Born of Deception: Born of Illusion, Book 2

Book review by
Julie A. Carlson, Common Sense Media
Born of Deception: Born of Illusion, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Stylish mystery has black magic, romance in '20s London.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This time around, Anna's not in New York but in London, and readers will get a sense of English life and society through Anna's journey. Anna's also on her own for the first time in her life, in a traveling theater show without her mother by her side. But she has plenty of people -- from coworkers to new friends -- to count on. She also has to count on herself. Anna travels by boat, cab, train, and the Tube. From London she travels with her theater troupe to Poland and Hungry. Sadly, these places are never shown, but readers do get to experience London and Paris through Anna's eyes. The secondary plot in Born of Deception is a murder mystery that both Anna and Cole are trying to investigate. Historical figures, such as Zelda Fitzgerald and Harry Houdini, are mentioned, and Aleister Crowley makes an appearance. 

Positive Messages

Strong messages about the importance of friendship and trusting others; sticking up for yourself and helping others in times of need; and how lying is wrong, can catch up to you, and especially hurts others. If you live on your own, then watch your surroundings, be street-smart, keep track of your finances, and don't be afraid to rely on friends and family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Anna Van Housen continues to be a fantastic and fun heroine. She's spunky, kind, and funny. But she also feels real, especially when it comes to her feelings for Cole -- and her worry that he might be attracted to other women. Cole also is a great role model. He loves Anna, is devoted to her, and protects her at all costs. As events unfold, however, he's not often around. This frustrates Anna, but she knows he's trying to figure out the murder of his friend and a missing person. He's serious and analytical, which Anna believes will make him a good a detective -- what he wants to be. Leandra and Harrison, an older couple who help Anna solve the mystery, also are admirable.


There's some violence, including kidnapping, being bound and gagged, and ritualistic murder. A dead body is described, there's hand-to-hand combat, and black magic is used to physically hurt and kill. 


Flirting, hugging, and a few brief and passionate kisses. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Anna and secondary characters have alcohol at a party in London. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Teri Brown's Born of Deception is the sequel to Born of Illusion. This time around, psychic and magician Anna Van Housen is on her own with a theater troupe in London and discovers a murder mystery she can help solve. There's a bit of violence (hand-to-hand combat, description of ritualistic murder, and black magic) and romance (a few kissing scenes) but no strong language.

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What's the story?

Anna Van Housen travels to London to perform her magic act with a new theater troupe. She's also in the city to meet a group of underground psychics like herself to learn how to control her powers. Upon her arrival, she meets up with her British boyfriend, Cole, from whom she's been separated for two months. She's happy to be back in his arms and performing her magic for the first time without her mother. But when Pratik, a young man from the psychic group, is murdered, Cole and Anna both try to figure out who killed him. While Cole hones his detective skills, Anna befriends a young man in the theater group and a couple of women among the psychics but becomes jealous of the ladies' attention to Cole. Jealousy starts to cloud Anna's judgment, including her own investigation into Pratik's brutal murder and her own safety.

Is it any good?

BORN OF DECEPTION is a great follow-up to Born of Illusion. Readers will thoroughly enjoy Anna's adventures on her own in the big city of London. Although they'll miss Anna figuring out she's Harry Houdini's illegitimate daughter (as she did in the first book) and New York, there are plenty of interesting new situations and locales in the sequel.

Born of Deception moves at a fast pace. The mystery keeps both readers and Anna on their toes. It's a solid whodunit with flair and style similar to the first book. Anna's charm, sparkling wit, strong personality, and will to fight for the man she loves and solve the mystery will keep readers turning the pages. Born of Deception has enough romance, history, secrets, and supernatural elements to appeal to all ages. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how jealousy can get the better of you and cloud your thinking, especially leading you to trust -- or mistrust -- the wrong people. Has this ever happened to you?

  • Many current teen novels are set during the 1920s and have supernatural elements. Do you enjoy reading about this period? What about the 1920s interests you? Do you like the added elements of the supernatural and paranormal? 

  • Occultist Aleister Crowley is portrayed in Born of Deception as a strange, intelligent man who's been mischaracterized as a satanist. Who was Aleister Crowley? Why were his beliefs so controversial? 

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