An instant New York Times bestseller!
“Will keep you guessing until the last page.” —Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times bestselling author
A girl travels back in time to find a mysterious book that could save her future in Lisa Maxwell’s “splendid series opener” (Kirkus Reviews).
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A magician makes a tragic decision on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1902, and, as a result, present-day Manhattan is surrounded by an energy field that keeps magicians trapped and powerless. Lisa Maxwell’s charming and fast-paced young adult fantasy ensnared us from page one. We love the book’s heroine, Esta—a headstrong thief—who travels back in time to turn-of-the-century New York to battle assassins, secret societies, and streetwise gangs in order to locate the book that will destroy the anti-magic spell. The Last Magician mixes fantastical wizardry and historical accuracy to create an intoxicating version of Gilded Age New York.
Maxwell (Unhooked) introduces an alternate version of present-day New York City where those with magical talents, known as Mageus, are trapped in the city by a magic-stealing barrier called the Brink; the barrier was created by the Order, an organization bent on getting rid of the Mageus. Esta, a Mageus with some control over time, has been trained in the art of thievery since she was a child. Her mission: return to a New York City of the past and steal the Ars Arcana, the book responsible for the creation of the Brink. With painstaking worldbuilding, Maxwell captures the danger and grittiness of New York City in the early 1900s as Esta navigates poverty, deception, and desperation to complete her mission while battling her growing attraction to the man who also means to steal the book. The pace is somewhat slow, and Maxwell leans on a few too many clich s including a hulking black character with medicine man like healing powers and an Chinese spy who relies on stealth but altogether she provides a solid introduction into her new world. Ages 14 up. Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated one character's profession.