Review: Born of Illusion

Born of Illusion (Born of Illusion #1) by Teri Brown
Release Date ~ June 11, 2013
Balzer + Bray ~ HarperCollins
ISBN13: 9780062187543
ARC received from HarperCollins Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Anna Van Housen helps her medium mother Margeurite do stage shows and seances in 1920s New York. Possibly Houdini's daughter, she can sense feelings and see the future. Frightening visions show her mother in peril. New downstairs neighbor Cole introduces her to a society that studies people with gifts like hers. Sorting truth from illusion yields her destiny.

I had SO much fun reading Born of Illusion, and I loved the little details which make this book stand out from the crowd of newly-released YA. Between a super cool setting, bizarre character dynamics, and a little bit of real-life magic thrown in, this book has a lot going for it. Also, I think the cover is very fitting for the book and really stands out to me because of how well it was designed even if it isn't the most unique book cover I've seen.

  1. An intriguing New York in the 1920's setting:

    This was probably my favourite aspect of the book: I adored this setting. You get jazz era prohibition, and we're just past the turn of the century when all sorts of ideas and things are all shiny and new (which we especially get to see regarding technology). And Teri Brown gives it enough attention, by including (brief) descriptions of clothing, scenes, and even the lifestyle in general.
  2. Contemplative exploration of various relationships:

    Born of Illusion was heavily character-driven to me, best evidenced through the various relationships and character dynamics found in this book. Anna's relationship with her mother was the most intriguing to me, because it isn't your typical mother-daughter relationship but it's also very present in the plot and one of the main motivations for Anna's decision-making. Anna also manages to make a number of new friends, all of whom are vastly different from Anna but it's touching to see how friendships can come about in unexpected ways.
  3. Magic that's more than an illusion:

    I loved that there was this struggle for Anna between pretending that the tricks and illusions she does with her mother are real for their customers, while at the same time hiding her genuine "magical" abilities from those around her. It just made for such an interesting dichotomy between these two types of magic, and made the story more believable for me as a reader.
It took me some time to warm up to most of the secondary characters, because they felt very one-dimensional to me at first. This was definitely the type of book that takes a little bit longer to solidify its development, but once it did I was remarkably impressed with how thoughtful the plot was in Born of Illusion. I'm really looking forward to the sequel, Born of Deception, especially after hearing that it includes Rasputin as well! (Update: Teri Brown clarified why this rumour is spreading, and how it isn't true here.)


TeriBrownwrites said...

Thanks for the review, I am so glad you enjoyed the book...but the sequel does not include Rasputin... I address that rumor here:) http://teribrownbooks.com/born-of-deception-cover-copy/

Maji Bookshelf said...

I'm not a big fan of slow beginnings but I AM a big fan of magic! Also the time period is something that I know I will enjoy.

awesome review,
- Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

ChristasBooks said...

I'm really excited to read this - primarily because of the setting and the magic but I also like when YA books explore child-parent relationships. Glad you liked it!

Unknown said...

I had the chance to read this a while back and I absolutely loved the setting of this whole book. Just being thrown back into the roaring 20's made me love this book more. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the mother/daughter relationship. IT was probably my biggest problem with the entire book. Overall I did enjoy it though. :)

Andy @ Owl Always Be Reading

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