posted at Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 at 8:00 AM | Reviews, Young Adult
Series: Born of Illusion #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on June 10, 2014
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Amazon • The Book Depository
Budding illusionist Anna Van Housen is on top of the world: after scoring a spot on a prestigious European vaudeville tour, she has moved to London to chase her dream and to join an underground society for people like her with psychic abilities. Along with her handsome beau, Cole Archer, Anna is prepared to take the city by storm.
But when Anna arrives in London, she finds the group in turmoil. Sensitives are disappearing and, without a suspect, the group’s members are turning on one another. Could the kidnapper be someone within the society itself—or has the nefarious Dr. Boyle followed them to London?
As Cole and Anna begin to unravel the case and secrets about the society are revealed, they find themselves at odds, their plans for romance in London having vanished. Her life in danger and her relationship fizzling, can Anna find a way to track down the killer before he makes her his next victim—or will she have to pay the ultimate price for her powers?
Set in Jazz-Age London, this alluring sequel to Born of Illusion comes alive with sparkling romance, deadly intrigue, and daring magic.
Despite having entirely forgotten Born of Illusion, I was excited to read Born of Deception. The good news is that I didn’t struggle with the sequel due to my memory lapse. There’s some recap and my brain also returned some things I’d forgotten. I enjoyed the first book, but was definitely hoping for something with a bit more oomf and emotion. Instead, I’d say Born of Deception is weaker narratively with more forced romantic drama. However, the paranormal romp across Europe is quite fun.
Born of Illusion took place entirely in 1920s New York City. In Born of Deception, Anna Van Housen is crossing the Atlantic to London, where she will be part of a troupe that travels Europe. Finally she gets to perform her own act, one without trickery and without her mother. She’s thrilled about that and about seeing her boyfriend Cole once again. On top of that, she’s to meet a group of Sensitives, and the scientists who study them. She’s nervous and excited. Of course, there’s a nefarious underbelly to this Society. Dun dun dunnnnn.
In Born of Deception, Anna continues trying to figure out what she wants out of life, both romantically and in terms of her future employment. From a childhood without options, she suddenly has a wealth of them and it’s a bit difficult for Anna to handle. Though she loves performing her magic show, she’s not sure if that’s something she wants to do forever and the question of how long Vaudeville will continue to be popular is also a factor. Anna’s definitely matured and is very responsible for herself in Born of Deception. She makes her own plans, sees who she wishes and manages her own finances.
The paranormal elements of Born of Deception are quite cool. As ever, I have an obsession with stories about people with powers of basically any sort. I didn’t know there were so many kinds of Sensitives and that was awesome. It definitely gets away from the more psychic sort of stuff that I knew about from the first book. There’s also a murder mystery component with possible ties to black magic, which is cool too.
However, I struggled the whole way through with the romance. I hoped it would end up any way but the way it did. Let’s just say that Brown did a good job making me question what was best for Anna and then I feel like that just sort of got washed away. I wanted to see Anna really get introspective, but Born of Deception fell a bit short of that. The introduction of another love triangle in the second book was rough anyway and the way it resolves is just not cool with me. So yeah, not a fan of the romance in this book.
Also, though I thought this book was a great read, I also didn’t care for the way the plot resolved. The thing is that only the last fifteen or so pages are put towards the resolution of both the plot and the love triangle and that’s just not enough space. Both are very slapdash. The plot’s just building up to a large confrontation when BAM it’s over. In the least satisfying way too. View Spoiler »Didn’t Crowley say he wasn’t going to come for Calypso and then he does anyway right at the perfect time? Um okay. So Anna really didn’t need to go there and confront her at all? Also, can we talk about how Calypso was the guilty party and how she was one of two POCs and she killed the other? Oh oh and that Anna spends most of the book disliking her and feeling jealous and then is vindicated. All of this was a no. « Hide Spoiler
There you have it. Born of Deception is highly entertaining, but also left me wanting in a lot of respects. I’m not sure if there are more books planned about Anna Van Housen or not, but I’m not sure if I would continue, as much fun as these books are. Recommended to readers who don’t mind the introduction of a love triangle.
Not many relationships are as strong as the road is hard.
Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy: