The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell – REVIEW
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: travelling 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.
“But then, liars do make the best magicians, and he happened to be exceptional.”
I absolutely loved this YA fantasy about time-travel, New York gangs, heists, and magic. The New York setting was beautifully atmospheric, especially the sections set in 1902 and hooked me with its sense of immediacy and richly vivid detail. Esta was a brilliant main character and one I grew to love. Her ability to manipulate time was such fun yet it never felt like an easy-out in any difficult situation. I also fell in love with the magician Harte Darrigan and his interactions with Esta were my favourite part.
“The only rule that counted was to not get caught.”
The cast of characters was unforgettable and each one stood out in their own way. None of the characters felt expendable as they were all satisfyingly complex and nuanced. Viola and Jianyu were my favourite supporting characters and I hope we see more of them in the next book as I’m eager to learn more about their backstories. I’m also interested in exploring Esta’s history and family a little more at some point following the huge reveals in this book.
“Who said I want you to be anything but what you are? I like your angles and your edges.”
I hurtled through this 500-page book gripped by its intrigue, plotting and betrayals. The last one hundred pages contained twist after twist ensuring I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished at 4 am absolutely exhausted. For such a big book, it never felt like it dragged which is very rare. I can’t wait for The Devil’s Thief this October and I’ve already pre-ordered the signed exclusive edition from Barnes & Noble. I would definitely recommend this book and it’s perfect for fans of Six of Crows.