Stunning photo by @thecrazyreader!
Welcome back to day 4 of our readalong of Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston! Things are getting tense, and with two sections to go I have a feeling these chapters will be full of drama!
Today we’re reading from Chapter 22 to the end of Chapter 29.
Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston, from chapters 22 to 29. Please only read on if you’ve finished this section!
Barry’s dead, Lucy’s sobbing. This section isn’t off to the best of starts is it?!
Ava’s trying to convince herself it’s an illusion, she knows she has to open the doors, or they’ll never get out. They have to walk over coal, but they make it through. You’d think that’s enough for this challenge, but nope, still more!
There’s only three of them, and they need four people to saw this lovely lady in half. Ethan, of all people, shows up and together they do it.
So, Ava is part of the final four. She’s not satisfied though, she demands to know what happened to the others. Lucius tells her they go home… but he doesn’t sound too convincing?
No one is giving Ava answers, but it won’t stop her trying to find them. Next, she asks Roman if he changed her dress. She doesn’t really get an answer from him either.
She might not be getting answers, but she is getting closer to finding out what is actually happening. Nadine’s friend was an apprentice last year. She lost but she never went home, she even saw her troupe, without her. The failed apprentices don’t seem to be leaving like everyone would have them believe.
More secrets come out, Roman didn’t change her dress, Willow did. She was jealous of the training Roman was giving her.
When Ava goes searching through the house for what she thinks she wants most, her mother, her desires keep taking her to Roman’s door. Interesting.
He took the blame for the dress because he thought it would hurt Ava more to find out Willow had done it. Oddly sweet.
At the next competition, Roman orders Ava not to clap for Willow, and he doesn’t clap either. In a heated moment, Xander catches them together! Uh ohhhh.
There’s not much time to discuss it though, Ethan is up next and he wants a volunteer, and he wants it to be Ava. The performance goes awry quickly though, and Ava somehow ends up shooting Ethan. I mean… I’m not mad?
What I AM mad at, is Ethan taking the opportunity to STAB Ava. On stage no less, as if it’s all part of the show. Xander and Roman are at her side in a heartbeat. They can’t heal her though, Lucius is blocking it. Xander and Roman bargain with him and Lucius heals her himself.
When she comes around, she finds out Xander AND Roman have both gone after Ethan. When she finds them, she tells Lucius she doesn’t want Ethan to be punished. Whilst I have a lot of respect for that, I’m way too bitter. PUNISH HIMMMM!
Ava has a theory that if Roman is with her, the magic will stop sending her to his door and she can find out more about her mother. I’m not sure Ava realises what she’s letting onto, but Roman does, he’s quick to understand that maybe her subconscious does want to see him and that’s why the house was taking her to his door. This time, the magic takes her to a hallway filled with photos. Lucius and her mother were together. When Roman sees the pictures he tells Ava her mother was the first magician, the one who discovered she could move the balls with her mind.
The next time Ava performs, the difference between Xander and Roman is really apparent. When she looks at Xander in the audience, he’s shaking his head silently telling her to give up her trick, when she looks at Roman, there’s a fire in his eyes that gives her the push she needs to pull the trick off.
After her performance she confronts Lucius and the result is not what she expected. Lucius, is her father. Not only that, her troupe have known exactly who she is all along.
When Roman and Ava go looking for Xander, they don’t expect to find this. Xander, pressing Aristelle against the wall, face buried in her neck and Aristelle promising him it won’t be for much longer.
Everyone has lied to her. Even Roman had a feeling this was going on. At least he didn’t know who Ava really is.
It’s time for an apprentice to be eliminated and I’m very sad that it’s Willow and not Ethan.
Secrets are starting to unravel. Ava thinks Lucius killed her mother and Roman shows Ava what really happens to the apprentices. They never went home. They lie amongst vines, piercing into their skin, their blood feeding the magic around them.
Did you see any of the twists coming?
Do you think Ava will leave and escape or stay and fight?
What do you think the future holds for Ava and Roman?
My head is SPINNING after this section! SO much betrayal, SO many twists!
I can’t wait to see where tomorrow’s final section will bring us. See you there!
15 thoughts on “Cruel Illusions Readalong: Day 4!”
1. HOLY SHIT DAMN I DID NOT! While the fact that her mother is ancient and the first to discover magic is kinda logical, Lucius being her father… mind blown! The troupe betraying her and having known all along… well damn! I also had a suspicion the failed apprentices weren’t just send back with their memory wiped, but what truly happens to them is just heart breaking T_T
2. She’ll fight, especially with the protection spell being broken and Nadine still insight and Willow somewhere. She’ll go back for them and to save them and for Roman if he doesn’t stay with her. If those weren’t in the mansion she would’ve run haha.
3. Fighting, running, romance hahaha
I can’t wait to finish this book! Honestly, it is so good!
Wow, this book took a sudden dive into horror and gore. Wasn’t expecting that but it does make it so much more interesting!
I was right her father was alive! Not necessarily the father I anticipated, but I’ll take the win. Didn’t see any of the other stuff coming though.
Oh she’s totally going to stay and fight. I have a bad feeling she’ll find out what happens to the other failed contestants and that will send her over the edge. I hope she’s able to change things.
And I don’t know about what the future will hold for them. I don’t think Ava will let Roman turn her into a vampire, but maybe they’ll start their own faction to help good vampires.
I didn’t see any of the twists coming but they also make so much sense. That is what makes a good book!
Ava is definitely going to stay and fight. She has already lost the one person she cares about the most in the competition.
I hope Ava and Roman can save Willow and the other apprentices. I’m scared that Romans vampire secret is going to be revealed to everyone and they are going to be attacked.
I knew the troupe knew who she was didnt connect it with Lucius but it makes sance now at the testing when Xandar said you know she can do magic gees this twist was good.
I had a feeling that they werent sending them home but to see what really happens to them thid Lucius fella in serieosly crazy and did he really kill her moter or did he just ordered to ger her things somehow dont know
I think Ava will stay and fight and try to safe Willow somehow and Naydine
uuuh I hope they end up tohether he seem so to really cake about her I mean he tore roses off with her
Am gonna finish this book right now cant wait to see what happens and what Ava will do
WHAT?? Lucius is her sperm-donor, her mom’s ancient, her troupe’s in on everything & lying to her (I *knew* Xander was a red flag!), Lucius killed her mom & feeds failed apprentices to his garden of death – while Willow was just eliminated, & she’s all wrapped up in this. I’m dying to finish the book to see how everything finally gets wrapped up, but I’m trying to hold out until the questions get posted, so I can answer them 1st! 😫
1.) Did you see any of the twists coming?
2.) Do you think Ava will leave and escape or stay and fight?
3.) What do you think the future holds for Ava and Roman?
1.) Xander (& the troupe as a whole) not being honest which ends up hurting her & that everyone was lying about the apprentices. The rest, though, I was thrown for a loop.
2.) Stay & fight because Willow is doomed to that garden of death now, Nadine is still there & deserves to both get out alive as well as finally learn the truth about her friend, & she can’t very well have the Society hunting her while she goes back to Parker (it’s not like she can expect him to be on the run with her now that he has Deb & Jacob).
3.) I hope they can turn the Society into what her mom was hoping instead of the twisted thing it became under Lucius. It would be nice to see them together, but I’m not sure how that would work unless she became immortal, too (not that she was unwilling to be immortal so long as she could find a way to still see Parker, but I wonder if she’d be willing to be a VAMPIRE because it seems like the magician’s immortality is too high a price after all).
Finally! I can finish the book now.
After that first ritual where the troupes give up their blood to the house, I had an inkling that the apprentices were just pigs for slaughter and that their blood/magic was being syphoned by Lucius, especially considering every troupe is forced to bring one apprentice under threat of separation. When Barry was literally absorbed by the house, I was sure.
As for Lucius, I didn’t exactly see it coming that he was the dad, but I suspected he was into Ava’s mom. And Cassia? That name screams ancient Rome. So yes.
Aristelle and Xander were also a tad obvious, given Ari’s reactions. I still like her better than Xander and I’m sorry we didn’t spend more time with her. And I was wondering if they’d been sent to find Ava since Stacie and Adam were too (and Xander knew her name), or if Ava had been the former apprentice that Roman had spooked and that was why he was immediately drawn to her.
Willow better not be dead or I’m throwing hands. 😤 Ava will fight, I think. But we only have 100 pages left and I’m worried how it’ll all come together now.
I knew there was more to Ava’s mother than we initially knew but in wasn’t expecting her to be the first Magician… I am sad that by trying to protect Ava from the Magician world she inadvertently made her wholly unprepared for it.
I am glad that Roman has just been a steady presence for Ava this whole time, and Xander was always going to be too good to be true.
I hope Roman, Ava and Nadine can free the failed apprentices and that the apprentices themselves are whole and able to return to their lives.
Ava is definitely going to stay and fight.
I don’t reckon she’ll let Roman turn her, but I also wonder if they’ll find a way to turn vampires back into human?
I’m not surprised about the apprentices.
I didn’t guess that Xander and Aristelle are together though I am not at all surprised. Xander and Ava’s relationship felt very bland to me. He seems all flash and no substance.
I was expecting Ava to be the daughter of Numerius but not reallt surprised that it’s Lucius now that we know he was with Ava’s mother & that they were both ancient. I keep imaging Lucius as Jason Isaacs in a pale wig.
Not at all surprised that Aristelle’s troupe knew all along who Ava was. I wasn’t feeling the whole found family trope that Ava was feeling & like Roman I wanted her to RUN.
I hope that Ava will be able to break the apprentices out of creepy blood garden & end Lucius creepy rule as he really is as bad of not worse than a vampire.
Sadly I don’t expect Roman to survive the end of the book. I think he’s going to sacrifice himself for Ava.
Knowing Ava, she’ll stay and try to end the Society, with Roman’s help of course.
I guessed what was going on with the failed apprentices during the tithing ceremony and it’s just sad to be confirmed… poor Willow, life did not bend to her will. 🥺
I hope Ava and Roman stays together after they defeat all the villains. Maybe they’ll ask for help from friendly vampires?
So, that’s what Xander and Aristelle was hiding from Ava, that they knew about her being Lucius daughter all along. And I’m so mad at these two, I never like Xander for Ava, but him stringing Ava along for their selfish reasons, I’m so mad.
And everyone is lying to Ava, this girl cannot take a breath!
1. I did not see these twists coming! I was sure Ava’s father is not dead. Well, it turns out he isn’t, as Lucius is her father! The most shocking reveal to me was the garden. I knew failed apprentices did not go back to their old lives. But their blood being sucked to feed magic to the mansion, what!! The rules of the game is so sick. If they don’t bring an apprentice, then the oldest member of the troupe will be the sacrifice to the garden. SOOO twisted!
2. Ava will stay and fight and win the competition. Of course, she will win.
3. I’m sure Ava abd Roman will be end game. I’m 100% sure of that.
Gotta finish the last chapters!
1) Not at all surprised about Lucius being her dad. Not at all surprised the apprentices don’t make it home. WAS surprised about Xander and the troupe playing her…I figured they were up to something but it was WAY MORE than I would have guessed.
2) I think she would have left but now that she’s seen that garden…I think the only option is to take them all down.
3) Probably something tragic.
I really don’t appreciate the way this fell into horror. Magic? Yes. Vampires? Fine. Hunger Games-esque competition? If we must. So I expected some violence and gore, but is all just…a lot. I’m not enjoying it. Very different from what I’ve come to expect from a FairyLoot pick.
The most shocking betrayal for me was Roman’s betrayal of Willow. I know he had to chose either Ava or Willow, but wow! He and Willow had been training together for something like 10 months and then he betrays her for Ava (who he’s known for like 2 weeks), knowing what will happen to Willow if she loses the competition. Willow has been nothing but nice, caring, and supportive of everyone around her (most of the time), she deserved better.
Ava’s troupe knowing who she was and Xander faking interest in her did not surprise me one bit, however it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any kind of redemption arc in store for them after blatantly taking advantage of her.
Now that she’s seen what’s happened to the other apprentices and found out about Lucius and her mother, surely she’ll stay and fight.
I’m curious to see what happens to Ava and Roman though. I can see them ending up together but I’m curious how. I can’t imagine Ava will want to be a vampire or an immortal after her discovery of the garden.
Did you see any of the twists coming?
Do you think Ava will leave and escape or stay and fight?
What do you think the future holds for Ava and Roman?
1. I knew something was off with Xavier and not to trust him. That’s all I knew though.
2. I think she will stay and fight. She’s going to take the system down if she can. The anger of the lies and betrayal are going to fuel her.
3. I am not sure if they are going to be friends or more then. However, these two now have a deep bond.
It was clear that lucius is a bad one from the start. But I do like the garden twist. It’s dark and original. As it says win… or die on the bookcover it was kind of clear that we were in for some dead apprentices. No surprise there.
I do hope ava stays and beats lucius somehow. Turn this society into something good or if all fails burns it down.
And that roman and ava find anway to make vampires(the good ones at least) and magicians work together…. I probably won’t sleep tonight and read instead just to find out.
I’m loving this book so much. I’m curious to see what happens to Ava and Roman. I can see them ending up together but I’m curious to see how they’re going to make it. I can’t imagine Ava will want to be a vampire or an immortal after her discovery of the garden.