Book Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
This was actually a reread of mine because the third book in this series just came out this year.
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.
I have an ongoing Instagram DM thread with author Lisa Maxwell because my biggest gripe--and joy--about this series is the slow burn between Esta and Harte. She loves to tease me.
I first read The Last Magician when it came out and I was just beginning my foray into YA Fantasy. One thing that appealed to me was the time travel element. I have always loved time travel, even though it is very hard for me to write into my own stories (one day I will make it work!).
Another element that I love is that The Last Magician is mostly set around the turn of the century. In a time before electronics and cars, before cell phones and when you actually had to travel to get somewhere. I've always been fascinated with this time period, when the world was on the brink of new industrial discoveries.
Esta goes back into the past with the solo goal of completing her mission. Instead, she meets and incredible cast of characters. Between Harte, Dolph Saunders, Viola, and Nibsy Lorcan, Esta finds herself struggling to accomplish her goals. In order to do what she's come to the past to do, she must betray them all.
I adore Esta and Harte. I love their banter and the way neither of them want to be near one another but they also can't stay away. I usually can't stand when an author drags out a romantic plot, but there's something about the attraction between them that just keeps me tied into the story.
Maxwell has done an incredible job of meshing the past setting with a modern woman. I loved The Last Magician even more on this reread!
If you're looking for a historical/fantasy YA with an intense, slow burn enemies to reluctant friends to almost lovers, definitely check this one out!