My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What’s to not like in Born of Illusion?
There is nothing to overtly like either, IMO, except for a few characters.
Overall, though, I think the pros balance out the cons and it comes down to your personal preferences.
Anna Van Housen has lived a life of escaping, fraud, visions and performances all her life. She is the real daughter of a renowned(and fake) mother and the supposedly illegitimate one of Harry Houdini’s. She does a thousand questionable and stupid things, never gets her priorities straight but in the end, she is a character worth rooting for. Anna learned early on to keep her counsel and moreover, since a kid, she’s been playing this sorta dance of a game of a relationship with her mother.
This is a girl who likes being the spectacle but is shoved out of the way every time by her mother. I love a good performer and boy, is Anna one ever. But there is her mother always shoving her out of the way, pushing her around. The voyaging into this tremulous relationship was fascinating and one of the best elements of the book. The ergo’s and causes of this tough love is explored beatifically through all the different aspects and facets- both the demons and the strawberries, the jealousy and the misunderstanding and hidden love.
My only complaint is that I wish their ‘truce ‘ had been a bit more fleshed out. There seems to be a lot of unresolved stuff here.
This is a girl who still looks for her father in billboards, in posters and in the eyes of a stranger; she bumbles around for respectability, wanting and regretting wanting to perform and do what she does best. This story basically is about this girl trying to find foothold in the sea of the moving society, of finding or rather discovering herself, who she really is.
And then unbecoming powers grow and hot men rain. Okay, just these two guys.
Cole, the first of the two, was of a banal and predictable disposition. His adherence to the norm of generalized characters didn’t endear him to me any further. He was sweet and nerdy and caring but dude, where is the dark side? Until I see it, you are Noddy to me.
On the other hand, Owen was a wholesome and realized character that I appreciated. He, along with Cynthia(a client of Anna’s), were my favorite characters.
However, (view spoiler)
The plot is too trite and simple for a book with such fantastic elements. The identity of the villain is quite easy to figure out.
Yet, it isn’t so for Anna and I actually liked that. It showed how she depended more on her psychic powers than common sense, and that turns out to be her undoing. But still it raises the question, why couldn’t Cole?
The climax of the novel, the final illusion and the showdown the book speeds towards is short, unattained and disappointing, without any definite consequences.
The general vibe of early twentieth century in the book is subtle. Teri Brown depends on nuances instead of overt descriptions or flat-out signs to construct her setting, which was just muchos grandos.
While I wasn’t particularly enamored with the Born of Illusion, ‘d probably check out the next installment as it deals with RASPUTIN!
I’d recommend this book to those looking for a light, historical paranormal book, more about a girl’s personal discovery rather than magic.