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Born of Illusion

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Anna VanHousen has been assisting in her mother¿s , Marguerite,

Anna VanHousen has been assisting in her mother’s , Marguerite, magic act since she was a child. Marguerite is a medium while Anna wow’s the crowd with slide of hand tricks and escaping hand cuffs. Anna and Marguerite’s relationship is volatile, as Anna gets older it se...
Anna VanHousen has been assisting in her mother’s , Marguerite, magic act since she was a child. Marguerite is a medium while Anna wow’s the crowd with slide of hand tricks and escaping hand cuffs. Anna and Marguerite’s relationship is volatile, as Anna gets older it seems Marguerite is becoming jealous of Anna’s abilities but the true secret is Anna’s abilities are real while Marguerite is a con and illusions.

Anna life takes a drastic change when she meets her landlord’s nephew. It seems all her abilities are enhanced when the Cole, the nephew, is around. Most disturbing is the recurring vision of her mother bound and her struggling to breath being pulled into the depths of water.

This was an interesting story of a young woman finding her place in the world. Even though Anna is truly magically gifted, discovering her inner strength and identity still is a daunting task. I appreciated the relationship she built with the grumpy old man Mr. Darby and her interactions with Houdini. An original stride in the paranormal young adult genre, Born of Illusions provided a fun and entertaining read with an intriguing mystery to boot.

This ARC copy of Born of Illusion was given to me by HarperCollins - Balzer Bray in exchange for a honest review. This Book is set for publication on June 11, 2013.

posted by Sailon on June 11, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Born of Illusio

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Book One of the Born of Illusion series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Anna Van Housen is th...
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Book One of the Born of Illusion series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?


What I Liked:

It's a known fact that I don't read too much fiction set in the 1900s. I like historical fiction that is set in the 19th century and before, and modern fiction. But fiction in the 20th century... for some reason, it's never really appealed to me. So I was really hesitant to read this book, though I was curious about the magic described in the synopsis.

I wasn't overly impressed with this book, but I still found the idea of the book very interesting. The main character, Anna, has exceptional skills with magic and illusions. But she's more than a girl with magic tricks - she seems to be a medium, who can communicate with spirits and see things in the future. So, as an illusionist working with her mother, she has to be careful with her gift as a medium.

I liked Anna, and I don't think I ever got frustrated with her as a character. It was easy to follow her decisions and thoughts throughout the novel. I don't know much about the 1920's and how young ladies are supposed to act, but I assume the author did a good job with the authenticity of Anna's character.

The romance was kind of silly, in my opinion. There is a "love triangle", but it's pretty obvious from the beginning which guy Anna really likes. I saw right through the secondary love interest, as soon as we meet him.

The plot was not that interesting, in my opinion, but it wasn't hard to finish this book. I was interested and invested enough to make it through the book, especially once I hit the climax. I wanted to know what would happen, but at the the same time, I had an excellent idea of what would happen. And it did happen. Predictable end.


What I Did Not Like:

I think my biggest problem with this book was that the plot wasn't all that engaging, and I was sort of bored the entire time. I knew that I wasn't going to NOT finish this book, but at the same time, I sort of skimmed parts of this book. I wasn't really sucked into the plot, though I did think it was kind of interesting. It seems like the first part of the book was sort of interesting, but I lost interest as the book went on. Until the climax occurred. But then the end was so predictable.

I hate Anna's mother. Anna spends the entire book saying how much her mother doesn't care about her, or trust her, or doesn't like her, but then in the end... what!? Maybe this is a 1920's thing that I just don't understand. But if you think someone doesn't like you THAT MUCH, I would distance myself from that person. Or at least, NOT put up with their crap all of the time.

And the romance. What?! I feel like the author did a great job of putting together Anna and the secondary interest, but then the author sort of shoved Anna and the primary love interest together. It seemed forced. If I hadn't seen through the secondary love interest's facade from the time he is introduced, I might have been on his side. But the romance just kind of flopped, for me.

And I'm still confused about the whole Houdini-is-your-father angle. Who cares?! What does that have to do with anything?! That didn't seem to be a major plot point, and yet, it's in the summary, and it's mentioned throughout the book. And people freak out when they hear that Anna is (supposedly) Houdini's daughter.

Again. Who cares?! Why does that matter?! Does that make a difference in Anna's life? Is that where she got her medium ability? And do we ever get a proper explanation? No. Anna meets Houdini, Anna's mother is mad, Houdini remembers Anna's mother, but no one actually says anything about the truth of the matter, and why it is such a big deal. UGH.

Basically, I got bored after a while, but the plot was still interesting. The romance was blah, and the end was predictable.


Would I Recommend It:

No. I know that this is a big Harper title, and many people were excited to read this one. But I still don't really recommend it. There are so many books that I need to get through (this being one of them), and I'm glad I was given the opportunity to read this one, but I wish I could have liked this one more.


Rating: 

3 stars. Not the most impressive debut, in my opinion.

posted by Alyssa75 on July 1, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    A poor illusion

    The book was predictable. The set up and characters were't bad but it was too long in some parts and just didn't amount to anything a amazing. The climax was really short and just went by too quickly considering ALL the build up. It was intriguing at first but then it just got predictable and fell short of any true plot because so much was left unsaid.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    2.5/5 stars I am so beyond disappointed in this book! I read th

    2.5/5 stars

    I am so beyond disappointed in this book! I read the synopsis and fell in love! Magic, love, intrigue? Set in the 1900's? I was SO in! Unfortunately this book did not live up to my expectations.

    The first issue I had was the pacing. I was interested in getting to know Anna and her lifestyle as a magician working with her 'mentalist/medium' mother in a stage show. I was also interested in meeting all the secondary characters. But once that all happened, the book just kept dragging its feet and was very slow going. It wasn't until the last part of the book where the action actually picked up and even then it was a bit anti-climactic because you can see what direction its going to take.

    Secondly, I took issues with the characterization. I liked Anna well enough but I didn't form any kind of attachment to my characters. They were just kind of... there. Anna is a talented magician who doesn't have the best relationship with her mother. Her mother is very much in charge and does not want Anna stealing the limelight from her. In fact, her mom kind of reminded me of Cinderella's step-mother, with Anna always taking care of her and so forth. She just wasn't a very motherly character and the way she treated Anna really bothered me. You see some of her reasons at the end, but it still doesn't eliminate the pettiness.

    The romance was quite bland if you ask me. And there was an attempt at a love triangle, that I did not feel worked at all. One minute Anna would have feelings for one guy and the next she'd be questioning his every motive and what he was hiding. Then guy #2 enters the picture and drove me freaking crazy with his over exaggeration and 'showy' personality. And yet she fell for that! At least our first interest, while having secrets, actually expressed a true interest in her and seemed a bit more genuine in his affections, not 'falling to his knees on the ground with a single rose in his hand'.

    Finally, I had plot issues. I just felt like something was lacking in this book. Again, I think with the combination of the pacing and the characterization, the plot just fell short. It was a bit too predictable for my tastes and I ended the book kind of thinking, "That's it?" There are also scenes that I felt weren't finished or explained. I know this is the first in a series, but those scenes should have been wrapped up in this book, because I know they won't have anything to do with the next.

    I did like Anna's interactions with Mr. Darby, her neighbor downstairs, as well as with Houdini. Those scenes definitely perked the book up a bit. Mr. Darby is a crotchety old man at first glance, but really is an inventor, who ended up warming up to her and helping her out later on in the book. Houdini as you all know, is a very famous magician, but I won't give away how he relates to this story.

    I also liked the historical aspect. I liked reading about the types of dresses Anna and her mom would wear, I liked the going out to the theater and learning about the magic shows. So those were all positives for me.

    Overall, unfortunately, while there were some aspects I did like, for the most part this was a miss for me.

    *I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review*(

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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