Thursday, May 22, 2014

Born of Deception by Teri Brown {review}

Born of Deception by Teri Brown
♦publisher: Balzer & Bray
♦release date: June 10, 2014
♦hardcover, 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Born of Illusion, book 2
  review of book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review (via SF book review)
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.

Review: Teri Brown’s YA debut, Born of Illusion was a favorite of mine last year with its glitzy 20’s setting, showy stage magic, and a mysterious plot that held me captive from beginning to end.  In Born of Deception, Anna Van Heusen is striking out into the world on her own, excited to be free of the emotional chains of her mother.  She’s joined up with a traveling vaudeville troupe with her new solo magic act.  Her London destination also means meeting up with Cole, and being introduced to a secret society that is meant to research and help people with her kinds of abilities: not stage magic, but real magical gifts.  She arrives to find the society in upheaval and people are going missing, some even turning up dead. She must use her gifts and her connections, new and old, alive and dead, to help her discover who is behind the attacks.

While I didn’t love this second book as much as the first, Teri Brown’s strong writing and story-weaving is still there. The 20s setting still shines, and I loved that we get an even more descriptive look into the life of show business back then.  There are at least twice as many characters as last time, all fun additions to the story.  Especially the new man who happens into her life as a much need ray of sunshine.  Billy is a self-made cowboy, and does rope tricks in the vaudeville show.  He’s handsome and charming and jovial, a stark contrast to the sullen and serious Cole.  It does turn into a bit of a love triangle, but actually the choice between the two is more indicative of Anna’s struggle to decide what she really wants in life, not just in love.  I was actually not a fan of Cole and Anna’s relationship this time around. It concentrated far too much on jealousy.  She was literally flaring into jealousy every time he spoke to another woman, and Cole was doing much the same---it got annoying after a while. 

The conflicted mother-daughter relationship continues to morph and grow, which I really enjoy reading about again.  Anna’s really starting to question if she wants a life of show business or a settled life; it’s interesting to see how love has changed Anna’s mother…and then again, not changed her. It definitely makes Anna consider her options.  Also, she learns that a life with Cole might be more dangerous that she thought.  

The mystery of the murders is twisty and suspenseful and fun, nothing really mind-blowing, but still very entertaining.  It gets dark at times, and with so many additional characters coming into play, it kept me guessing.  I wasn't head-over-heels with this follow-up like I was with Born of Illusion (and I think that this is the only follow-up planned in this series), but then again, in my eyes, the first book was a lot to live up to. 

Find Teri Brown online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Born of Illusion:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. I keep hearing good things about the first and now second book in this series. I think this is a sign...

    1. The first is soooo good. I think you would love it, Lena! This was good, too, but the first was a fave of mine last year. :)

  2. i would love to read this! sounds like i need to read the first one though!

    1. Yes, definitely start with the first one! You really have to get to know Anna and her magic (both stage and mystical!) before jumping in to the events of this one! I hope you try it out soon!

  3. I haven't read this series yet, but I do remember how every book blogger and reader were falling in love with the first book. The second one looks just as good, but I'm glad that I now know that it's okay. And you're right, the first book is almost always something to live up to and the sequels won't always come out better or just as amazing. I'm glad this series is getting positive reviews though. I might as well have to start reading this one soon :D

  4. Amazing review sweetie. <3 I'm glad you mostly enjoyed this book :D I have been meaning to read my eARC for ages.. but I don't want to anymore after I read about the kind of triangle thing :( I hate those. So so so much. And you say they are both jealous? Not fun. I don't like that either. Sigh. But I am interested in the book, still :D As you do make it sound pretty awesome, hih :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

  5. I'm glad you still really enjoyed this despite it not quite being as good as the first! It only makes me want to get to reading the first book more! It's sitting pretty on my shelf. :) Great review Becky!