Illusion: A Novel

by Frank Peretti

Hardcover, 2012



Call number



Howard Books (2012), Edition: 1, 512 pages

Original publication date



A grieving husband encounters a teen identical to his dead wife-- in face, name, and magical skills.


Original language


Physical description

512 p.; 9 inches


1439192677 / 9781439192672

User reviews

LibraryThing member BooksCooksLooks
This is a mind bender of a novel.

Dane and Mandy are a famous magic act - until Mandy is killed in a fiery car accident. Or is she. As Dane mourns her loss Mandy finds herself - her 19 year old self - living in the present but with the memories of the teenager she was. Confused as to all of the
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changes in her world and as to the loss of all she knows Mandy also discovers some very exceptional magical abilities.

Dane moves to Idaho, Mandy's home state as they had planned to do before the accident. There he meets a young woman who reminds him of his beloved dead wife. As he follows her and her magic he starts to wonder - who is she, what is her magic and could she be his dead wife?

There is a lot to keep track of in this book; it is not one you can slack off on while you read. At times I must admit it got a little convoluted but the overall concept is really quite fantastical and it comes together at the end with a truly wild show. You can't help but fall for a love story as strong as Dane and Mandy's and you long for it to survive even death. While some of the scenes went on a bit too long and were a touch repetitive it is certainly a book worth reading.
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LibraryThing member retha.groenewald.56
Absolutely great. The two worlds impact each other in the same way our lives are impacted by the spiritual realm. These books portrays the love Jesus has for His Bride, and Jesus being our Saviour in such a beautiful way.
LibraryThing member Glenajo
Another Excellent Book from Peretti

A fiery care wreck causes the death of Mandy the female member of the magic team of Dane and Mandy, leaving Dane alone for the first time in 40 years. Eloise awakes on a fairground under a tree with memories of the 70s. After escaping from a mental ward, Eloise
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moves to Idaho where she meets Dane, who then hones her magician skills and starts her on the road to stardom. Eloise learns to manipulate time and space, rapidly increasing her magician skills. Dane and Eloise begin to notice idiosyncrasies in the information they receive from others, starting them both on a collision course with the truth and a rash group of scientists who are attempting to manipulate time.

After a slow, disjointed start, I could not put Illusion down. As usual, peretti tells a story through a mist that delays the reader piecing the puzzle together until the very end, leaving the reader wanting to read the book again just to see if clues were missed the first time through. The book has an eerie sense of doom hanging over the characters as they attempt to put their lives back together and the reader does not know who is good or bad. It takes a while for the plot line to congeal, but it is definitely a great read. The major characters rely on their faith to uphold them through their trials, but the story itself questions how scientists attempt to play God themselves. This book is highly enjoyable for those who enjoy less extreme science fiction with lots of technical elements thrown in. Overall, another excellent book from Peretti.

Received Galley from
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LibraryThing member Draak
I just can't get enough Frank Peretti and this book is another hit. Dane and Mandy are a magic act and have been married for 40 years until one day they are in a fiery car crash that takes Mandy's life or did it? Dane goes on with his life grieving over losing Mandy while in another place Mandy
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wakes up at the fairgrounds where she met Dane as a teeneager. The only problem is Mandy is once again 19 years old with memories of the 70's and the year is now 2010.

This book is such a thrill ride and in Frank Peretti fashion keeps you guessing with an ending that has you on the edge of your seat. The characters are well written and I fell in love with Dane and Mandy. Frank Peretti does not disappoint and this book is a must read. I won this from Goodreads.
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LibraryThing member ReviewsFromTheHeart
My all time favorite author just released his latest book, so what do I do the moment it arrives? I inhale it, slowly like my all time favorite meal. Why? you ask would you read it slowly, because it may be a long time before another novel this great comes out again, so I want to savor it and make
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it last as long as I possibly can. So who is this great author that has inspired me to write in this same type of genre since reading his first book, This Present Darkness? Well that would be Frank Peretti!!!

He's the Christian equivalent of Stephen King, master at words and being able to draw the reader in slowly and keeping them engaged until the final page is turned and you sigh. Not because you are finished but because it was that good and you want to read it again.

Illusion is the latest novel by Frank Peretti and it was just as great as anything he has ever written, after all this time, like fine wine, it's only gotten better.

Illusion is a story involving a couple of twisted but masterfully woven story lines, the foremost begins in the first chapter and Mandy Collins, the fifty-nine year old wife of Dane Collins and the second half of the magic act, Dane and Mandy, is in a horrible car accident. While the accident has left Dane battered and bruised, Mandy is burned to bad to recover and so he is making final preparations to say good bye to his partner and wife as she's about to be whisked away for organ donation. It is here that the story begins and starts to twist.

As Dane tries to understand how his life will go on without Mandy in it, she miraculously appears at a county fair only now she is nineteen. She believes the year is 1970 but in reality its 2010 and she has lost 40 years of her life. Disorientated and feeling lost and wearing only a hospital gown, she struggles with reality until she is picked up by concerned citizens at the fair who turn her over to the police. Not knowing what to tell them, she tries to explain what she knows but that only ends up making her more confused and the police believe she is a mental patient and thus put her in hospital to determine her mental condition. Trying to find a way out of the mental ward, she begins to see an image of a farm, with white picket fence and three aspen trees as though she can see through the walls. Upon walking toward that scene, she realizes that no one can see her and she slips quietly out of the hospital. It is then she realizes she has unusual powers and is drawn back into the world of magic where she feels she has lived a life before.

Dane is released from the hospital to make funeral arrangements from his wife along with the warning from Dr. Kessler that due to his post traumatic stress disorder after losing his wife, and being on strong pain medications and muscle relaxers, he should call her if he should find himself thinking he has seen his wife. However normal it might feel, she isn't real.

I received Illusion by Frank Peretti compliments of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and can't tell you just how great it is. A combination of suspense, magic and romance, Frank Peretti could have ended this novel any number of ways and I am so thrilled he chose the ending he did. This one rates a permanent home in my personal library and give it the highest rating of 5 out of 5 stars. I have to tell you once this arrived in my home, it was a struggle to be the first to read it in my family, now I must regretfully turn it over to my daughter who will fall in love with this story within the first chapter and will be held captive in the world of mystery and wonder of magic.
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LibraryThing member TracyAllen
FANTASTIC! This was a goodreads win for me a couple months ago and I sat down read it and then re-read it again! I cannot say enough good stuff about this book! It was such a wonderful, magic, fragments in space and time.....Wonderful! Close to being my favorite book I have EVER read!
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Looking forward to reading other novels by Frank Peretti! Go out and get a copy ASAP!
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LibraryThing member hanner.da.nanner
Illusion by New York Times Bestselling author Frank Peretti was frankly, a bit of a letdown for me. Peretti has long been one of my favorite authors in the area of Christian fiction, always dazzling me with suspense, mystery, and a deeper meaning in his work. This time however, I was very
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I found this book to be quite boring actually. It seemed to never quite draw me in the way that some of his previous books have. I think that one of reasons I didn’t quite get into it was the characters. They were all very flat, and also very forgettable. I think that in order for this to be a stronger story, the characters need to be a bit more dynamic.
Another thing that I didn’t really care for in this book was how the dialogue and storyline seemed to jump around from person to person/perspective to perspective. I normally don't mind these kind of breaks, but in this book I found them to be a bit confusing at times.
I did like the authors added note in the back of the book, relaying the less obvious but deeper meanings that can be found in this book. I think that it was a great move to put that in there, and will give readers something to ponder on after they have read this book.
I also enjoyed the basic storyline in this book, the sort of science fiction with a twist. It was very refreshing compared to the normal science fiction story lines that have been storming the shelves lately.
Although this book didn’t meet my expectations, I would say that this book was an OK book overall. I would recommend this to someone who enjoys a mystery, with just a touch of science fiction!
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LibraryThing member autumnblues
A soulmate connection transcending space and time.

In Illusion, Mandy is the perfect character. I couldn't imagine who would be more perfect for this role than a magician. The author Peretti worked his own magic, weaving this tale. I felt Illusion started out a little slow but picked up momentum as
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the chapters moved forward. What I was totally not expecting were the twists and turns I encountered throughout the story. The story felt as if it was gliding along the lines of a past life experience yet the story did not go that way at all.

As Mandy sits against a tree at County Fair, she suddenly has a strange feeling that leaves as soon as it arrives, yet it has left her different. It dosen't take Mandy long to realize her reality has changed and now, as she runs around the fair in barefoot and in a hospital gown, she can't find anything that looks familiar or anyone she knows, not her friends not her father, who she knew was at the livestock building with his llamas. Soon Mandy finds herself in a hospital psyche ward trying to convince the staff she is not crazy and from there things only get stranger and stranger.

Illusion has a little bit of everything in it; love, joy, faith, suspense, mystery and a nice touch of science fiction which I found to be the most interesting and my favorite touch. This book is not lightweight as it has 512 pages yet I found myself reading it rather quickly once I got started. The writers prose is easy on the eyes which makes for comfortable reading.

Filled with mystery and intrigue this love story will leave you in awe as Dane and Mandy reconnect after Mandy has moved back in time and is now 40 years younger. It leaves the reader with full awareness of what it may feel like to meet ones soulmate from a different generation, yet not be able to connect due to an age difference.

Toward the end of the book one comes across some real anticipation as the story peaks to a crescendo leaving one wondering what may happen during the great illusion Mandy is getting ready to perfom. At this point Mandy has now learned the truth about her life and is left with only one option, an option that may end her life instantly. What will happen to Mandy? Will she and Dane lose each other for good or will they be reunited and continue to live the rest of their life together?
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LibraryThing member jenniferbogart
When I was asked to review a PDF copy of Frank Perretti’s latest release, Illusion, how could I say no? It was Perretti after all. It was essentially accepted sight (and plot) unseen and unknown. In all honesty, I was a bit surprised.

When stage magician Dane loses his wife Mandy and magic partner
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of forty years, he is understandably devastated. What is less understandable however, is when he meets a young woman who so deeply resembles his wife when he first met her that its frightening.

Dane soon finds himself plunged into a mystifying world of cutting-edge, secretive science research (read: science fiction) as he tries to unweave the tangles surrounding the arrival of this young woman in his life. I can’t really say more than that without doing some major plot reveals, but let’s just say it’s pretty out there.

Long-time readers of Perretti might be surprised by the main-stream writing style that is present throughout the book – there isn’t a lot of faith thrown into the mix, as with his previous works.

In all honesty, I’m not sure I would have accepted a review copy if I’d known so much of the book would revolve around stage magic, tricks, theatrics, and the like. At times it even seemed a bit occultish (but don’t worry, there is a sci-fi explanation for the events, even if it is complicated and hard to follow even for an experienced sci-fi reader).

The writing is still engaging, mysterious, with a good dose of, “What’s going on here?” It’s a clean read, but not one with a significant spiritual message.

Reviewed at
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LibraryThing member srearley
I can't decide if I want to give this 1 star or 4 stars. I think I'm going to go with 2, which is too bad.

I enjoyed about 75% of this book, the other 25% annoyed me greatly.

The premise was fascinating, and I was invested in the main characters.

At one time, I think I probably knew that Peretti was
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considered a Christian author, but I had forgotten it. If I had remembered I might not have even picked this up. But I did, and while I noticed the "it's a God thing" type comments throughout the first part of the book, these were just part of who the characters were and that was fine with me -- they worked and felt natural.

But then, at the end of the book, as we started to hit the climax, it was like the author suddenly remember "Hey! I'm a Christian author!" and thought maybe he'd better throw in some more "God" stuff and it completely brought me out of the story. That was the point at which I stopped reading and flipped to the back flap to see if that had any clues to what was going on.

I did finish the book, but with a lot less goodwill toward the author, and I skimmed the end, just to finish.

Now, don't get me wrong: it's not that I object to the inclusion of prayer and references to the character's beliefs and spirituality, my problem was with the really kludgy way that I felt it was handled in this particular book. I was left frustrated because all I can think of is how much I disliked the end of the book, when I had spent the first part of the book thinking it was so great.
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LibraryThing member StarrK
My first response after finishing Illusion was “Dude that was awesome!” What an amazing ride and great re-meeting with one of the most prolific writers of my time. Before I really get to my review, I have to make a confession. This review is completely biased because I am a huge Peretti fan and
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I will always read whatever he writes. Whatever he writes. He truly is a storytelling guru. I have been waiting –sometimes patiently and sometimes not - for his next book. When given the opportunity to review Illusion, I literally jumped for the chance. (No it wasn’t a requirement, but I couldn’t contain my excitement.) I danced a crazy jig when I came home to the package sitting on my porch. It was moved immediately to the top of my reading list. I am not trying to offend any other authors or anything, but Peretti has a special place in my heart. I was introduced to him at the beginning of my high school career, at a time when I could have given up on reading. Instead, Peretti pulled me into his world book after book, and I have not been the same since. Okay… moving on…
Illusion is not your typical Peretti book, and for me that makes it even better. Some fans will not appreciate the change, but I think it marks growth as a writer and that should be much appreciated. Going back to the beginning, Peretti has covered subjects such as spiritual warfare, false prophets and the myths of Bigfoot. In Illusion, he tackles the discoveries of science and the possibilities that will come from that. Dane and Mandy is a beautiful and tragic story. It is simultaneously a hurting man reaching out for one last glimpse of the love of his life and a scientist whose experiment spiraled out of control. There is always that unspoken question of is he crazy and grasping for the last hope or is it really happening. Science can be a beautiful thing, but as always, when man twists it for his own purposes something horrible happens.
I immensely enjoyed reading Illusion; there is nothing that I can say that will capture everything that I feel about this book, and about Peretti himself. He is an author that always amazes me and the only thing I can do is sit back in awe of the masterful piece that has sprung from his fingertips. I enjoyed the glimpse into the heart and soul of Dane and Mandy. I love the fact that even though what has happened was a grown man’s science experiment gone wrong, science is still respected. Sometimes humans go further than they should, challenging boundaries and the scope of their capabilities. Science tends to always lay any moral reservation until a fatal mistake is made. But it is the redeeming quality of Illusion that even in the most tense and dire situations, there is a way out. Yes, it is not your typical story, but it is still captivating and skillfully written. I can only hope that there will not be such a long wait for Peretti’s next book.

A copy of this book was given to me freeof charge, in exchange for my honest review.
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LibraryThing member picardyrose
He's 59, she's 19. Creepy.
LibraryThing member ChanceMaree
In one sense, books are like cakes--the recipe may be more enticing than the taste. Magic, time travel, mature love and teenage confusion (strange mix, but Peretti made it work without being too creepy), mad scientists, doves, etc. Decent writing for the most part, but too choppy and disjointed at
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"Illusion" provides nothing too challenging to ponder. Even the villains were a bit bland. Yes, poor soul Mandy thrown for a loop, and then having to figure life out in a decadent and evil world. (But not too decadent, and she gets lots of help.) Prayer, God and church were inserted like jelly beans every once in awhile, as much for background as breakfast and lunch--they get the characters through the day, even if the morsel is as appetizing as a bit of fast food.

I'd given the novel four stars for the wonderful descriptions of multiple timeline existence alone. However, I can't bring myself to give four stars to a book that I kept wanting to end already. Seriously, it is 150 pages too long. For example, pages and pages of Mandy's magic act. One or two, okay, but they went on and on. I love watching magic, but the true wonder is in the trick on the eyes. Through reading, my imagination has been taken to distant planets, beheld fantasy worlds with mighty wizards, marveled at the words of real magicians such as Houdini, Penn & Teller, and Derren Brown. Those pages and pages of cute coins and spinning hulu loops became boring. The story didn't create a world I enjoyed dwelling in for that long. Dane was depressing, Mandy was interesting--all the other characters are highly forgettable. The time machine concept, I liked.

Still, I know folks who will love this novel, and I'll give my copy. For modern Christian literature, this is one of the better novels I've read.
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LibraryThing member NickAngelis
Sigmund Brower, Ted Dekker, Bill Myers--they're all excellent authors, but no one can compare to the masterful Frank Peretti when he has a story to tell, and this convoluted tale stretches the reader to the limits of all that is sane and reasonable in the world. Stories about magicians can easily
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fail (e.g. "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone") but Peretti keeps his tale relevant and engaging. As always I was drawn to the anesthesia and hospital references and found the author's uses of monitors, equipment, and propofol to be reasonably close to the ways things actually work.
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LibraryThing member Robin661
Illusion: A Novel
Frank Peretti

Book Summary: 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
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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.

Review: I love Frank Peretti’s writing style. His characters are very realistic. Illusion had all of that and more. For me I found the beginning very difficult because it was one tragedy after another. Dane lost his wife in a car accident; Mandy/Eloise loses her father, mother and essentially her life. I found for me that there was a lot of magic and I found that to take up a lot of the book. While interesting for a while it became stale. The relationship between Dane & Mandy/Eloise was difficult and challenging. There was a lot of mystery where I felt like I was missing essential information to sort through any of the events going on. The ending had a lot of wrap up that placated the events for me I just was not sure I could buy it. I feel very sad that I did not enjoy it more and some of it may be the hype I had about the return of Frank Peretti. I do believe I will read his next book and more than anything I am glad that he is better from his illness of the past. It is for that I am most happy with.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Howard Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
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LibraryThing member storeyonastory
Frank Peretti has authored eight Christian novels over his career. His most recent release, Illusion, is an amazing science fiction mystery with twists and turns that will keep your imagination churning. The science behind the fiction and the taint of governmental involvement serve to develop quite
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a nefarious conspiracy theory.
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LibraryThing member debs4jc
I enjoyed the imaginative plot about a magician named Dane (illusionist) who loses his wife Mandy in a car crash. He goes to the house they shared in the country to regroup--only to encounter a teenage girl who looks a lot like his wife when he first met her--fifty years ago. Meanwhile we are also
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following the point of view of the teenage girl (Mandy)--who was in the 1970's one minute and our present the next. Some sort of mystery underlies it all and Dane and Mandy have to figure it out or they will lose one another all over again. I didn't enjoy some of Peretti's writing--he likes to layer on the metaphors which gets really distracting. I did like the vivid description that brought the different illusions to life and the adventurous nature of the plot. If you enjoy a good heartwarming yarn and aren't as concerned about the writing or getting in deep with the characters this one makes for a fun read or listen. BTW, Peretti reads the audio version and it takes a while to get used to his voice. He's not a polished voice actor and while his enthusiasm comes through his voice is not like most other narrators.
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LibraryThing member joeydag
Pretty engaging SF, Christian romance involving magicians and government mayhem. An odd mix but it was okay. I'm not sure I will another by this author though.
LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
Quite a suspenseful read: The wife of a magician dies in a car accident and reappears as her 1970s self in 2010. She's drawn to the same area where her former husband has purchased a farm. When their paths cross again, their love has transcended time. The husband then unravels the mystery to find
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out why she seems so much like the girl he met in the 70s (who eventually became his wife.)
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LibraryThing member whitewavedarling
I have to admit that this didn't even come close to living up to my expectations. I've been hearing about Christian Horror as a sub-genre of Horror for years, and had heard Peretti was the name to try. But, in all honesty, I wouldn't label this book as horror. It's more along the lines of science
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fiction, and although I enjoy science fiction also... I honestly wouldn't have read this book if the blurb had done a better job of telling me what it was about. So, that said...

Illusion revolves around a much-used science fiction trope that, generally, I avoid. It's hard to do well, frustrating when it goes wrong, and generally gets lost in some element of confusion if an author isn't really careful. Have I seen it done well and loved the books related to it? Absolutely. Here, it devolved into confusion and a lack of clarity. If I'd cared more about the characters or the story, or believed it would be worth my time to slow down, re-read passages as needed, and puzzle it out, maybe it would have been possible, but I have a feeling that the author was purposefully bringing in ambiguity, jargon, and confusion as a cover for a trope/phenomenon that needed to be treated more carefully than he was willing to go to the lengths of doing. Does that sound harsh? Maybe, but if you can't tell already, I was really frustrated when I realized the trope this book revolved around and discovered that I wasn't reading a horror novel at all.

Of course, the central trope isn't the only problem. The plot itself, once the trope became clear, was frustratingly predictable, from how it played out on through the final outcome. The characters were also somewhat flat. I wanted to like the male protagonist, but he just wasn't strong or developed enough for me to truly get engaged with him. And the woman wavered between being boring and overly simple, right up until the very end (at which point she got more interesting, but in a way that didn't necessarily match what had already been written of her character). All told, the book was well-written enough and there were moments when I wanted to keep turning pages... but there were many, many, many more moments when I simply kept reading because I was traveling, and it was the only book I had at my disposal. I also have a hard time abandoning books, admittedly, and was hoping this one would get better. It did, barely, but not enough to make up for my trudging through 500 pages.

So, no, I wouldn't recommend this book.

I'm willing to give Christian Horror another shot, of course, but it won't be through this author unless someone I trust can recommend an exact book of his that they'd vouch for being worthwhile.
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LibraryThing member impactwriter
Finished Frank Peretti's "Illusion" last night. Fascinating novel. Very complex (and I think that is an understatement). This is his best work, I believe. Definitely unlike anything that he has ever written before.
LibraryThing member Triduana
I'm not really sure what to make of this book. I really enjoyed the first half and the way the story developed, and was intrigued as to which direction the story would go. Maybe some of the descriptions of events at the magic shows were over-long but it was well written. Then when the reasons for
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Mandy's abilities were revealed I started to lose interest, and in the final magic scene it lost all credibility for me. I'm not sure I would read another book by this author.
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