think Roman has another secret, Xander and the troupe aren’t who they say they are/pretend to be, and I suspect the man she believes to be her dad will not be her father. I’m excited to find out more about her mum though, I’ve got no clue where that plot point is going!

  23. Haven’t caught up with these pages but so excited to and to read everyone else’s thoughts ✨️

    🗝I have entered @Kirascosy_reads

  24. This book is good so far! I entered the readalong on instagram at stardancer2014

  25. I was shocked that Roman was a vampire! Never saw it coming! I wonder if anyone else it a vampire and we don’t know it.
    The competition is okay so far, it could be more exciting. But that cliffhanger at the end was something.
    Have no predictions so far.
    I have entered the contest. My handle is seaofworlds

  26. Entered!! @lowcountrybookdragon

  27. Still catching up on the reading, but I have posted with the tag! My IG is @lowcountrybookdragon

  28. I have entered!

    My handle is falling_through_the_pages 🙂

  29. I have entered instagram handle @michi_outandabout

    I suspected roman tbh but totally blanked when it came to stacie being a vampire.
    I hope there will be no real winner/they break the system and that ava finds a way to get out. Because I still think people get killed not just brainwashed if they drop out. And I do suspect that that boss guy lucius(?) Is in fact a real bady too…
    And xander has alternate motives he is not telling for sure…. I just wait for it to implode haha

  30. I have entered under instagram handle @evic.lit

    I definitely suspected Roman to be a vampire – all the hints were there but I did not see Stacie being one coming – however it isn’t surprising?

    There is definitely fishy stuff happening with this competition and I don’t think anyone gets to go home from this…

    I am worried for Willow – it seems like Ava is going to win and I don’t want her to die.

  31. Entered, my instagram handle is @_bookishlovernicho

  32. I entered the giveaway!


  33. I honestly didn’t expect Roman to be a vampire! Sure he was a bit suspicious from the beginning, but I thought of everything else but not that 😂.
    I hope Ava wins the contest, though I feel bad for Willow.

    I joined the readalong challenge with luminas.books

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