|Release Date: June 11. 2013|
from Balzer & Bray
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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?"
This is a situation where a very pretty cover pulled me in and sadly the story just did not live up to the cover. This has the makings to be a truly awesome book, but sadly it just misses the mark. I mean we have magic and mediums and spiritualism and in illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini, but the execution of the story just wasn’t all I hoped it would be.
I think my biggest gripe with the story is that I pegged the bad guys from the beginning. I acknowledge that I do read a lot and because of that I am usually able to peg the bad guy earlier than normal; however I don’t think I should have been able to peg them so early on. I want to have a bit of mystery to the story and I want to have to guess at the bad guys, but that didn’t happen.
Also, I found it hard to connect with the characters. Anna was good I guess, but I just didn’t really care what happened to her. I would have liked to learn more about her abilities, but we never did. As readers, we were just left to accept that she has these abilities without any reasoning or backing. Then we had Anna’s mother, who I found to be a very inconsistent character. One minute it seems as if she will do anything to ruin Anna and the next everything she does is for Anna’s best interest. It was hard to know who her mother really was.
Then we of course have a love triangle. The problem with this love triangle is that I just didn’t really care about it. Sure there was one I preferred over the other, but I didn’t find myself truly invested in the triangle. I also didn’t feel as if Anna was really torn. I couldn’t see the connection between her and either one of the guys. It felt like she was just going through the motions of two guys with interest and oh dear who ever will she choose.
Along with this, the story had a very slow buildup. It took a very long time for things to get going and at one point I very nearly stopped reading. I am glad I stuck it out as I was happy to see that I was correct in my guessing. Also, the climax really did amp up the action and was by far the best part of the story.
All in all, Born of Illusion was sadly not the book for me. I think I expected a lot from this one and it just did not deliver all I was hoping for. However, I am sure there are others out there who will enjoy this one a lot more than I did.