Maxwell, Lisa. The Last Magician.
3Q * 3P * J * S
Maxwell, Lisa. The Last Magician. Simon Pulse, 2017. 512p. $18.99. 978-1-4814-3207-8.
Time is running out for the Mageus in an alternate universe New York City. Fearful of their innate magical abilities, the Order has trapped them in the city using the Brink, an energy field that can prove fatal to those who attempt to cross it. To save the Mageus, trained thief Esta must travel back to 1902 to steal the Ars Arcana, a magical book used by the Order to create the Brink. Using her time-bending affinity and thieving skills to navigate New York's early twentieth-century underworld, Esta joins a gang of Mageus intent on weakening the Order and stealing the book. The catch is that she must reach the book before the Magician to prevent him from destroying it.
The Last Magician is a slow starter. Central to the story is a heist which, rather than providing readers with page-turning suspense, is heavily diluted by exposition, worldbuilding, and the interweaving of a large cast of complex characters. The motivations of these characters seem scattered and unfocused. The one thing they agree upon is stealing the book, although everyone has a different plan for using, or destroying, it. The obviously thoroughly researched setting of 1901 New York is compelling and will interest fans of historical fiction. While readers looking for fast-paced action will be disappointed as Maxwell takes her time setting up this complicated series opener, avid readers of fantasy and alternate universe fiction will likely enjoy the rich world and complex cast.--Johanna Nation-Vallee.