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Historical YA Early Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown (Born of Illusion #1)

Egalley thanks to Balzer & Bray

Synopsis from Goodreads
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?

Release Date: June 11th 2013.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
Born of Illusion is not The Diviners, but it's a lovely, fun and colourful book, strong in its own right.

Like Libba Bray, Teri Brown took on a fascinating and not a very well known topic of magicians and mediums in New York in 1920s. However, while Bray concentrated on a bigger picture, describing a great and sinister conspiracy, Teri Brown painted portraits of individuals with their own dreams, fears and desires.

Anna is a strong, determined young girl, whose sole occupation is to provide for her flighty,  dramatic mother, a famous medium currently on tour in New York. Ironically, Anna is the real medium in the family while her mother is a shiny fake, but it's not the side of her talent she wants to explore. Anna is deadly afraid of her visions and contacts with the dead, and wants no part of it.

Her passion is magic, and she is a fabulous magician, forced to live in her mother's shadow and fight for every bit of performance she wants to improve. Anna is bitter and disappointed and wants to escape her dear old mom when she reaches adulthood to do her own shows.

Anna is also fascinated by the identity of her father. Her mom told her he is Houdini himself, and Anna obsessively follows his performances, watches his movies and tries the same stunts is he does... while her mom thrives on Anna's bit of notoriety.

Add to this Anna's visions of an impending danger to her mother, kidnapping attempts, two young and dapper gentlemen showing interest in Anna, jealousy of her mother and a secret society determined to research mediums' powers... and you get a few hours of pure entertainment.

The plot is simple and easy to follow, there is a little bit of a love triangle going on, but mostly it's a charming and atmospheric book which guarantees a few hours of pure entertainment for the reader. Recommended!

* * *
Сразу скажу, что с шедевром Либбы Брэй эту книгу сравнивать нельзя, несмотря на то, что оба автора затрагивают тему паранормального в Нью-Йорке 20х годов.

Мисс Браун создала милую, очаровательную и яркую историю о медиумах и фокусниках, и об огромном интересе к ним в эпоху джаза и подпольного алкоголя. Историю, за которую легко сесть и забыться на несколько часов читателю любого возраста.

Анна - сильная юная девушка, талантливый фокусник, которая вынуждена жить в тени своей знаменитой матери-медиума и заботиться о том, как бы их обоих прокормить, пока её мать гуляет на полную катушку. Всё, о чём мечтает Анна - это достигнуть совершеннолетия и начать своё собственное шоу, так как она устала бороться за каждую кроху своих выступлений во время шоу мамы. Её мать также распространяет слух, что Анна - дочь знаменитого Гарри Гудини, что добавляет скандального интереса к её выступлениям и заставляет Анну чувствовать себя очень неудобно, так как как фокусник она вынуждена невольно соперничать с Гудини, которого она постоянно изучает, смотрит все его фильмы и пытается повторить его опасные трюки.

Ирония заключается в том, что настоящий медиум в семье это сама Анна, которая ужасно боится своего дара видеть грядущие катастрофы и общаться с мёртвыми и скрывает его  изо всех сил, однако Нью-Йорк меняет равновесие сил между мамой и дочкой.

Анна никак не может отвязаться от видений её матери в опасности, у неё неожиданно появляются два очень разных поклонника, и между попытками похищения и вербовкой в секретные организации, изучающие медиумов, она наконец-таки сталкивается с Гудини лицом к лицу...

Читайте, легко и атмосферно. Мне очень понравилось!


Blodeuedd said...

Just saying, that girl does not look 16

brandileigh2003 said...

A simple easy to follow plot with an enjoyable plot sounds great to me.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

sounds sooo good!

Aurian said...

I am glad I read your review Kara, as I really would love to read this book. Thanks!

Nina @ Death, Books, and Tea said...

I've not read much set in the 20s-it's a time period I'd like to get into more. Sounds good-thanks for the review!

Micheline said...

I still need to read The Diviners but I own it and am hoping to crack that bad boy open soon! I love how you differentiated the two because honestly I felt the same way about Born of Illusion as you described here so I'm excited to read the Diviners now with that in mind! Anyways, I loved how you described Anna and the atmosphere in this one, two elements that shined for me too :) Thanks for the brilliant review!

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Micheline, you have to read The Diviners soon, sweetie! It's an absolutely fabulous book! :) Glad you enjoyed this one!

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