August 18, 2017

Got the Magic in Me • The Last Magician

The Last Magician book cover
In The Last Magician, magic is nearly extinct in modern-day New York, forcing any Mageus - those with magical abilities - to hide who they are and lurk in the shadows. The only way that this bleak future can be changed for the Mageus is if Esta, a talented thief with a knack for pilfering items from the past with help from her innate ability to manipulate time, steals one important book from 1902 - a book that contains all the secrets of the Order, enemy to all Mageus. But when Esta finds herself in old New York, she discovers there's more to this world of gangs, secret societies and potent magic than she expected. It'll be up to her entirely to figure out how to save the future with her choices in this past.

The Last Magician was pretty great. First, the author immerses the reader in a version of Manhattan that flits between the high life of socialites, wealthy men, politicians and secret societies and the streets where the poor congregate and the gangs rule their sections with firm hands, a Manhattan that also happens to be alive with true magic. Second, the tale itself has multiple perspectives, which means both that the reader is actively following a number of storylines and will likely not be entirely sure which is the truest. Third, the writing was the sort that slowly does a number on the reader, where you're in over your head before you know it and can't stop reading (until real life calls your name, perhaps). It is one heck of a story, if I do say so myself.

However, I do have my reservations. First, while the reader does get immersed heavily in the world and story, if you take breaks in between (as I did), it is admittedly a little difficult to return to the flow of the story. Second, I found certain characters better developed (the Magician, Esta) than the rest, with a few feeling entirely entire flimsy or simply thrust in for plot purposes. Third, the explanations of magic and abilities were very vague, if they were expressed at all. Though I can say that improvements could certainly have been made in these areas, they didn't end up deterring me from ultimately finishing the book in the end.
Despite my quibbles, I did enjoy The Last Magician. It's not quite like anything I've ever read, though there are certainly familiar character and plot tropes woven into the tale. I'm actually happy that it's a standalone novel, though should Maxwell should to explore this world further, I wouldn't say no to reading another story (perhaps with other characters) set there. 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Publisher: Simon Pulse | Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)


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