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Goodreads⎮Reviewed Aug. 2017
Narrator: Candace Thaxton
Length: 16h 6m
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio⎮2017
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.
4.25 ★ Audiobook⎮ Give me more of this delightful tale! The Last Magician was the first fantasy-ish book I’ve been able to finish in months. Truth be told, I’ve been struggling with the genre for almost a year. I’m counting it as Fantasy because the time travel elements were based in magic, rather than science.
The Last Magician required quite a bit of concentration on my part, which is partially why I’ve been struggling with the genre lately. There were times when the story lulled and my interest dipped, but it could always be regained when more focus was applied. I likely wouldn’t have persevered had the story not been so original.
The more I think about this audiobook, the more I like it. I love time travel and Maxwell’s take on early 1900s New York was positively fascinating and slightly “out of this world”. “Magically delightful” is a good way to describe The Last Magician. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a time travel story that was based in fantasy rather than science-fiction.
Maxwell’s writing made all aspects of the story intriguing to me. I was just as interested in the 19th-century setting and as I was in what was going on in the 20th-century. That’s rare. I usually prefer one time or setting. It helped that Maxwell was able to create interesting backstories for characters in both times.
It also helped that there were a couple of big twists that absolutely blindsided me. Especially because they both came in at times where I thought I had a pretty good grasp on a certain character, only to have that character do a complete 180. The deceit was so well written that neither I nor the main character saw it coming. It was flawlessly executed.
Esta was an excellent main character. I was super fascinated by her ability to manipulate time. Even the secondary characters were well-developed and distinctive. They all stand out in my mind, even a week after finishing the book. The Last Magician definitely scores well on the memorability scale.
This was a wonderful introduction to Lisa Maxwell’s writing style. After hearing it, I’m not only excited for the sequel, but I’m also hopeful that Sweet Unrest will be made into an audiobook soon!
Narration review: I spent half of this audiobook trying to determine where I had heard the narrator’s voice before. It turns out that Candace Thaxton also narrated The Diabolic, which I reviewed late last year and adored. Thaxton’s voice has a rich quality to it that comes across as warm and inviting. It immediately endeared me to the characters. She did a fantastic job of vocally differentiating between the many colorful characters. Thaxton’s performance was highly enjoyable and I hope she sticks around to narrate the next installment. But sooner than that, I plan on browsing the rest of her work to find my next listen. ♣︎