Author: Teri Brown Series: (Born of Illusion #1) Published: June...
Synopsis: 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?
Born of Illusion is the first book in a new series. Each book in the series will introduce a new historical figure, whose legend is shrouded in magic, along with the young woman whose fate is irrevocably tied to his. The through line in each of the books will be The Ghost Club, the real life secret society that was founded in 1862 by the likes of Charles Dickens, Sir Conan Doyle, and W. B. Yeats to advance mankind’s knowledge of the paranormal. The first three books in the series will deal with Houdini, Aleister Crowley and Rasputin.
Review: A sudden interest is what made me picked Born of Illusion by Teri Brown up again. I tried it earlier this year when I was granted an advance copy of it but with all the things happening to me at that time; I wasn’t really in the mood to read something out of my comfort zone. So I closed the book and moved on, thinking I wouldn’t look back. Oh boy, I was wrong. I was watching a local TV shows with my grandmother that I decided to pick something like the one I’m watching (about ghost, medium, etc). I thought it’s a perfect opportunity to read it again and successfully finish it this time.
I did like the beginning of the story; Anna Van Housen is assisting his famous mother on her shows. No matter how believable their shows looked to their audience, she knows that the acts that her mother had done were all a farce. But Ana’s ability isn’t, she tried to hide it from his mother. And then she met a young man named Cole. And she felt something different about him, particularly that time during a séance where her ability sudden heightened when he’s around. And she wanted to know the truth.
This isn’t my usual genre. But sometimes I have to give in to my nagging curiosity so I can pacify it. And although I was thoroughly interested with this entire supernatural thing going on, I have to admit that my low interest with genre thwarted me from truly enjoying the novel. That said, I was still entertained at some point and just like the heroine, Anna, I was feeling the surroundings of the story. There are so many questions in there that I’m eagerly desire to be answered. For one, her ability was I’m truly invested in and the rest follows.
And while there’s romance in here, it was just a supporting side story. I mean I know there’s something mysterious with Cole from the very start. And I’ve also thought that he might able to help her know and understand her ability. Although at some point it looked too convenient for me but other times I felt that they sincerely complement each other. I would’ve added Owen in the picture but with the stunt he pulled there and Ana’s feelings for Cole, I don’t think it was necessary to complicate in what’s already a simple romance angle.
There’s also about her family background that made me enthusiastically turned the pages. I wanted to know if what she was claiming is real. And if she’s really related to Houdini. At first I thought it was out the blue of her to have thought of him (that they were related) since I didn’t read anything really solid to support her claim. But then as I progressed I can see how she reached that conclusion.
And speaking of conclusion, I was really intrigued on what her decision will entail to her and Cole (since he also sort of added to the benefits of saying yes to Houdini’s offer). I guess, I’ll be reading the sequel after all.
Preview Quote: “All I’ve ever wanted was to be a regular girl with a regular life. Talking to the dead or seeing the future cannot, in any way, be considered normal.” — Anna