Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: 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.
I’ve been looking forward to The Last Magician since I first heard about it several months ago, and for the most part it was everything I was hoping for. I mean, gorgeous cover, and historical fiction, mixed with magic and time travel? What’s not to love?
Let me start with the world-building, which is simply amazing. The New York of 1902 is the same New York we know from the history books. From high society with its familiar names, to the grittiness of the streets with its roving gangs–everything remains intact, with the added element of magic. I thought the beginning was a little choppy, with the backstory being introduced from several points of view from alternate timelines. Although the multiple POVs remain, once everyone is settled in the same timeline, the story becomes much easier to follow.
While there are quite a few characters, for me, Esta is the standout. A thief at heart, she’s just so much fun. She’s hardworking, independent, loyal, and willing to put her life on the line. And, she always has the purest of intentions, even if things don’t always work out the way they were supposed to. I also loved the brooding Harte Darrigan, who never seemed to be able to catch a break. The scenes with the two of them were my favorites. The only other issue I had was the amount of distrust that exists between the characters. Most of the tension in the book comes from people not knowing who to trust, and while in some regards, this is understandable, there were times that it went to far didn’t make sense to me.
Overall though, I absolutely loved The Last Magician and I can’t wait for the second book in this duology! I highly recommend this imaginative and engaging fantasy to teens and adults who are fans of this genre.