Thursday, June 6, 2013
ARC Review: Born of Illusion
Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Balzer + Bray, 2013
YA Historical Paranormal
Scheduled to release June 11
Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher at Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I love stories about magic and so far most of the books I've read with that element tend to be about witches and wizards. However this story promised a different take on magic, looking at magicians, illusionists, and mediums in addition to featuring Harry Houdini. Add in the historical period of the 1920's and we've got a lot of potential here.
Anna Van Housen is a talented young illusionist working in concert with her "medium" mother, attempting to keep themselves afloat and ahead of those who would expose their seances as fraudulent including Anna's alleged father, the famous Harry Houdini. However, what no one knows, what no one can know is that Anna has genuine paranormal talent as there are definitely those who would use her abilities, not least of all her mother. When two very different men become entangled in her life, Anna may have to fully utilize all of her talents to avoid destruction.
My least favorite part of this book was definitely the romance. Although at first, I wondered which guy she might choose, it pretty quickly became obvious and honestly neither guy much impressed me. They were such dullards and didn't have any spark with Anna. This is a shame as Anna is quite spunky and fun-I'd probably want to hang out with her and I want her to have an awesome romantic relationship.
On the other hand, her relationship with her parents was much more enthralling although frustrating. Anna's mother is used to being the center of attention and easily manipulates Anna and those in her sphere of influence. Their relationship is complicated to say the least and her lies mean that though Anna hopes Houdini is her father, she also doubts the veracity of her mother's claim. I appreciated the many facets of her mother's character as well as the fact that we get to see her good side near the end, making her more likable to me and feeling better for Anna's situation.
One final element to examine is the presence of magic and other paranormal abilities. Anna knows full well that they are real because she possesses them, something that she cannot share with anyone especially her mother who might not believe her but also might try to ruthlessly exploit her. I loved how Anna had these natural talents in addition to all her hard work at illusions to perform on stage for pay. I thought it was a nice contrast between being born with paranormal talents and working hard at creating illusions for the stage.
Cover: I think she looks like Nicola Kidman circa "Moulin Rouge" which is a very different time period, setting, and circumstances but maybe you can see the resemblance too?
Candace's Book Blog
The Flyleaf Review