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Book Review: Illusion, by Frank Peretti


Book: Illusion, by Frank Peretti
Author: Frank Peretti
Publisher: Howard Books
Pages: 512 pages

From the back of the book:

Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for forty years, are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life—or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she is confined to a mental ward until she discovers a magical ability to pass invisibly through time and space to escape. Alone in a strange world, she uses her mysterious powers to eke out a living, performing magic on the streets and in a quaint coffee shop. 
Hoping to discover an exciting new talent, Dane ventures into the coffee shop and is transfixed by the magic he sees, illusions that even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain. But more than anything, he is emotionally devastated by this teenager who has never met him, doesn’t know him, is certainly not in love with him, but is in every respect identical to the young beauty he first met and married some forty years earlier.  
They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée, but even as Dane tries to sort out who she really is and she tries to understand why she is drawn to him, they are watched by secretive interests who not only possess the answers to Mandy’s powers and misplacement in time but also the roguish ability to decide what will become of her.  
Frank Peretti has crafted a rich, rewarding story of love and life, loss and restoration, full of twists and mystery. Exceptionally well written, Illusion will soon prove another Peretti classic.

My Review:

True to Frank Peretti's style, Illusion is unusual and mysterious. It is well written for the most part, but at 512 pages it drags out a bit. While the book is true to Peretti's style, I think I've outgrown his style as I've matured and grown in my faith. In my opinion, magic arts and sorceries of any kind have no place being practiced by a true believer. (Revelations 9:21) The cryptic nature of her magic is interesting and is not portrayed as a dark art, but rather as an effect of time travel - that is, until Mandy, the main character, begins to be troubled in her travels during a show in which she levitates. She later begins to see the evil behind her powers, but does not yet understand them.

The symbolism and thematic elements are only hinted at in the book, but Peretti offers a note from the author at the end of the story and explains just what this book is about:
  • Being lost in this weird and sinful world, trying to discover who we are and where we belong. (The main character is lost in that she doesn't know what happened to the world around her.);
  • The deception and lure of this world that we overcome as we reach for heaven, our home; (The deception part is clear, but I'm not sure how the rest applies to the book.);
  • The comforting presence of the Holy Spirit and His quiet assurances that we have a place in this world as well as a holy and eternal destination; (Again, I'm not sure how this applies to the book - the book is about man playing God, defying death, and transcending time.)
  • Our longing and lifelong quest as the bride of Christ to be united with Jesus, our bridegroom. (This book was just not a great picture of that.) 
Now, Peretti's "personal, heart-level reflection" that the story is about the love of his life for forty years  makes sense - this is sci-fi love story, not a Christian book. 

The book has a few redeeming qualities - the man behind the creation of Mandy's powers sacrifices his life for hers, but most importantly it shows the consequence of man trying to play God. 

I've read Frank Peretti's first two novels and found them to be more meaningful and spiritual in nature. I can't say that for his youth novels, nor Illusion. If you are looking for a book that is not spiritual in nature and you like science fiction mysteries, then you might like Illusion.

Giveaway details: {Giveaway has ended} Lynn is the winner of the book.

Are you interested? Intrigued? Want to read it for yourself? I have an Advanced Reader's Edition to give away today!

For a bonus entry, leave me a second comment telling me why you want to win this. {Are you a Frank Peretti fan?}

U.S. shipping only. 
Enter through April 1, 2012, 10pm EST. 
I'll choose a winner using random.org, email the winner, and update this post with the winner's name. The winner will then have 48 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen. 

Disclosure: This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Howard Books, in exchange for an authentic review.

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