Book Review: THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4/5 stars
Series: Yes - first of trilogy


the last magicianEsta is a Mageus, one of the rare few left with magic. She’s the perfect thief, her ability allowing her to slip through time and take the object before anyone knows she’s there.

The Brink traps her – and any other magician – in Manhattan. Crossing it sucks a person free of magic, and so kills them. To bring down The Brink, she must travel back in time to 1902 and steal the book from those who would see all Mageus dead.

But someone on the crew is going to double cross everyone – The Magician will disappear with the book. Esta will have to double-cross him first.


This book is an entertaining read I’ve read pretty much in one go – quite the pick me up when feeling ill.

It’s not quite a heist book – the actual heisting is only in the final section of the book – but there’s plenty of robberies and thefts to go around. It’s an adventure, more than anything. One of the characters is a stage performer, so if you like stage performances, illusions and sleights on hand, it’s brilliant.

It rattled along fast, painting the world of 1902 Manhattan in immersive colours (as I’ve never been to New York and not researched its history, I can’t speak to its accuracy). The setting felt real, though.

This book has minimal romance, focused on the betrayals, double-crosses and team dynamics. There is a hint of romance between Esta and Harte, but it’s a subtle subtext underneath their constant manoeuvrings to have the upper hand.

There are a lot of POVs (four main and several minor ones) in this book. I love multi-POV books, when handled well, and Maxwell does that skilfully. You can work out all but one within a line (and that one only appears once, so felt a tad redundant). The large cast all feel unique and with specific purposes (even if, for a few, it’s only to die), though you might forget about the modern-times cast for a large chunk of the book (I did!), but then again, Esta is being sucked into 1902-life.

I was somewhat confused by the final act – not even that. The last 60-odd pages. Maybe it was just that reading books because you’re ill and your head’s spinning too much to revise is a bad idea, but I struggled to follow the exact leaps and plays over time. Schemes and moves were being played into the future, back in time and in the present, all while relying on other’s actions across time.

Read my reviews of other books by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician (this series):

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