An electronic copy was given in exchange for a honest review.
Summary (via 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?
Born of Illusion starts out with a very leisurely pace which allows the reader to soak in the time period and setting of the 1920’s New York. It was a comfortable book to delve into, though I didn’t feel like I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what was going to happen next.
Many pages focused on developing Anna’s character and delving into her relationship with her mother. The reader gets to experience how it might have been to live such an unusual lifestyle focusing on séances and magic shows. There was an ever present aura of mystery that I enjoyed and the question of never knowing exactly who to trust.
After the midway point there was the feeling that something big was just around the corner. When I got to the reveal I honestly was a tad disappointed, I wanted a bit more. It wasn’t bad; I just expected so much.
As stated above, Born of Illusion focuses on showing the reader aspects of Anna’s personality and experiencing her search to find out if the rumors are true about who her father is. Along with that mystery she also realized that her magical abilities are stronger than they ever have been, and they just might have to do with the new people in her life.
On her journey we meet some really interesting characters, Mr. Darby being my favorite side character. He is her downstairs neighbor and is hosting one of her love interests. Did you catch that? One of her love interests…yes, there is a love triangle but Brown does it well and it didn’t detract from the story for me.
I found Anna’s mother, Marguerite Van Housen, to be a very intriguing character though I didn’t exactly like her. I was happy to see Brown progressing the character’s relationships and giving them a realistic edge though the story consisted so heavily of illusion.
Overall I enjoyed Born of Illusion, especially the time period and descriptions of magical stage shows. My biggest issue was with the ending, I felt it lacked creativity.