Born of Deception
Series: Born of Illusion #2
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, YA
Publication date: June 10th 2014
by Balzer & Bray
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.
-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-
*Spoiler free for the series*
Having really enjoyed the wonderfully atmospheric and captivating Born of Illusion last year, I was excited to get back into Anna’s world full of magic and mystery.
Born of Deception is just as mesmerizing in its storytelling, and even more-so with its historical London setting. Brown is gifted in bringing these settings to life; making us walk the busy streets alongside our protagonist, feel the vibrancy of the city and the excitement of the crowds. As far as the writing goes, I loved it all. I did find disappointment in the plot itself, however. While Born of Illusion was full of mystique and wonder, this second installment has a big focus on a new love triangle in addition to – and somewhat the cause of – frustrating developments between the romance we all grew to love from book 1. Yes, book 1 also had a love-traingle-ish romance, but that one was crafted in a way that felt so realistic, plus it was clear where Anna’s feelings lay, the triangle only brought into existence by her mother’s manipulations. In this case, however, it bordered on cliché and offered nothing other than added dramatics to the story. This was made worse by how the coupling I enjoyed from book one took a turn for the worst. The relationship now consisted of pity fights and arguments caused by none other than lack of communication. So lets just say this part of the story leaves much to be desired.
The plot itself is a lot of fun and paced to perfection. It has the constant air of mystery that I enjoyed from its predecessor, with a bit higher stakes this time where murder and black magic is involved. We also learn more about the society and the magic surrounding this whole world. New characters are involved, most with lively personalities and distinct voices, and old favourites are back with just as much charm. What I found, though, was that it ended up being incredibly easy to predict most of the outcome of this story. I had my suspicions within the first 10% which ended up being correct. This was a bit of a bummer, strangely, though, it felt as if the author had planned it that way. The reveal is not done with much theatrics, but rather feels like a confirmation of what we should have already known. I’m not sure what to make of this, but it did make the whole book feel a tad underwhelming if you ask me. Especially when its predecessor was under such a constant cloud of secrets that it had me suspecting everyone and going back and forth in my theories – which equals to an incredibly addictive read, I did not feel the same spark of excitement and eventual satisfaction throughout this one, unfortunately. It did have me interested, but I was not wildly turning its pages to abate my curiosity.
Still, the writing is just as wonderful, the characters are just as charismatic, and I will read anything this woman writes. But…I do think that Born of Illusion stands best on its own.
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