The Last Magician

The Last Magician

Book - 2017 | First Simon Pulse hardcover edition.
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In an alternate version of present-day Manhattan, magic is dying, and Esta, a Mageus with a talent for manipulating time, travels back to 1901 to stop the destruction of a book that can possibly restore magic, but in Old New York, Esta must navigate gangs, secret societies, and her feelings for another magician in order to save the future of magic.
Publisher: New York : Simon Pulse, 2017.
Edition: First Simon Pulse hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781481432078
1481432079
Characteristics: 500 pages ; 24 cm

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I'm wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars for this one, but now that I've finished it, I have more of a soft spot for it than I expected to, so we'll go with 4. This is a complicated story about magic in 1902 New York, and it's a beast. It felt like a beast, and that says something because I just finished the 1000-page Kingdom of Ash not long ago. At 500 pages, this one felt like a journey, which is both good and bad.

It took me a long, long time to get into this book. It was confusing right off the bat and multiple timelines are challenging at the best of times. But it felt like we got no time to get to know Logan and Dakari and the Professor before Esta was sent back to 1902, and I needed more out of them. I needed to want for her to get back to them. As it was, I had the impression of vague outlines of characters, and when the rest of the 1902 cast was so vibrant and alive, why would I want her to do anything for the shadows she left in the future? Because yes, the 1902 cast was absolutely spectacular. I loved Viola and Jianyu and Dolph and HARTE (oh my god my magician baby). They were so colourful and beautiful and I loved the dynamics amongst them.

However, Esta was challenging to me. She was also somewhat of a shadow for at least half the book, and this left me dragging my feet as I was reading it. I lived for Harte's chapters, because he is precious and wonderful, but then it would return to Esta and I just felt...meh about it. She was feisty at times, somewhat fiery, but she always seemed tempered. Like an outline of herself. After the 3/4 mark, I liked her more - maybe I got used to her, or she actually came into her own, but because of the time it took, I wasn't as into the book as a whole as I wanted to be.

Plot-wise, I did guess at both of the big reveals that come in the last few pages of the book, but by that point, I was pretty invested and it felt more gratifying than disappointing to have my suspicions confirmed. Despite having a draggy middle section, I did truly enjoy this - I guess we really didn't need to get to know the future people, because it was Dolph and his Bella Strega crew that captured my heart anyway. When Esta says she feels like it's going home to go back into that world, that's what it felt like for me, and I know I need this sequel as soon as possible. The ending just solidified that, and I'm super glad that that is where the series is headed.

j
jmehninger
Jun 23, 2019

At first glance, this is a decent read as long as you don't get your expectations up too high.
There are a number of bothersome, niggling details - like why Esta, our heroine, who underwent excruciating training in combat and martial arts, seems to turn into a helpless damsel, unable to free herself every time some guy grabs her by the arm.
Some characters are too unrealistic, almost cartoonish and I guess I just expected the overall writing to be better than it was, given that the author supposedly has a PhD in English.
But, all that aside, - here's my biggest beef: This was supposed to be Book 1 of 2. And I would have read #2, just to have things neatly wrapped up and to bring the story to a close. In fact, I was looking forward to just reading a single book at the start, because there's no indication that this is #1 of a series. Then I found out there were supposed to be two books.
So I read some reviews for #2 - apparently, rather than bringing the story to a close, the author introduces a whole slew of new threads and characters and guess what - #2 also ends as a cliffhanger!
Well, I'm just not going there - sorry, I refuse to be strung along like that! :-(

c
cllehman
Dec 19, 2017

I thought this was a very well written story. The main character Esta is very easy to like. The cliffhanger of an ending stole the last piece of my soul left, made kittens cry tears of sand, and unraveled my favorite cardigan.

s
Squid_1
Oct 23, 2017

This book is very good. It was the last maybe five chapters that lost my interest. It tried too hard to be shocking and when you think it should have ended, it kept going.

_
_DragonWolf41199_
Oct 10, 2017

maaaybe

m
Multifandom_Furry
Jun 26, 2017

Is this book number 1?

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blue_dog_8329
Jan 12, 2018

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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