Author: Lisa Maxwell
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: paperback ARC
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. (Goodreads)
“He had style, Dolph admitted, feeling tired and older than his own twenty-six years.” (I can’t remember the last time I related this much to a male character 😭)
*I received a copy of this book for free from Simon&Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.*
Oooooo boy. When I pulled this baby out of the box in March, I’ll admit I was super intimidated. It’s HUGE. Nonetheless, Lisa managed to keep me hook through until the very last of the 500+ pages.
What kept me hooked through the beginning stages of the book were the characters. I really liked Esta from the very start and then we meet Dolph and his crew and Harte…oh Harte 😍. The number one way to get me through the necessary slower parts is to give me characters I feel personally attached to and Lisa did that beautifully.
In the last 1/3 of the book things escalate prettt freakin’ quick. There are a lot of twists (some you’re set up to suspect will happen and some that you’re left like “wtf” when they happen). There’s no shortage of action and excitement at the end and it’s so satisfying. It also make you pray this book has a sequel which some comments on Goodreads have led me to believe will in fact happen.
I also really liked that the world was both familiar and very new. While it’s set in New York (contemporary and historical) there are also a lot of new elements that make it feel like new.
So much of what I loved about this would be spoilery but this book had a great balance of character, action, and world.
There’s a sequel, right? I’ll cry if there isn’t more
YAY!! EXTRA CONTENT!!
A huge thank you to Lisa for reaching out to me and inviting me to be a part of this tour! As part of it, she’s provided me with a fun fact list of things she learned while researching The Last Magician!!
1) Old New York would have been extremely noisy. We often think of the past as quiet, compared to the horns and traffic of the present, but it might have even been louder. At the turn of the century, the streets would have been cobblestone—not the smoothest of surfaces. Between the wooden wheels on the carriages and carts, the clip-clop of hooves, and the noisy trains that rumbled overhead, the noise in the city would have been pretty bad.
2) The difference between 1890 and 1905 was amazing. In the span of only about 15 years, the city underwent a number of transformations. Within the space of a year or two, phone and telegraph lines crisscrossed the streets, canopying them with dark wires, but not long after, everything went underground and those wires disappeared. In the matter of a few years, the city was electrified or train tracks were moved from overhead to underground. Picking a single year that had most of the features I wanted in the book was very tricky.
3) The lower part of the city was a pretty dangerous place. “Clip Joints” were seedy bars where people could be given drinks spiked with “knock-out drops,” which would basically paralyze and eventually kill them. Once they were incapacitated, they would be robbed and dumped in the street—or in the river. One of these joints even had a trapdoor to drop bodies directly into the river.
4) The city was filled with people from an amazing array of places, but people didn’t necessarily mingle and mix as much as you might expect. Immigrants would often come over and stay in the same building as others from their village in the old country—sometimes even the same streets that they lived on before. One street might be filled with people who spoke mainly Polish, and a block over you would hear nothing but Italian. Those neighborhoods and small enclaves were really important to immigrants who didn’t have any other foothold in their new country.
5) Newsies weren’t teenagers. I know…I was also disillusioned and disappointed with this information. But the boys who sold newspapers were more likely to be 8-11 or so. The older boys would often find slightly more lucrative positions as bootblacks or in factories and sweatshops.