Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: Born of Corruption

Born of Corruption by Teri Brown
Born of Illusion 1.5 (novella)
Published May 6th 2014 by Balzer + Bray


Returning to the atmospheric and mysterious Jazz Age world of Born of Illusion, Teri Brown's Born of Corruption is a 64-page companion digital novella about what happens when New York City's most notorious socialites, mobsters, and bootleggers get together for a larger-than-life scavenger hunt . . . and someone gets killed.

Cynthia Gaylord, a vivacious blonde flapper and the niece of one of the most infamous mob bosses in New York City, loves scavenger hunts, and the one she's putting together for her best friend Anna's going-away party is going to be the swankiest one ever. But then, Anna Van Housen is no ordinary friend. She is reputed to be Harry Houdini's illegitimate daughter and a magician of the first order—and she possesses psychic powers.

Before Anna leaves for a European tour with her vaudeville company, Cynthia throws open the doors of her Gramercy Park mansion for a giant bash, but when one of the guests turns up dead, Cynthia and Anna must join forces to discover the truth. Who is the mysterious dead man? And which of Cynthia's guests could have killed him? Cynthia's relatives in the mob? Or someone related to the Society for Psychical Research, a shadowy group with a dangerous history? Cynthia and Anna have to find out who done it before the coppers are called in . . . something both Cynthia and Anna are eager to avoid.
*An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.*
This is a mini-review (of sorts) since Born of Corruption clocks in at around 60 pages but I still wanted to share my thoughts on it.  I'd really enjoyed the first book, Born of Illusion so I was looking forward to returning to Anna and her New-York flapper lifestyle.  Born of Corruption is meant to bridge the gap between book 1 and it's sequel Born of Deception that just came out so i figured now was the perfect time to dig in.

Born of Corruption mixes things up a bit - it's not told from our usual MC Anna's perspective but instead is told from Cynthia's.  Fans of Born of Illusion will remember Cynthia as one of Anna's friends, who incidentally has family ties to the Mob.  With Anna heading out to London soon, Cynthia decides to throw her a posh going-away party, in the form of a scavenger hunt around NYC.  The party gets cut short though when guests start dropping dead like flies.  Now Cynthia, Anna and the remaining, living, guests have to figure out who's responsible - the Mob, The Society for Psychical Research...or could it be someone else entirely?

On the plus side, it was fun to return to New York in the roaring 20's, even for a short while and it was an added bonus to get to see Anna from another character's perspective.  I always find that seeing the MC through someone else's eyes adds insight and depth to an already well-fleshed out character.  I found myself liking Anna even more than I already had.  I also enjoyed getting Cynthia's thoughts and perspective on things.  She's very different from Anna but I can see why the two of them became fast friends; they complement each other's personalities nicely.

The downside of some novellas though is that, after reading absolutely fantastic ones like The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas and Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor, you get used to novellas doing more than they used to, adding layers to the plot and scope to the world at hand.  Sadly, Born of Corruption reads like the novellas we were used to, before Maas and Taylor changed the game forever. What I mean to say is that, while entertaining enough, Born of Corruption isn't necessary reading material.  It's a enjoyable and quick read, but not much beyond that.

I think Born of Corruption is a entertaining way to get back in the swing of things and get ready for Born of Deception.  My only other complaint is that when the villain is finally uncovered, he does the usual ''bad guy speech where he reveals all his plans to the MC because he thinks he's home free'' -thing. I mean I get that it's a way for the reader to connect the dots, but I wish sometimes the heroes would just find proof to what the bad guy was up to in another way, and save us from this all-too familiar plot device.  Nitpicking aside, I had fun with this one and it definitely got me in the mood for book two!  Fans of Born of Illusion will no doubt enjoy this quick romp with the flappers in New York before heading out to London ;)

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

4 comments:

  1. This is a great reminder that I still need to read Born of Illusion! I hope I get to it soon because it sounds so interesting. I'm glad the novella was enjoyable, although I totally see your point about how the Throne of Glass novellas are a totally different thing and amazing for it. Great review!

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    1. I had enjoyed Born of Illusion a lot when I read it, I hope you will too and I hope the sequel continues to impress :) Yeah, it's like the ToG and DoS&B novellas really raised the bar to a whole other level, now anything less seems a bit...underwhelming! Thanks Charlene!!

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  2. Heh, I like that you consider this a "mini" review. It's still longer than my regular reviews! :) Also, yeah I totally know what you mean when you say that the Maas and Taylor novellas kind of ruined other novellas for you. Though in my case I'm pretty sure I was never hugely impressed with novellas even before Maas and Taylor came along. I've just always needed MORE from them to truly love the reading experience. But hey, quick enjoying reads definitely have their place, too! Great job with this "mini" review :)

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    1. LOL! I was *supposed* to be a mini review...but I failed. I am notoriously long-winded xD Nah, I never really LOVED novellas either, but I enjoy them when I NEED more in a series heh. In this post Maas and Taylor reality (dun, dun DUN) I felt a bit underwhelmed.

      :P

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