Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Publication Date: 6/11/13
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: Roaring 20’s (Historical), Magic, Romance
Series: #1 in Born of Illusion
Author Website: Teri Brown
Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound
Summary from Goodreads:
ANNA VAN HOUSEN HAS A SECRET.
A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage shows and seances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians and mentalists in 1920s New York. For Anna, the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini – or so Marguerite claims – handcuffs and sleight-of-hand illusions have never been much of a challenge. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her mother: because while Marguerite’s power may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.
But as Anna’s powers intensify, she experiences frightening visions of her mother in peril, which lead her to explore the abilities she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a society that studies people with gifts like hers, she begins to wonder if there’s more to life than keeping secrets.
As her visions become darker and her powers spin out of her control, Anna is forced to rethink all she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusions? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?
From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, with the temptations of Jazz Age New York — and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.
Roaring 20’s. Houdini’s Daughter. Psychic abilities. Are you kidding? I was all over this book even before I even read the summary. Born of Illusion is filled with marvelous mystery and intrigue. Also, that classy vibe that comes with reading stories set in the 1920’s. It didn’t disappoint!
Anna Van Housen and her mother run a magic show. Her mother is nothing but an actress, but Anna has more than a few tricks up her sleeve. Not only is she a master escapist/magician, but she has sometimes terrifying abilities and visions. Anna was a refreshing female protagonist. She was sensible even in dire situations and always kept a clear head, even amongst the life-changing events surrounding her.
Cole is the mysterious, shadowy boy in Born of Illusion. I can’t say he stands out amongst the male protagonists at all. He was great, but just kind of typical YA. Something that constantly annoyed me about him was that he could be making Anna’s life a whole lot easier by just telling her some critical information, but he just kept stuff to himself. He had reasons, but I don’t think they were good ones.
Anna’s mother was kind of despicable. She treated her daughter like a stage-hand and nothing more at times. She got furious multiple times at Anna’s success. It was some seriously non-motherly behavior. That being said, I kind of liked seeing a drastically different type of mom in YA lit. She was also a major character in the book, which, obviously, is something I love to see.
Teri Brown did a wonderful job with the major mystery in Born of Illusion. I can usually guess the culprit easily, but I was torn between two suspects and loved the suspense! I also thought her descriptions of 1920’s NYC were great and I could picture it quite superbly in my mind.
Anna goes up against some truly bad people and must deal with her psychic abilities in Born of Illusion, It was a ride full of mystery and magic, plus Houdini makes some appearances!