- The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-3207-8 $18.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-3209-2 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8–10
In the present day, those with an affinity for magic, the Mageus, remain in hiding, but it has long been speculated that if someone can go back in time and get a significant book, then the fates of the Mageus across history would be changed. Esta, a talented thief, has been trained for the job, so she’s sent back to 1901 and Old New York to snatch the book and save the Mageus. She’s distracted by what she believes is a tragedy that happened just as she time traveled away from the present, and by the brooding, mysterious, and handsome magician she resists loving in [End Page 461] 1901, but she never fully loses track of her ultimate goal. For a capable thief, Esta is surprisingly bad at reading others, but the author effectively paints her as someone whose understanding is limited by the role for which she was raised. As there are significant plot reveals all the way through (we actually learn a secret about Esta’s dad, for example, only about twenty pages from the end), the book never loses urgency, and readers will likely hit the final page wishing for more. Hand this off to fantasy buffs who appreciate historical fiction, since a good deal of the novel takes place in the early twentieth century, and Maxwell’s attention to detail makes that time period seem vivid and compelling.