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’ve been really excited to read Born of Illusion for quite some time now. Who doesn’t want to read a book about magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City? How cool! Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. If you follow my review, you know by now that I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction. This book was not an exception. While some of the magic was pretty cool, I found it to be just too boring for my taste.
One thing that this book really has going for it is that the main character, Anna, is very likeable. Anna was the reason I was trying to make it through the book. She was strong, powerful, yet still a nervous child trying to make it in the world. The other characters in the story were also very likeable or interesting, but they weren’t enough to carry the story.
Here was my thing with Born of Illusion: There wasn’t enough magic or spark to it. There was mystery…but not enough. I found myself not caring what was going to happen next. I didn’t care who Anna’s father was or what would happen to Anna’s mother. I didn’t care if anyone was killed off or if something bad happened. I just didn’t care. I only read half of Born of Illusion before I set it down, but there weren’t really any action scenes or “aha!” moments. There were a couple cool scenes involving magic, but nothing that really knocked my socks off. It was just kind of bland.
Fans of The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd and Pantomime by Laura Lam should enjoy Born of Illusion.
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: June 11th, 2013
Rating: N/A not rating due to DNF
Teaser Quote: “”You’re quite good–for a girl.” “Thank you,” I tell him, ignoring the girl remark. If I argued with every male magician who made a snide comment about my gender, I’d never have the time to do magic. I prefer to outperform them on stage, where it really matters.”