I’ll be honest, when I picked up The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell, I did not expect to fall in love with it. I should have known better. You see, I recalled enough about the author to have recognized her name, but not enough to accurately remember which book of hers that I’d read before. And I didn’t look until after I’d finished it, but the truth of the matter is that this is the very same author who blew me away with a Peter Pan retelling that, had it not been so well executed, I would have been furious about rather than in love with. The truth is, Lisa Maxwell is just a masterful writer.
And that fact become infinitely more apparent to me the very moment I finished this novel. The Last Magician has some of the best storytelling, voice, characterization, and plots that I’ve ever come across. Now, I was able to predict pretty much all but one of the events and twists that occurred throughout the novel, but that doesn’t make a single one of them less brilliant. And that last one? The one I didn’t predict? It blew me away.
The Last Magician is a story of magic and time travel, of betrayal and death. I finished this book within twenty-four hours of starting it and could not possibly sing its praises more. I was skeptical, at first, of the main character Esta. Initially I believed I would not like her at all, but in fact she quickly became one of my all-time favorite characters. Harte, bitter and sarcastic, was so much fun. Even Dolph, who at times might have been somewhat boring, was so brilliantly written that you can’t help loving him.
Honestly, my single biggest complaint about this novel is the fact that people are comparing it to Leah Bardugo’s Six of Crows. To begin with, despite the heist-nature of the story, the two are nothing alike. Second, The Last Magician is infinitely better both in writing, story, and characters. Granted, this is a personal opinion. Either way, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read and you can bet that I’ll be getting my hands on its sequel very soon.