I initially read the synopsis of Frank Peretti’s Illusion in April of 2012, and its premise floored me. I had to read it. But as much as I yearned for it, I’d have to wait a few months, for it came on loan from my Mother-in-Law, to whom I’d like to give thanks, and appreciation. After all, every story is a unique experience; they impact us in so many ways, some of which we aren’t made aware of until much later.
That being said, I’d like to firmly state that I would have enjoyed this one much more if it had been well-written, or even mediocre writing. Quite frankly, the writing displayed here is horrible. However, I did get something out of it, and that’s the belief that I can write better than this. And that’s inspiring.
At the heart of Illusion is the story of Dane and Mandy, and their profound love foe each other. They’re also a world-renowned magical act of 40 years (conveniently the duration of their marriage.) But their love isn’t to last… or is it?
From the novel’s opening sentence, the reader is introduced to them in a very tragic, abrupt way: Mandy has just died. Through his grief, Peretti gives us glimpses their character, their marriage, and-seemingly most important-their spellbinding performances. It’s almost as if the duo’s illusions take precedence over their personal relationship, and that of God.
Admittedly, they are Christians, brought up with a firm belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and all He stands for. But Peretti doesn’t take it much further.
Coming from a Christian author, I expected a much more profound message.
Juxtaposed to Dane’s process of mourning is a 19-year-old girl who inexplicably finds herself at a Spokane County fair, only to be transported to mental facility.
Shortly thereafter, “Eloise” escapes by simply bolting from her room, down a corridor, and out the nearest exit. Apparently the authorities (nurses, doctors, technicians, etc..,) could not see her.
Her next move? Eloise relocates to Hayden, Idaho, which happens to be where Dane recently moved to, as well..
After that, she knows exactly where he resides (presumably through communications with God.) Furthermore, the phrase “it’s a God thing” is meant to explain everything, and to be perfectly plausible.
Personally, I didn’t find it believable, and the very notion wreaks of a cop-out. If that had been an isolated occurrence, it probably would have been acceptable, but similar things happen again and again. As a result, the novel loses much of its credibility.
Unbeknownst to them is the fact that they’re being watched by a shady, top-secret group. Now as interesting as this sounds, the sub-plot goes nowhere. In fact, the entourage doesn’t reappear until the last 50-100 pages (though I must say, those were VERY intense; they kept me turning pages until I’d finished.)
One particular element that fascinated and, in turn, compelled me to do a little research, is what’s known as interdimensional displacement.
Here’s a link: http://ashiramedicinewoman.blogspot.c…
Yet another downfall are the characters themselves. Aside from Dane and Mandy, they’re all cardboard flat. I found it increasingly difficult to relate with them. I couldn’t connect at all, actually.
Overall, I enjoyed the endurance of Dane and Mandy’s love, which I believe is symbolic of God’s unconditional love. He willingly goes the distance, in pursuit of us. It doesn’t matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done, or whether we feel worthy of His love. He pursues us because He loves us.