Published: 18 July 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Fantasy/Young Adult/Science Fiction/Historical Fiction
Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.
In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.
Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.
But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
Rating: 5 Stars
Magic, magic in danger, Old New York, time travel…all story elements that piqued my interest.
Time travel is an amazing storytelling device. Sometimes it can be confusing, such as when potential paradoxes pop up or the varying ways timelines can change. While I was a bit thrown at first in The Last Magician, what with Esta’s timeline hopping ability being demonstrated early on and the early 1900’s being introduced via Dolph, I hit my stride quickly for which I was very thankful. After a couple of chapters time became easier to separate, people became easier to identify, that sort of thing.
One thing that I really liked that helped set up the kind of time travel we were dealing with in Maxwell’s book was that when Esta travels back to 1902, she has a newspaper clipping that she had concealed before travelling. Through the changes in it, we get the idea that the past is fluid and her actions are still affecting the future she’s hoping to return to. This had been alluded to by an earlier event, but it really strikes home for Esta when she travels back further than she ever has before.
I liked finding out the motivations of the cast. everyone’s motivations. Esta’s and Harte’s were, of course, the primary ones to advance the reader, but there is still a lot to be said for the others, such as Dolph, Jack, etc. Even those who’s purpose wasn’t quite glaringly vital to story line A still held up the supports of the novel well.
The different affinities were interesting to find out as well. Magic is so integral and there’s a very real fear about it disappearing forever, but there’s also not a 100% reliance on it. Esta, for example, was taught to be a thief without her magic before she learned to work her affinity into her work. Harte learned to use effects in his act, such as false thumbs to hide pins. One of the few things I would have liked to add to the book as an extra would’ve been a table at the end that listed everyone’s affinity because sometimes it became difficult to remember who could do what because they also had such amazing skills that weren’t magical at all.
The Magician as a character was another great character. So many assumptions, so many ideas had about this character and I had my suspicions about their identity. It was such an engaging thread to follow through the story, waiting to see when it would finally connect to all the others.
Lisa Maxwell found a great way to weave a long story (500 pages in my edition) into a pleasant, lose yourself in the pages way. It was almost heartbreaking to put this book down at the end, but reading it this long after publication means I don’t have to wait as long for book two, The Devil’s Thief, due out in October.
I’ve joined Lisa Maxwell’s street team for The Devil’s Thief, so be sure to check back for new material to be shared and news about this latest book in the Last Magician series.