Title: Born of Illusion
Author: Teri Brown
Series: Born of Illusion #1
Publisher: Balzer & Brown
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Source/Format: Personal Library / Hardcover, 373 pages
Opening Sentence: “The hair on the back of my neck prickles even before I spot him rounding the corner ahead.”
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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?
Born of Illusion by Teri Brown has been very high on my TBR since I first heard about it. I don’t know why it took me so long to read it, especially because I had a copy at the ready. Alas. I read it and I LOVED it. And now I sort of have a book hangover. More accurately, I have a self-inflicted book hangover because I’m not ready to leave this book’s world.
I feel like Born of Illusion was written for me, because it has three things I just can’t say no to (and definitely can’t say no when they’re all added together).
- 1920’s setting
- HOUDINI! (lovelovelovelove)
I’m not going to lie. I didn’t need more than “Houdini” to make me want to read the book. I’m kind of in love with him and he provided a lot of my will to read it. But it was Anna’s life that kept me reading. I had so much fun reading Anna’s story. I wouldn’t say Born of Illusion has a particularly FUN plot, but it’s definitely fun to read. I’ve never read another book quite like this one. There was magic, Houdini, romance, betrayal, danger, Houdini…. Born of Illusion had so much to offer.
The story itself was actually very unexpected to me. I didn’t do more than skim the synopsis, so maybe that’s why, but I wasn’t expecting there to be so much danger. And not like “Oh, they’re going to steal our show!” (though there was that too), but I mean real danger. Anna had reason to fear for her life. I was so intrigued by how Brown weaved facts and history into the plot of this novel. Yes, it’s paranormal, but I never for one second believed that the events in this book COULDN’T have happened. It seemed so real.
I loved Anna’s character. She’s a very independent person not necessarily because her personality is like that, but because she has to be. I feel like Anna had so much to whine and cry about but she was very adult despite. She’s just one of those characters you want to root for. Her mother, however, was something of a… bitch. She was a bitch. Very self-centered and jealous, I wondered a lot of the time if I hated her or liked her. (I don’t like her, but I definitely understand her.) As for secondary characters… I really love, like, all of the characters in this novel. Some are good guys and some are bad, but they’re all dynamic and very interesting. I hope they continue as parts of the next installment.
I don’t know if I have one bad thing to say about Born of Illusion. I absolutely adored it—so much so that it’s officially one of my favorite books. If you like paranormal or historical fiction I definitely recommend you read this one. Even if you’re not sure you’ll like it I urge you to give it a try. It’s so worth the time.
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reviews from the rest of the series:
Born of Deception (#2)