Thursday, February 23, 2017

‘The Last Magician’ by Lisa Maxwell

4 magical stars!

YA fantasy author Lisa Maxwell sweeps us up in a tale that transcends time, centered around the streets of New York City, with gangs and magicians.

‘The Last Magician’ is a wonderful blend of magic and time travel.  In a city torn apart by those who do not possess an affinity for magic - but seek to control those who do – a magical barrier was created long ago, to trap magicians.  In modern day New York City, magic has nearly died out completely. 

Our main character, Esta, has trained as a thief her entire life.  She is able to use her magical affinity to control time, and with the aid of a gem that enhances her affinity, she can also travel through time.  Her teacher and father-figure lays out a course of robberies for her over the years, to accumulate various magical artifacts, in pursuit of an endeavor to change the past and create a more secure future for those with magic.

We first meet Esta in the middle of an exciting heist in 1926.  Soon she is sent back from present day NYC to 1901 in order to stop the Magician from stealing the Book.  The very same Book she is tasked with bringing into present day in order to change things.  However, the gem used to enhance Esta’s affinity cannot exist in two places at the same time, and since it already exists in New York City in the 1901 Esta jumped into, her gem disappears upon arrival.  Much of Maxwell’s book consists of following Esta for weeks in 1901, navigating among the mageus of the time, and their gangs.

The story is told through several perspectives; through Esta’s, through the Last Magician’s, and a few others.  Transitions are easy to follow, and different points of view during a single heist is sometimes appreciated.

What I enjoyed most about ‘The Last Magician’ was the world building, the magic affinities, and the relationships between the mageus in 1901.  I look forward to reading what happens next!

I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book.  All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s.

‘The Last Magician’ will be available in July 18, 2017!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

'Ensnared' by Rita Stradling

5 magical stars!

‘Ensnared’ is a fantastic re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.  Perfect for fans of 'The Lunar Chronicles' by Marissa Meyer.  It takes place in the near future, with slightly more advanced technology, including AI systems that run households and self-driving vehicles.

When Alainn’s genius father racks up serious debts between inventing robots and gambling, he takes a job from the wealthy recluse Lorccan, who is already happy with his work.  Rosebud is the AI running his private tower home, a home where no human is welcome.  When Alainn’s father and brother are unable to finish the new robot on time for Lorccan, the robot itself comes up with the idea for Alainn to take her place.  Though Rose was modeled after Alainn and the two appear to be nearly identical, readers must employ a slight suspension of disbelief as Alainn joins Lorccan’s household without him realizing she is human.

As one might expect for a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, Lorccan, wealthy recluse that he is, is physically scarred.  Turns out he commissioned the life-like robot, Rose, for the purpose of becoming more comfortable with others, so that he may eventually interact with real people, face-to-face.  Even the AI running his solitary tower, Rosebud, encourages Alainn to interact with him; to save him.

‘Ensnared’ takes on a life of its own, advancing beyond the usual Beauty and the Beast narrative, as Rose-the-robot advances past her programming and acts increasingly independently to further her own agenda.

The connections between the characters in this story are sweet and touching.  The robotics and technology are explained with enough detail to be believable.  Though we are not treated to singing candelabras, there are some adorable robot monkeys to look forward to.

I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book.  All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s.

'Ensnared' will be available in May 2017!

Friday, February 10, 2017

‘Blood Rose Rebellion’ (Blood Rose Rebellion, #1) by Rosalyn Eves

3.5 magical stars

In her debut YA fantasy novel, author Rosalyn Eves shows great potential. She combines the real-life revolution in Victorian Era Hungary with a fictional main character, Anna, who seems to be the only member of her family born without magic. Eves provides vivid descriptions for several different types of magic throughout this tale. While the spell work is exciting, the dry writing prevents the book from being truly magical.

I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s.

‘Blood Rose Rebellion’ will be available on March 28, 2017!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

‘Waging War’ and ‘Cheating Death’ (The Immortal Descendants #4-5) by April White

5 death-defying stars!

‘Marking Time’ review.
‘Tempting Fate’ review.
‘Changing Nature’ review.

Spoilers ahead:

‘Waging War’ follows Saira on an incredible journey through time and ends in the mother of all cliff-hangers.  Dive straight into book 5:

‘Cheating Death’ is an excellent conclusion to a delightful and complex series.  Readers finally learn the truth about what happened between the original Immortals, as well as the motivation and connections behind all the pot-stirring Mongers.

‘Cheating Death’ is the fifth and final entry in a completed five-book series about Clockers, Seers, Shifters, War Mongers, and Suckers.  Stay tuned to author April White for a spin-off series in the future!