3.01.2013

Book Review: Illusion by Frank Peretti

In general, I'm a big Frank Peretti fan. Considering he takes his time publishing new work, it's always quite an event when I discover his latest book on the shelf. When I do, life gets put on hold and I pull an all-night-er or two as I devour the thing (with doors locked and checked twice, lots of lights on, and snuggled up close to Josh while gripping a baseball bat - because, hey, his books are creepy and get me "deliciously scared," as Anne Shirley would say).

That being said, this particular novel wasn't my favorite.

Illusion, by Frank Peretti

Without giving away too much, Illusion opens with a car crash involving a husband-and-wife magic act who are nearing retirement. The wife is killed in the accident, and the husband tries to move on with his life. He soon bumps into a 19-year-old aspiring magician who bears an uncanny resemblance to his wife's younger self. Her resemblance to his late wife, inexplicable magical abilities, and mysterious identity and past fascinate him and lead him to become her professional mentor. As she tries to piece together her own history, she finds herself strangely drawn to him too. Throw in a few sinister dudes lurking in the shadows, a science experiment gone horribly wrong, and some jargon about physics and time travel, and you have a fairly engaging and entertaining novel.

I guess what left me a bit disappointed was the fact that the story, while giving you a definite "what in the world is going on here?" vibe, isn't exactly scary or allegorical like I've come to expect from Peretti. It's primarily a love story (inspired by Peretti's relationship with his own wife), and it also touches on themes of the dangers of science without ethics, and Christ pursuing His bride in the midst of a lost and sinful world. It was interesting, and the love story was sweet, but I prefer reading Peretti doing what he does best - spiritual allegories set in hair-raising, creepy thrillers, and this just wasn't one of those. It also felt a bit disjointed at times: the descriptions of the magic tricks were drawn out and repetitive; and the references to God, church, the Bible, and spiritual issues in general were inserted rather awkwardly (especially considering he usually weaves those themes in so seamlessly and powerfully).

So, if you're already a Peretti fan, you might want to pick this up just to see what he does with a different sort of genre. But if you're just discovering his work, I'd recommend one - or all - of the following fantastic books instead:

The Oath
House (co-authored with Ted Dekker)
This Present Darkness
Piercing the Darkness 
The Visitation


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I'm now reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I've listened to the entire audio book before, but I wanted to read a physical copy for myself. Maybe one day I'll blog about the recent movie version of the musical - oh how I loved it... but I've already blathered on enough for one day... and believe me, I'll be blathering on and on about that

What are YOU reading?