Book Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Last year, Lisa Maxwell released the first book in a new YA series about a young girl who travels back in time to join a street gang’s heist in order to save those with “lesser” magic in the future.  With the release of the second book fast approaching in October, now seemed like a great time to read and review The Last Magician.
The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)
Hardcover, 500 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by Simon Pulse

SUMMARY from 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.

Review:

I enjoyed and appreciated the amount of work that the author infused her characters and their relationships with.  It came across the page quite well and worked to make the story more compelling and engaging.  I did have a little bit of a problem with the amount of words used to convey story and personalities.  Some condensing would have helped polish this story to read more fluidly.

I combated this with the speed option on Audible to speed up the narrator as I listened to the audiobook.  However, if I had been reading the printed words, I would have been free to skip around to absorb only the “necessary” bits.  To be honest, this is how I normally read a book the first time through anyway, and I get more out of re-reads when I slow down 🙂

Having recently gone to see Oceans 8 in theaters, I was very happy with the heist aspects in this novel.  Although some of it does rely on magic, all the various bits and pieces and planning made a lot of sense in context and didn’t make me scrunch my face up in disbelief.  I think that readers who enjoy heists, mysteries, time travel, fantasy, twisty turns, and a little thrill will definitely find this book on their favorites list.  There is a bit of romance, but it’s not over-the-top nor does it feel forced or engage in tropes that promote male aggression.  The concept of consent does get explored and adds to the story without detracting from the social narrative happening around us.

I don’t believe there are any troublesome topics or trigger warnings here, but I must confess that I’m not as sensitive to taking notes on this yet.  Feel free to comment with any you think might apply.

With book 2 coming out very soon, I would recommend starting book 1 quickly as to be ready!  You’ll be ready for the sequel as soon as you turn the last page.

The Devil's Thief (The Last Magician, #2)

 

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