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May 13, 2014

A Shot of YA: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Series: Born of Illusion 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Historical | YA Fantasy
Anna Van Housen has a secret.

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers 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 begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? 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, and the temptations of Jazz Age New York—and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.

I love the Roaring Twenties, this era is very pivotal on so many levels, social classes and women's roles are being redefined, the jazz age influenced and changed people's fashion and lifestyles, and more importantly, people developed a fascination for the occult and magic. Seances, fortune telling, and magic shows were popular and Harry Houdini became a household name. And it's in this era that Teri Brown's BORN OF ILLUSION is set. 

BORN OF ILLUSION may be classified as YA but it didn't really give off that YA feel to me after reading it. In fact it felt more like Women's Fiction/Fantasy than juvenile fiction, emotionally adult and definitely devoid of tantrums thrown by Anna Van Housen which is probably why I ended up loving BORN OF ILLUSION. It's YA because it's clean and Anna's a teen, other than that, her life, challenges and relationships is something that a lot of readers can relate to. 

The main theme of BORN OF ILLUSION is Anna's relationship with her mother, Marguerite. There's a lot of tension between these two because Marguerite comes off as a selfish, vain, and jealous mother and Anna's struggling because she's coming to her own and she needs her mother the most at this time. These two's relationship was the hook of the story, I was on Anna's side the whole time because I understand where she's coming from and Marguerite is easy to dislike because of the antics that she pulled. Between the two, Anna was the matured one while Marguerite is the opposite. Aside from her evolving relationship with Marguerite, Harry Houdini's in town and as Anna is allegedly the famous illusionist's daughter, she wants to know if there a grain of truth in that. So Anna in short is in some sort of a cusp in her life and she handled it quite well, she didn't do stupid things like put herself in a precarious situation nor crack under pressure and started acting like a brat. 

Aside from the mystery involving Harry Houdini, someone's also out to get Anna to either exploit her or expose her scam with her mother. That part is well-written and I like how TBrown incorporated crazy psychics in that loop. Another good thing BORN OF ILLUSION has is the muted romance. YA is notorious for being romance driven and for some reason, teen love annoys me now. I guess I'm getting old LOL but it's the lack of teen romance that made BORN OF ILLUSION a winner for me. 

This story arc was wrapped nicely opening a new story arc for Born of Deception. Based on my experience in this book and the premise for book 2, I will most definitely keep on reading the series. Anna's on the verge of something big and another great adventure is waiting for her in London so I surely want to read that. 








35 comments:

  1. I liked this book too and I enjoyed the whole era. I need to look up the second book, I believe it is coming out very soon.

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    1. I'm excited for book 2! I think it's a circus kind of thing or something like that

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  2. I really loved this one too. I can't wait for the next book!

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    1. I'm caught up so you and I can compare notes when you get around to reading it.

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  3. This is the kind of maybe, maybe not book

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    1. If you're hesitating coz it's YA, trust me it's merely a technicality but Anna is very "adult"

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  4. I just adore the cover! It's so freaking awesome! And not only is the cover a-mazing, the story takes place in London? Yep, reading it.

    J'adore Happy Endings

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    1. P.S. Book 2 takes place in London, this is in New York

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  5. This doesn't sound like my kind of book but I'm surprised to see it's YA. The cover sort of looks adult.

    I have a friend who enjoys that era so I'll tell her about it.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  6. I love books set in the '20s too and the dynamics with the mom and the mystery about the famous dad sound great. Hadn't heard of it so thanks!

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    1. Yeah for once I've read a non-romantic YA, what a relief!

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  7. Sounds amazing, just got it. I wanted to at some point due to cover & blurb love, but then I got sidetracked somehow and forgot about it. Can't wait to dig in, sounds like a really awesome read!

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    1. I've had the arc since last year then I saw book 2 is coming out so I found the time and reason to do so, I'm glad I did LOL

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  8. Oooh.... this seems like an intriguing read, mystery, the 20's and Houdini! That together screams fun! Great review!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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  9. So...I don't like the 1920s or magicians! Weird, I know. I am glad to see you enjoyed Born of Illusion. Great review!

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    1. Hahaha, that's ok, different strokes but that's YA for you ;)

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  10. This does sound amazing. I've seen it around a bit, but hadn't given it much thought. HOWEVER--roaring '20s, potential offspring of famous magicians, and threats of exposure to sham mediums . . . sign me up! Excellent review, Braine

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    1. Thanks, lady! Anything set in the 20's I love.

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  11. So glad you were able to enjoy this one... I struggled with it but I think my expectations were too high... I still absolutely love that cover. Great review!

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    1. Yeah I saw your top 10, sorry it didn't work for you.

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  12. SW, I had seen this one around, but wasn't sure if I was going to get it and read it. The roaring 20s is one of my favorite era's in history. This sounds very good and interesting. It sounds like you really enjoyed this. I think I will be at some point getting this book, now that I've read your book.

    Your SW, Grace

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  13. Great Review Joelle @ http://angelswithattitudebookreviews-joelle.blogspot.com

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  14. I have mixed feelings about books set in historic times, but this one sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review :) And I'm glad that you mention it isn't all about the romance in this book.

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    1. You're welcome, Julie, we've talked about romance and sex in YA/NA books and how it can be pervy. I'm happy to report that TBrown didn't make me feel like that or even had me "gossiping".

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  15. I really need to get my hands on this; I think it was a Kindle Daily Deal a while back and I was like, eh, I'll just get it from the library. I've probably asked you this before, but have you read Libba Bray's The Diviners? That's also set in 1920's NYC, and man, did it scare the crap out of me in some parts!

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  16. Added to my TBR! That cover is awesome, glad you enjoyed it!

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  17. Yay! I'm glad you loved this one, Braine. I have it on my bookshelf (I got it at RT last year) but I haven't been in a hurry because 1) I just don't have enough time to read all I want to read and 2) I read quite a few 'meh' reviews of it. It sounds fascinating to me though. I loved your history lesson at the beginning of your review. Maybe an *ahem* older reader appreciates it more?!? Anyway, fab review, hon!!

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  18. I'm glad you loved it! :) I've been eying this series for quiet sometime. Maybe it's time to pick it up...

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  19. Braine, great review. I love the twenties too but not so much YA so glad to know that its appeal is wider.
    deb

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  20. I definitely felt the same, Braine! Very enjoyable book, devoid of childish drama. Looking forward to book two, excellent review!

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