- Hardcover: 512 pages
- Publisher: Simon Pulse (July 18, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1481432079
- ISBN-13: 978-1481432078
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Last Magician Hardcover – July 18, 2017
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"This twisty tale of alchemy and magic in Gilded Age New York will keep you guessing until the very last page." (Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author)
"A gorgeous, timeless, all-consuming tale." (Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series)
"A twisty, spellbinding romp. Inserting feuding magical factions into an already tumultuous time in American history, Maxwell’s The Last Magician mesmerized me until the very last page." (Janet B. Taylor, author of Into the Dim and Sparks of Light)
"Intriguing, romantic, and full of twists, THE LAST MAGICIAN kept me reading late into the night. The richly imagined alternative version of 1901 New York City pulled me in, but the fascinating characters had me turning the pages, desperate to find out what happened to them." (Anne Blankman, author of the Prisoner of Night and Fog duology)
Gangs, immigrants, and the rich keeping the poor down, with a twist. In an alternate New York, magic is wielded by the Mageus, whose innate affinities vary widely, and the Order, who disdain but use magic in rituals that limit the Mageus' freedom. For centuries, Mageus have entered but cannot leave Manhattan thanks to the Brink, a magical barrier surrounding the island. Esta's affinity involves manipulating time, and the professor who raised her has sent her from the present day to 1901 to stop the destruction of a book that could potentially destroy the Brink. Shifting third-person perspective follows Esta into the past as she infiltrates Dolph Saunders' gang and becomes involved with Harte Darrigan, the handsome magician who destroyed the book. Crisp pacing and plenty of details tell the story of engaging, if selfish, characters in their late teens and early 20s working at cross purposes for big reasons. The past is slightly romanticized but largely realistic: the Mageus function as a stand-in for any immigrant group subject to prejudice, and Esta's contemporary attitudes shine a light on outdated attitudes, while through the experiences of Chinese Jianyu (the only nonwhite member of Dolph's gang), some of the racial prejudices of the past are confronted. A doorstopper with a total shakeup of an ending: don't miss this splendid series opener. (map) (Historical fantasy. 12-adult) (Kirkus Reviews 5/1/17)
In the present day, those with an affinity for magic, the Mageus, remain in hiding, but it has long been speculated that if someone can go back in time and get a significant book, then the fates of the Mageus across history would be changed. Esta, a talented thief, has been trained for the job, so she’s sent back to 1901 and Old New York to snatch the book and save the Mageus. She’s distracted by what she believes is a tragedy that happened just as she time traveled away from the pres- ent, and by the brooding, mysterious, and handsome magician she resists loving in 1901, but she never fully loses track of her ultimate goal. For a capable thief, Esta is surprisingly bad at reading others, but the author effectively paints her as someone whose understanding is limited by the role for which she was raised. As there are significant plot reveals all the way through (we actually learn a secret about Esta’s dad, for example, only about twenty pages from the end), the book never loses urgency, and readers will likely hit the final page wishing for more. Hand this off to fantasy buffs who appreciate historical fiction, since a good deal of the novel takes place in the early twentieth century, and Maxwell’s attention to detail makes that time period seem vivid and compelling. (BCCB June 2017)
The age-old battle between the Order of Ortus Aurea, who think magic can be created, and the Mageus, whose magic is innate, is intensifying; and each side is trying to collect magical tools to gain control—including the powerful text known as the Ars Arcana. Esta (Mageus), trained as a time-traveling thief, is sent back to early twentieth-century New York to prevent the book’s destruction at the hands of a mysterious person known only as the Magician. This stripped down plot summary does no justice to the captivating and complicated story created by Maxwell. A mix of historical fiction, romance, fantasy, and magic, the well-plotted and tightly paced story moves between present day and 1901 New York, a time of gangs, tenements, turf wars, and a fascination with science and technology as a cure for society’s ills. A few historical figures make an appearance, J. P. Morgan, for example, but this is definitely Esta’s story, and she is a smart and feisty female protagonist in whom readers will delight. — Cindy Welch (Booklist online May 31, 2017)
About the Author
Lisa Maxwell is the author of The Last Magician, Unhooked, Sweet Unrest, and The Gathering Deep. She grew up in Akron, Ohio, and has a PhD in English. She’s worked as a teacher, scholar, editor, writer, and bookseller (at Little Professor Book Center in Alabama). When she’s not writing books, she’s a professor at a local college. She now lives near Washington, DC, with her husband and two sons. You can follow her on Twitter @LisaMaxwellYA or learn more about her upcoming books at Lisa-Maxwell.com.
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Top customer reviews
The author has created a unique world, unlike any other I've read involving magic, and from the first page, I was captivated. Esta is clever, impulsive, and a skilled thief and the friction between her and cunning magician Harte is born from the moment they see each other. The supporting characters are all well-drawn and untrustworthy and through Esta and Harte's eyes, the reader gradually learns who is reliable.
With grand heists, sleight of hand, time travel, and wicked, unexpected twists, this didn't seem as hefty of a book once I got into it. I was somewhat disappointed at the end when realizing this isn't a standalone, but honestly don't mind spending more time with these characters.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the digital ARC.
Esta is Mageus, one who has an affinity for magic. Her ability is to warp time. In her world, Mageus are feared and misunderstood, especially by the Order of Ortus Aurea, who wish to harness and control their power. The Order uses artificial and corrupt ceremonial magic to create the Brink, an invisible boundary that keeps Mageus from leaving New York City with their magic. However, the Brink not only destroys the affinity, but the person as well, leaving nothing left of who they had once been.
Arriving in the past, Esta meets Harte Darrigan accidentally and sparks fly – even more so as he is the very magician she was sent to stop from destroying the Book! She joins Dolph Saunders’ team in a rush to prevent this from happening, but must keep the truth about herself and where she is from, a secret.
Lisa Maxwell’s historic city is filled with intrigue and danger lurks around every corner. The story is bursting with lavish descriptions of an alternative New York. Maxwell employs lush and vivid detail and I became instantly immersed in the realm she created. The depiction of smells, lights and sounds is filmic in quality and visually appealing – from the ornate splendour of the buildings owned by members of The Order to the dark, shadowy back streets.
As sumptuous as the settings are, the characters are the heart of the story. The conflicts and attractions between these personalities are all underscored with an intensity that makes them seem all the more believable.
Esta is plucky and strong. She is willing to risk everything she can to save those she cares for. Her relationships with so many of the characters, both in the past and her present are touching and real. Traveling back in time is made all the more dangerous because of the potentially disastrous changes she can make to history as well as to the very existence of some of the people she holds dear.
When Esta manipulates time and travels through it, the author paints interesting changes between the different time periods in the same locale. Esta was able to see the stars in the past, when she couldn’t in her own time while standing in an identical place.
I enjoyed reading the background about Mageus and their magical attributes and strengths. Magic is their very existence, it is warm and alive. By contrast, the Brink and the alchemy utilized by The Order, is cold and desolate. Maxwell frighteningly describes the destruction it wreaks on those who come into contact with it. It is terrifying in what it can do and it shows the lengths The Order will go to remove the affinities of Mageus, in spite of the repercussions.
The book had me questioning destiny and how much changing the past can affect the future. Fearing what you don’t understand and the unknown were also important themes represented.
The Last Magician is an epic tale of time travel, adventure and a sprinkling of romance, with lots of twists along the way. It’s beautifully written with a thought-provoking story and likable characters who are not only fascinating, but inspiring. There is plenty of action and suspense, which kept me thoroughly entertained and rapidly turning the pages.