Genre: Young Adult; Sci-Fi; Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Note: There are NO spoilers in this review. When discussing in the comments, please provide a spoiler warning if needed.
I consume a lot of fantasy and sci-fi literature, movies, television shows, and video games. While I love a good sappy sparkly vampire story, it’s rare that a world, story, or universe created by an author feels real and like home. The older I’ve gotten the less I’ve been able to completely disappear into the depths of Mordor or the halls of Hogwarts. They are wonderful stories, but I don’t find myself pulled to them in dreams like I did when I was a child.
This novel did just that. Lisa Maxwell builds a beautiful new take on magic in this mixed Fantasy/Sci-Fi world. If you are a lover of young adult or fantasy literature, I highly recommend this book. When I wasn’t sneaking a few pages into my day whenever I could (yay motherhood!) I was walking the streets of New York City in my dreams. I was alongside Esta and the other Mageus, shying away from the Brink and plotting to take down the Order.
Ultimately, this is a story about a young girl, Esta, eager to prove herself while trying to figure out who she is and what she really wants. (Like young girls do) she struggles between her personal desires and how she was raised. It was refreshing to have a strong female character whose struggle wasn’t centered around being a woman. So often stories are told because there is a woman and she is strong and she’s doing something only a strong woman could do, but I find it frustrating that it’s “special” when a woman conquers a challenging obstacle.
I never felt like this story was only important because a woman was at the center. This is such an intangible element to attempt to describe, but this made me hopeful for the future of literature and storytelling. I am so tired of feeling like it’s a novelty to have a powerful female lead. Women are just extraordinary, everyday. It’s not a novelty, it’s just reality.
Esta’s choices lead us on a journey with many twists and turns, but they happen organically. Lisa Maxwell was never forcing an Ah-Ha moment on us just for the shock factor. The story flows and feels genuine.
Like most novels that shift between narrators, it took me a few chapters to find the flow. But the narrators have unique voices and, when you meet each character, the transition between becomes seamless. I found myself eager to hear from the different points of view in the scene. The impact helps to round out the picture and build tension, which remains from the first page through the last.
The push-and-pull of tension (sexual and otherwise) throughout the novel created a sexiness without any real “sexy” scenes. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for an erotic novel (hello Christian Grey), but, thankfully, Lisa Maxwell didn’t try to force it into the story. The tension is ever-present and not always romantic. It pushes the story along and makes you want to keep reading more.
The last note I have is related to the time travel this novel is centered around. Generally, time travel as a plot device makes me uneasy. There is always something that doesn’t sit right with me, a loophole not discussed or explored, or the move back into the past erasing the entire story you just read (looking at you School for Psychics Book 2). However, in The Last Magician, it works. There isn’t a lot of digging into the science and there are no multiple timelines. Do something – the future is impacted. The story keeps it simple, which I appreciate, but doesn’t ignore the impact of changing the past.
If you are looking for a novel (and potentially series – stay tuned) to pull you in from front to back, this is the one. The Last Magician is a beautiful story and a new take on magic. The sights, sounds, and people feel familiar but with a unique flavor. This book will remain on my “recommend-to-a-friend” list.
Buy The Last Magician here on Amazon (or at your local bookstore)!
Have you read The Last Magician? Let’s talk about it. Leave a comment or send me a message letting me know what you thought of the novel.