Today I am so, so, SO excited to share this amazing book with my readers. I was lucky enough to snatch up a copy of The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell after only a few days of its release from my library! Considering my opinion of Lisa Maxwell’s previous novel, Unhooked, I had high expectations for The Last Magician. Let me just say this book surpassed my expectations and blew me away. I ended up binge-reading it in one afternoon because I had to know how it ended!
The Last Magician tells the enticing story of Esta, a girl with a magical affinity to manipulate time. Esta works with her mentor who guides her in chasing down various magical objects throughout New York City. As time passes, she proves her skills with every new object she obtains. Then, her mentor sends her on the hardest and most imperative journey of her life. She must travel back to 1901 to steal the Ars Arcana, a powerful book desired by many Mageus. On her journey, she realizes people are never who they appear to be and that even the very people she trusts most may actually be her greatest foes.
One of my favorite parts of The Last Magician was the characters. Esta portrays a strong young woman who does not depend on men for rescuing. Instead, she works in unison with others to accomplish her goals. I really appreciated how she experiences deep and painful human emotions despite her desire to appear unbreakable and powerful. As for the other characters, I was equally pleased. Harte Darrigan is astounding as the mysterious, brooding magician who struggles with his own flaws and conflicts. The chemistry between Harte and Esta is flawlessly executed. It feels completely natural, and I enjoyed every scene where the two banter among themselves. However, the romance is not the center stage of the story. Instead, Maxwell focuses on the politics and battles between the Mageus and the Order. The universe she creates within New York City is crafted impeccably, and the way she incorporates mobs into the magical universe is absolutely fascinating.
Additionally, the story lacks predictability. I cannot recall a single moment where I correctly anticipated what was about to happen. The characters kept me on my toes as Maxwell slowly peeled away their layers to reveal their true selves lying underneath.
Now, I won’t spoil the ending, but it is a cliffhanger. As I turned the last page, I knew I wanted, no, needed more of the world within the book. Luckily, I can settle with a cliffhanger because it means there will be a sequel, so I will get to spend more time with amazing characters and a story full to the brim with twists and turns.
The Last Magician is a complex tale woven with history, magic, and betrayal. I would recommend it to teens (and adults) who enjoy delving into fantasy and historical fiction novels.