The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Released: July 18, 2017
Read: July 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: ARC, 498 pages
Series: The Last Magician #1
Description on Goodreads:
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.
The Last Magician had a slow start but it picked up right away. I think it was slow just because I didn't really understand where the plot would take me yet. And the beginning confused me a little too, because of the back and forth between different time periods. I didn't realize Dolph's time was when Esta was going to travel to. It was smooth sailing from then though, as soon as the puzzle pieces fit together.
The idea for the novel was clearly well developed. I loved how the plot lines intertwined and left me almost completely shocked and numb. Every new development felt like an exciting surprise and I honestly couldn't wait to read more.
And it helped that Esta was a complete badass. She was witty, smart and daring, and clearly a feminist. It was funny and interesting to see how she interacted with Harte Darrigan. It's like she always had the upper hand and knew how to get underneath his skin. Her backstory was just as depressing as Darrigan's, and it really suited the thief she would later become.
Meanwhile, Harte Darrigan was just a product of many betrayals. He acted the way he did because of how people treated him as he grew up, and because he knew just how cruel people could be. To me he was just a misunderstood and broken man who did what he could to survive. I loved reading about the metaphorical masks he wore when he was surrounded by people he couldn't trust. He played the people around him and put on one of the best performances I've read about in ages.
And speaking of manipulators, Dolph was definitely one of the most dynamic and complex characters that you meet. He had so many different sides to him: the busy, all-knowing boss, the caring gentleman, the power-hungry beast and the loyal friend. Just like Darrigan, he wore each expression and attitude like a mask that could be swapped out at any moment, depending on who he was with.
The time period Lisa Maxwell picked was perfect as well. I liked that the book depicted all of the different gangs and their turf's. It truly felt like I was in the 1900's with Esta from the way the characters dressed, to the transportation, to the clubs and the views on women. It was different from other novels I've read, where the authors pick the same old settings. It was quite refreshing.
The only thing I didn't particularly like about the Last Magician is the ending. I know the author had to leave some questions unanswered and put out an idea what the sequel will be about, but I'd actually much rather have this be a standalone. The concept and idea was only enough to be one long book for me. I believe it would have been a bit better if Lisa Maxwell had tied up all the loose-ends and altered the ending. Of course, I'm still going to read the sequel. I just don't see how she's going to be able to write another full book on this. Other than that, the novel was beautifully written and I'm still excited to see where Esta goes from here in the next book!
- "Steal me the night."-Dolph Saunders
- "He wasn't sorry for using their fears and their hopes, their prejudices and their sense of righteousness against them. For distracting them from the truth. He was simply surviving in a world that hated what he was." -Harte Darrigan
- "Change your feathers often enough, and the mark won't recognize the bird."-Esta
- "There's always a choice. The question is which one you're willing to live with."
- "He'd wanted an ace in his pocket and had chosen a serpent instead."
- "After all, Harte Darrigan might be a bastard, he might be a double-crossing lowlife scoundrel, but he wasn't so low as to leave."
Recommended if you like: historical fiction, fantasy, magic, romance, manipulation
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