This is a review for the second book in the Born of Illusion series. So if you haven’t read the first, you might be spoiled. I suggest reading the first book and then coming back. 👍
Title: Born of Deception
Author: Teri Brown
Series: Born of Illusion #2
Publisher: Balzer & Brown
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 326 pages
Opening Sentence: “A circle of children surround me, their bright faces turned upward, as if eagerly awaiting the cascading lights of a fireworks show.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon
Budding illusionist Anna Van Housen is on top of the world: after scoring a spot on a prestigious European vaudeville tour, she has moved to London to chase her dream and to join an underground society for people like her with psychic abilities. Along with her handsome beau, Cole Archer, Anna is prepared to take the city by storm.
But when Anna arrives in London, she finds the group in turmoil. Sensitives are disappearing and, without a suspect, the group’s members are turning on one another. Could the kidnapper be someone within the society itself—or has the nefarious Dr. Boyle followed them to London?
As Cole and Anna begin to unravel the case and secrets about the society are revealed, they find themselves at odds, their plans for romance in London having vanished. Her life in danger and her relationship fizzling, can Anna find a way to track down the killer before he makes her his next victim—or will she have to pay the ultimate price for her powers?
Set in Jazz-Age London, this alluring sequel to Born of Illusion comes alive with sparkling romance, deadly intrigue, and daring magic.
I adored Born of Illusion when I first read it. It was given a five star rating and I basically had nothing bad to say about it. I went into Born of Deception expecting to love this installment just as much as the first, or maybe even more. Unfortunately, I loved it less.
I somewhat feel like Born of Deception was a completely different story. I know the main characters were the same and some of the plot carried over, but honestly, what happened to the core of the story? The Sensitives were still there, the romance between Anna and Cole was still there, the magic was still there… but the continuity with Born of Illusion felt off. This story felt way less geared toward the Sensitives and more toward romance. EVERYTHING had something to do with Anna’s love life and it felt unnecessary.
I wanted to know more about Anna’s powers and all the other people’s powers. I wanted to see Anna doing magic and becoming even more independent and awesome. I wanted to see some real growth in the plot, but the whole thing was suffocated by a dumb twist in Anna’s love life. It honestly seemed like she thought about that more than the danger she was obviously in. Agh, so frustrating! The whole thing just failed to wow me.
I enjoyed reading the novel, don’t get me wrong. The aim of the story was absolutely frustrating, but I loved reading Brown’s writing. It draws you in and really makes you feel like you’re there. I just wish it had been paired with a good and balanced story.
But yeah, what happened to Anna?! She was so strong and independent in the first novel, but in this one she sometimes felt like a completely different person. I had an insanely rough time connecting with her or her life. And her romance was just, like, womp womp to me. I give no shits about Cole. Sorry. Also, was Anna always that superficial? I swear every chapter had her talking about someone’s beauty. WE GET IT!
Anna’s mother, on the other hand, won a little bit from me. I’m pretty sure I disliked her in the first book, but this one showed a different side to her that I could definitely get on board with. I would have liked to see more of her. Which brings me to her “father”. Where was Harry Houdini in this book?? I was really hoping to see more development in that plotline, but it was basically nonexistent. There were maybe one or two nods toward Houdini, but otherwise he had no part in the story. Sigh. He was kiiinda important to Anna in the first novel. How was he completely cut out in this one?
Moving on: is there going to be another novel in the series or is this the last one? The way this ended sorta makes it seem like there could be another one, but it also is wrapped enough that it could be the end. Not a very good end, mind you, considering how easily things were resolved—a topic I won’t bother touching on because this review would grow too much—but yeah. If there’s more: the end was fine. If this is the last book: the end could have been done with WAY MORE care. Someone let me know!
This turned out to be a way more negative review than I had originally planned, but I feel so disappointed in the story. I adored Born of Illusion. I thought Born of Deception was going to win my heart as well, and when it didn’t I felt like I lost something. All in all, I could have written a kinder review. I liked the book enough to do that, but then the review wouldn’t have been completely honest. I definitely don’t regret reading Born of Deception because it was, after all, enjoyable, but I know it had more potential than this. That’s the biggest disappointment.
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Reviews from the rest of the series:
Born of Illusion (#1)