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Behind Every Illusion

Behind Every Illusion is Christina Harner’s debut book, the first novel in a new YA fantasy series. (Sorry, I wasn't able to get a picture in time for my posting.)

The focus is on Tatiana, a very timid, introverted teenager who is on the brink of her eighteenth birthday and college. Her shyness in social interactions causes her some serious anxiety about leaving home, but it helps that she’ll be going to the same college as her older sister, Bethany, and her (slightly) younger brother, Isaac.

Her siblings, especially her kindred spirit Isaac, hold a special bond with her since their parent’s death when she was only 11. But only Isaac knows just how horrifying that experience was to Tatiana, as she had had a feeling that her parent’s wouldn’t be coming back from their trip, and was unsuccessful in convincing them to stay home.

Isaac has always been convinced Tatiana was special since that day she told him, and when Tatiana’s 18th birthday passes, she must admit he may be right. But to her, there’s nothing “special” about it.

Physical and mental changes begin to occur, and Tatiana is terrified as each day she seems to become less and less human. But that’s not possible, right? Her parent’s were human, so she must be human.

But as time goes by and it only gets worse and she must work harder and harder to hide her differences, Tatiana can’t help wonder: What is she becoming?

And more importantly: Why?

Now, before giving you my personal opinion of Behind Every Illusion, I need to let you know that the ARC I received was a copy that hadn’t had final edits made. A large portion of the novel ended up being cut out in order for it to be more brisk and faster to action.

So, even though I did find the novel to be a bit slow in the beginning, I would most likely say to ignore that comment because this has probably been changed.

More importantly, even if the beginning of Behind Every Illusion is still a tad slow I implore all of you: BE PATIENT.

Why? Because after a while of feeling a bit distant towards the character and the plot, waiting for some action to occur, and wondering if maybe there was a bit too much telling and not enough showing – I soon forgot all of these early criticisms.

Christina Harner’s lovely writing ability comes across as she little by little lets you grow accustomed to Tatiana, to her nuances, to her quiet personality. Behind Every Illusion is less about super-powers and more about the reality: What would you ACTUALLY do if you started looking majorly different – less human – and began to have abilities that aren’t “normal”? Would you make yourself a batgirl costume and start saving the world at night?

When you think about it, you know you’d want to hide it. You’d be freaked out and scared. And if you were already shy in the first place? Yeah, that’d be torture.

So, what we have in Behind Every Illusion is more of a character-driven fantasy.

That’s not to say, however, that some massive things don’t happen. I take my hat off to Christina Harner, who really managed to SHOCK me at least three separate times in the course of the novel. I mean, wow. I was not expecting certain things to happen AT ALL.

By the end of Behind Every Illusion, I had really come to appreciate the style of Harner’s writing and the subtle build of both characters and plot. The slow but noticeable change in Tatiana’s personality – becoming earthier and other things – was quite fascinating. It was an inside glimpse of a transformation in a way I had never quite experienced in a book before. Christina has a unique way of telling the story, which as time went on, I came to grasp more and more. And to know there will be another book makes me very interested in what will happen next, yet I was still satisfied with the conclusion of this one.

One other note: Behind Every Illusion has a strong environmental focus. I want to let any potential readers out there know that even if you aren’t a big environmental activist or conservationalist, this novel has enough plot and fantasy elements to entertain and interest you anyway. I don’t believe that should impede your enjoyment.

Though it took a bit of patience (which you may not need with the new cuts, mind you), I felt, in the end, it was worth it to enjoy this subdued, yet very charming novel.

HEADS UP: Next week, August 31, you'll have a chance to win EIGHT books!!! Come back and find out how to win! :)


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