Mini Review: Born of Illusion by Terri Brown

Born of Illusion
Teri Brown

Balzer + Bray
I received a copy of this book through the Around the World ARC Tour in return for an honest review.
Releases on June 11, 2013
384 pages
YA / Fantasy / Magic

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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?

I don’t know what it was about Anna Van Housen, but she drove me batty. There was somethingabout her inner monologue that reminded me why I don’t have many real life female friends. I’m not entirely sure what that even means either. It was just a weird “who cares?” feeling that crept over me every time I opened this book and yet I still read it in three sittings.

Anna has supernatural skills she keeps hidden and a crazy mother who doesn’t want anyone to steal away her limelight. Her mother is a fake medium, Anna is a real medium but doesn’t want to be. She spends most of the book complaining about her mother and describing the subtle tweaks in the tone of her mother’s voice or twitches of facial muscles that mean her mother is angry with her for this or that or whatever. I didn’t really care.

It takes place in the 1920s, which is an era I have a soft spot for and I wish more of the glamour and carefree attitude of the nouveau riche had bled through between the “mysterious” visions and internal family strife, but outside of a short scene in a speakeasy, this story could have taken place in just about any pre-cell phone time and in any city other than New York. Harry Houdini is scattered among the pages with no real effect other than to give Anna something else for her internal drama. The final conspiracy wraps up real pretty in the most expected way.

I don’t have much to say about this book because it was just so mediocre to me. Nothing stood out and I don’t expect to even remember much about it a week from now, but at least the cover is pretty?


I received a copy of this book through the Around the World ARC Tour in return for an honest review.