Monday, October 23, 2017

[Review] The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Rating: 2.5 stars

Published: July 18th 2017
Format: HC

Goodreads 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.
Welcome to a world where magic coexists in the modern world! In NYC nonetheless! Well, it's not really a peaceful coexistence, as the Mageus - those with magic, are confined to Manhattan with a barrier known as the Brink. Trying to leave is a certain death. In order to save her people from being trapped on the island with the maleficent Order who is hunting them and dwindling their numbers, Esta, a time-traveling Mageus thief, sets out for the year 1902, where she must steal an ancient book with the ability to break the barrier. But just everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and Esta finds herself trapped in 1902 working with some shady and mysterious characters to get the book she wants.

The Last Magician has it all - time travel, Gilded Age New York, magic, and a heist to top it off. But, for me, I felt like there was too much on this plate for it to all go well, for it to be executed and brought to completion. This is 500 pages of a novel, and even after these 500 pages, what can I really say about these characters? Or the world they reside in? We have Esta and Harte, our main duo, and while Esta is full of spunk, sass, and strength, Harte is an enigma we know little to nothing about. Their chemistry seems superficial and forced.

The supporting characters are not much better. Jianyu, Dolph, Viola, Nibs - they're just there. I would have wanted more backstory, just more of them in general, to be able to connect to them better. Their motivations seems to spring up out of nowhere and the reader is left to interpolate and fill in the gaps.

The same can be said of the worldbuilding. Sure, we have the Mageus and their affinities... for what? For elements, for time, for siphoning off other Mageus' magic, it's all over the place. I still don't know exactly how Esta's time traveling magic works - does she freeze time selectively? How does she even jump back more than 100 years? The ending tried to explain the world in the span of a few chapters with a ton of exposition and info dump, but I'm not satisfied. I'm simply confused. There's so many plot holes with the ending, as well. I'm left grasping at thin air trying to figure out how this world works. 

I'm the kind of reader that doesn't want to infer how things work - I'd like the foundation to be set before I start setting bricks down. I wish I could have liked this more, because the premise is really interesting and I was trying my hardest to enjoy this as I read, but it didn't fit me. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm disappointed to here about the plot holes--time travel must be very difficult to pull off to make it believable for the reader. I wouldn't be able to finish a book that didn't make me think the world was possible. Plus, great characters that come to life as living beings is a must for my books. Thanks for the review!