Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Born of Deception

Born of Deception (Born of Illusion, #2)Author: Teri Brown
Series: Born of Illusion, #2
Published: June 10th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: 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.
As a book reviewer, I sometimes have to struggle very hard to keep even a semblance of objectivity. With some books it’s easy: I either get a combination of technical excellence and great chemistry between myself and the story, or there’s an unfortunate lack of both. But sometimes, a book is technically good, with very little I can objectively criticize, but there’s no chemistry to speak of. In other words, it’s written fairly well, but I don’t like it. Born of Deception is one such book.

Anna van Hausen’s story intrigued me greatly in Born of Illusion. Combined with Teri Brown’s excellent writing, it made for an excellent read, perhaps one of my favorites in 2013. Needless to say, I waited with bated breath for my advanced copy of Born of Deception to arrive, but the initial reviews that preceded it had me worried that it wasn’t quite up to snuff.

The biggest letdown wasn’t the story or the pacing, it was Anna’s relationship with Cole. Like everyone else in the known universe, I adored these two in the previous book, but this time they just didn’t fit together very well, and their lack of communication combined with Cole’s reluctance to show his feelings made me doubt that they should be together at all. By the end I still wasn’t convinced that these two were right for each other, and the final chapter did absolutely nothing to ease my worries.

Adding a love triangle to a relationship that’s already shaky didn’t go very far toward endearing this book to me. I despise love triangles at the best of times, but having one so poorly constructed, with no other purpose than to put even more distance between Anna and Cole, made me extremely uncomfortable. I liked Billy a lot, but I never really considered him to be a true love interest, just a means to an end.

However, I enjoyed the rest of the story. While the villain was painfully obvious almost from the start, the crimes were gruesome enough that I didn’t particularly mind. After all, I had death curses, exsanguinations, powerful mages and a very large group of Sensitives like Anna to entertain me. Anna faced a formidable enemy in this book, and her abilities weren’t all that helpful in this case. In the end, she had to rely on others to stay alive, and unfortunately, Cole wasn’t really among them.

Since Anna moved to London to work on her own show and be with Cole, Born of Deception introduced a number of new characters, most of them really interesting. I loved seeing Anna on her own in a new city, she was able to prove that she’s more than capable of taking care of herself.

As far as I can tell, this is the second part of a duology, but it felt vastly unfinished to me. I don’t have to have a neatly tied ending, but in this case, far too many things were left open, which made me uncomfortable. I hope we’ll get at least a novella that will clear things up a bit.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I still haven't read the first book yet, but it is in my pile of books to read, and I read a lot of great reviews, yours included. But when it comes to this book, yours is not the first review that complains about the relationship being messed up for no good reason and the love triangle added for the sake of it... like you, love triangles is something I really don't like, so I'm tempted you just read book 1 and not bother with this one!

  2. Oh no! Middle book syndrome, aye that happens

  3. Triangles really do get old after awhile don't they? Sorry this one wasn't a bit better for you Maja.

  4. Boo to a poorly constructed love triangle mucking up an already shaky relationship. But at least you got some enjoyment out of the story (yay exsanguinations!)

  5. I still haven't read the first book in this series but I totally agree with you. I have read so many books that technically were amazing, but lack of chemistry was really an issue. If I have to pick I'd always go for chemistry but I like when I get both. Anyhow I'm really sorry that this book didn't have any chemistry and it's really a shame as it sounds like a great story. Great review, Maja :)

  6. I thought the first book was only okay so the fact that there was a love triangle thrown in this one and that the overall book felt unfinished means I'll most likely not bother reading this one. Thanks for reviewing this one, Maja.

  7. This was a very disappointing read for me as well, Maja especially because I was so fond of the first book. I was incredibly frustrated by the turn that Anna and Cole's relationship took and I just wanted them to communicate throughout the entire book. Because of that, I couldn't enjoy the story line either. The love triangle was so pointless. We got out of one in the first book only to have another one that made absolutely no sense in the second one.
    It's a duology? I was under the impression that this was a trilogy and now I'm even more frustrated by the lack of answers.
    Lovely review, Maja!

  8. I don't think I saw a lot of reviews about this one and now I wonder what I saw about the first book because I don't remember it but I'm sorry this one wasn't that good... It's sometimes difficult with second books. I think I'll pass.

  9. "But sometimes, a book is technically good, with very little I can objectively criticize, but there’s no chemistry to speak of."

    YES!!! Those types of books are always the hardest for me Maja. They're well written but there's a spark missing that keeps me from wanting to flip the pages and find out what happens. I'm so bummed there's the introduction of a love triangle in classic second-book style. I so tire of new romantic interests introduced in book 2 just to cause waves with a previously established couple. *sigh* Loved reading your thoughts though!

  10. Sorry this didn't really work for you, since you loved the first one so much. I hate when couples act like idiots when they should just TALK TO EACH OTHER. haha

  11. I hate that second book romance stumble that we see all too often. I liked the first book but decided to skip the sequel after all the lackluster reviews I read, you just reaffirmed that I made the right choice.

  12. I've been dying to read BORN OF ILLUSION, but now that I've seen the not-so-great reviews for BORN OF DECEPTION, I'm questioning whether or not I should even read this duology. Even though the romance sounds pretty great from book one, it sounds so lacking in the second book. The introduction of a love triangle just gives me a sense of uncomfortable feeling. WHY? And that's so unfortunate that the ending was so.. open. I do hope Brown writes a third, just so you get your questions answered! I'll look into more reviews of this one to decided whether or not I want to read it. Thanks for your thoughts though, Maja!

  13. I've had that experience where I can find no true fault with a story's execution, but it just doesn't connect with me for whatever reason. This is on the very very back burner for me, and hearing that it doesn't provide enough resolution and has you wanting more from another book or a novella makes me wary of spending time on it. Thanks for your honest, thoughtful review Maja!


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