Monday Review: Illusion by Frank Peretti


Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was Christian speculative fiction, and it’s name was Frank. Thankfully the Christian publishing world has moved on since then; and so, it seems, has Frank.

Illusion is not your typical Peretti novel. There are no angels and demons, no monsters lurking in the woods waiting to do something horribly symbolic, and no overtly Christian stuff getting in the way of the story. (That’s not to say it gets in the way in his other books, mind; it just might have done here.) No, what you get here is a good old fashioned love story. With a timey-wimey twist, which is of course why I liked it. And like it I did; it may lack the monsters of vintage Peretti, but it’s Peretti doing good writing and telling a good story, so what’s not to love?

If this was sanity, being crazy made a lot more sense.

It’s the story of Dane Collins, magician, recent widower and, coincidentally, Christian. It’s the story of Mandy, innocent victim of time-rift experiments gone awry, illusionist in training and, coincidentally, Christian. It’s the story of the unexpected bond that the two of them form, and of a love that refuses to die.

The author adds in a post-script that it also symbolises being lost in a world where we don’t really belong, seeking comfort from the Holy Spirit as we journey through that world, and the ultimate love of Christ for His church. And, yes, it does symbolise those things, if you look for them. But if you don’t… it still works. It’s a story about people… yes, they happen to be church going magicians, one of whom can actually do magic, as opposed to plain old illusions, but people nonetheless.

illusionAnd all the timey-wimey stuff, while fun for someone like me who enjoys a good bit of paradox-surfing of an evening, is really just a way to twist a love story into something new and… weird. The actual mechanism of the timey-wimey is not explored in minute scientific detail, but that’s ok; there’s enough there to give the idea that someone in the background of the story knows how it should work, but this is not their story.

Illusion is, basically, Frank Peretti back on form. Whether you like time travel, Frank Peretti stories, or wholesome romantic twaddle, this has something for you. Jump on board and hang on for a rollercoaster of a love story.

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