Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Born of Illusion (Born of Illusion, #1)Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Publisher: Balzar & Bray
Published: June 11, 2013
Anna Van Housen has a secret.

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna’s powers intensify, she begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, and the temptations of Jazz Age New York—and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny

My thoughts:
Born of Illusion is definitely not your typical book and while I do have a few problems with it I certainly did like it.  I don't think it will leave a lasting impression on me but it was quick read that kept me interested enough to want to read a sequel if there will be one.

Anna is a magician and I loved this. She can get out of handcuffs, create amazing illusions, and trick just about anyone with her skills.  It kind of helps that Harry Houdini is her father, well so he mother says anyway.  Anna along with her mother have lived a very strange life always on the run always trying to make ends meet and always trying to find their next stage.  They are both performers the only difference between them is that Anna actually has an extra sense about her, she isn't a fraud.  Anna has been having visions since she was little and she can sense how a person is feeling by merely touching them.  No one knows she can do this not even her mother for she knows that if people knew she would turn into a one person side show. When she starts having stronger visions and her mother ups their performances everything changes and Anna is caught between trying to saver her insane mother and trying to create a life for herself.

This book really was a lot of fun. I enjoyed reading about all the magic tricks and it really brought something new at least to my bookshelves.  I haven't ever read anything like this before.  I think the part with the magic was my favorite and because of that alone I would definitely pick up a sequel if one is planned.  I know I should know if this is a series, but I sometimes like going in not knowing and honestly 9 times out of 10 it will be a series.  Anyway though this was fun and I did enjoy the characters for the most part.  The romance was a little on the side which is nice, but I think with this one it could have been a little more in your face.  I'm not a fan of love triangles and there is a small one here, but it wasn't enough of one to really turn me off.  I think since the book was old fashioned and set in a different time probably influenced the amount of romance, but personally I would have liked to have seem more development in that area.

The one big thing that bothered me though with this story was that it felt too crowded.  We have a storyline that deals with jealousy between Anna and her mother, the whole Harry Houdini segment, her abilities are another string, and not to mention the romance, crazy cult type organization, and interesting neighbor downstairs.  See what I mean crowded! Nothing really connected either.  I would have preferred for the story to have taken 2 maybe 3 of these points and just dealt with them.  The drama between Anna and her mother was enough in my opinion to give the story a good arc and then through in Houdini and done!  I really don't think the added mystery and her visions were needed.

Also throughout this book we hear Anna's voice and while I did like it I got so tired of her endlessly asking herself questions.  I know I read the same question at least 20 times and the answer wasn't given until the very end.  Instead of asking herself all these questions I wanted her to go out and find the answers!

The ending is pretty easy to figure out if you take in all the clues.  I was surprised by one thing, but I had the villain picked out from the beginning.  This didn't ruin the story for me since my focus really wasn't on that part of the story.

So yes for the most part I did enjoy this story, it has magic and all kinds of fun tricks throughout and even with my problems I still liked Anna enough to want to read more. I will definitely keep my eye out for a sequel.

3.5 Snowflakes


  1. I can understand that it felt crowded! Some books are boring because nothing happens, some books are to chaotic because there are too many things going on. I like the whole magician concept, so that might be enough to give this book a shot. Great review :)