Gush Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Published by: Simon and Schuster

Date of Publication: July 18th 2017

Genres: YA Historical Fantasy

Pages: 512

Format: eGalley


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.

Some of you may have already noticed my header but for those that haven’t, this will be for all intents and purposes be a Gush Review!

The Last Magician was after my heart with its magic infused Gangs of New York/Six of Crows vibes *heart eyes emoji* 

We get introduced to our main protagonist Esta who is a Mageus with the ability to time travel. As an orphan Esta was taken in and trained by Professor Lachlan to steal magical artifacts. The purpose of each task is to prepare her for her toughest and take her back the furthest in time…going back to New York City 1902. Esta has studied many different languages, fashions, ways of life but nothing will prove as challenging as the early 1900’s. So much depends on her succeeding in stealing the Ars Arcana aka the oldest book of magic out of 1902 & getting it back to professor Lachlan. The Ars Arcana contains many of the oldest secrets of magic & is protected by The Order, an elite society created to protect the city against magic by way of the Ars Arcana and The Brink. At the very edge of the city is The Brink which serves as a barrier to contain those with magical abilities inside NYC. Those who have dared to cross it have either died or been left as empty vessels of their former selves unable to live life stripped from their magic. Esta travels back to 1902 to steal the Ars Arcana before The Magician can get away with it altering Present time for the worse.

Much of the book is spent in 1902 due to unforeseen circumstances & since this was a time where Old magic was alive & vibrant, the city is crawling with hidden Mageus. For Esta this comes as a surprise since in present time NYC where she comes from, much of the Old magic no longer exists having been weakened through the passage of time & generations. Esta finds her way into one of the gangs roaming the streets of NYC who happen to all be Mageus by using her abilities to prove her worth. I LOVED EVERYTHING about this plot line! Maxwell covered everything so well from gang rivalry, politics, and the slums of the Lower East side Manhattan to the Mageus and each of their individual abilities. I was sucked in from the very 1st page!

Esta- Our main protagonist is a Feminist Mageus with the ability to time travel & manipulate time…need I say more? HAHA! On a serious note, seeing her in 1902 NYC surrounded by men who viewed women as the inferior sex gave readers a realistic view of the times. Misogyny wasn’t a word being thrown around, it was the norm. Esta at times found herself scoffing at comments made at her more risqué choice of clothing only to remind herself that these people are a product of their time. Esta is also very loyal, smart and plays her cards close to her chest which made her an instant fave of mine.

Harte Darrigan- Not a part of anyones gang really, he’s a loner with a dark past & an even more messed up childhood. Harte is also a Mageus (won’t spoil his affinity since its spoilery) & is completely taken aback by Esta, a woman so ahead of her times that he can’t spend more than 5 minutes around her w/out turning 50 shades of red & yea I enjoyed their interactions a ton! Harte also has his own agenda that may or may not be an issue for Esta…

Dolph Saunders- The leader of the gang Esta joins & this character has that Kaz Brekker feel but he’s def way more cold hearted when need be. Dolph is a man carrying around his regrets & on a mission for vengeance by way of freeing all Mageus from the constraints of The Brink & The Order. He’s only interested interested in your loyalty & your affinity otherwise you have no seat at his table.

Nibs- The right hand young man Dolph keeps around handling the finances at the bar where he conducts all matters of business. Dolph trusts Nibs more than he does anyone else & often will look to him for their next move 😉

Viola- LOVE HER! described as Italian with dark hair & lavender colored eyes, Viola is sick with blades & her affinity is very valuable. She also happens to be the sister of another major gang boss. Dolph offered her a home & safety once her family turned against her. Viola is a lesbian & these times were no where near as accepting as Present time. I really wanted to see this character get her happy ending but understood that it wouldn’t be true to the time.

Jianyu- A man more comfortable hidden within the shadows he is VERY valuable as well. Jianyu is the equivalent of Varys The Spider on Game of Thrones only not as manipulative lol. He is observant & similarly to Viola, has a family head who is the head of a gang in Chinatown. Jianyu however, opted for the lesser of two evils with Dolph 😉

I’ve always been a fan of time pieces & seeing YA books dipping into Historical Fiction has been so much fun! this YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy was EVERYTHING I never knew I needed! Seeing my city back in the 1900’s was a real treat sans the misogyny of course lol. The inclusivity of such diverse characters did not go unnoticed, the author had bits and pieces of other languages giving the characters that fleshed out feel I LOVE! It was interesting reading a diverse Fantasy that also shed light on the inequalities that existed during the 1900’s. Maxwell calls The Last Magician a “behemoth” of a book in the Authors Afterward & that it is but I enjoyed every minute I spent in this world. I can see this heist playing out on the big screen with flashes of old NYC & present day modern NYC, I’d buy that ticket ASAP! This was my 1st Lisa Maxwell book & I’ve fallen in love with her writing! I’ve heard mention that this is a standalone & yet THAT ENDING! bookworms…dare I grasp on to hope for more? I really hope we get at least a Duology *fingers crossed*

*Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster, Netgalley, & Lisa Maxwell for the eGalley copy of The Last Magician in exchange for an honest review

Lovely Bookworms! who has already read The Last Magician? Thoughts? Who was your fave Mageus? & if you had to choose, would you live in 1902 NYC or Present Day NYC?


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Twitter: @LairOfBooks

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Author: LairOfBooks

"I didn't choose the Book Life, the Book Life chose me"

54 thoughts on “Gush Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell”

  1. I’m so glad you liked this as much as I did!! I seriously loved this book so much and I need to get myself a finished copy of it (especially since I might be meeting the author in September!). And it’s going to be a duology! For some reason, there isn’t any info on Goodreads, but YA and Wine did an interview with Lisa Maxwell and she said it will have a sequel. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Goodness! Yes Krysti did do an interview! I always write them down when I haven’t finished a book but these past 2 weeks have been hell on my health. Thanks for the reminder, going to her page after yours 😉 I’m SOOOO HAPPY!!!! a duology is all I need! haha! eeeeeeK! you made my Sunday 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hahaha no worries, I do the same thing! I always plan to go back and read other people’s reviews/posts about a book and then completely forget 😛 I can’t wait to read book 2! I might die waiting for it, haha.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Lovely review! That book sounds SO interesting, I’ve been curious about it ever since I started seeing it on blogs everywhere and obviously, with that synopsis, I felt like I had to add it to my TBR. Seems like I made the right choice here, all of the characters and that world seems SO captivating. Can’t wait to read it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Marie, this book did not disappoint! I’m so happy! Kourtni from KourtniReads just informed me that it will in fact be a duology *excited emoji* I hope you enjoy the read when you get around to it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nice! I didn’t read Unhooked & I’ll admit to part of the reason being mixed reviews but now that’s out the window! I’ll def be reading that one very soon 😉💕

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Great review!! We really like that you went into details about all of the characters! They all sound so interesting! Can’t wait to read this one!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I didn’t actually see the Gush Review part of your header until you mentioned it in your review. 🙂 I saw the cover for The Last Magician and knew I needed to see what you thought of this book so my mind skipped past the first two words.
    Anyways I’m really glad you enjoyed this book Lilly. I have this on my Kindle and really want to try and start it next week. You’ve made me want to jump into it right this second and I’m already part way through one book with another I need to start afterwards before I can pick up The Last Magician. The blend of historical fiction and fantasy is definitely intriguing me, and the fact that you rated it five stars seems a pretty good indicator I’m going to love it as well.
    Great review! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Beth! I’m really starting to see just how much I enjoy the blend of Historical Fiction and Fantasy, honestly a favorite ☺️ this book pulled it off so well & left me asking for a sequel. These characters are so near & dear to my heart, right up there with the Six of Crows crew! Yea, I know, that’s saying a lot! 😂but they were so fleshed out & amazing! 🤗cannot wait to hear your thoughts when you get around to it 🙃💕I’m actually on my way to Barnes & Nobles to pick up a hard copy lol, happy reading Beth 💙📚💙

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh wow, if you’re comparing the characters to the Six of Crows lot then I now know I need to read this book. 🙂 Also after reading The Gentleman’s Guide I kind of want to read more Historical Fiction/Fantasy books, there’s definitely a gap in the market for them.
        After reading your review I can’t wait to read this book! 😀 I’ll be sure to let you know what I think when I’ve finished it Lilly. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. OHMYGOSH! Thank you Beth, that means a lot to me. If I come across any Historical Fiction in YA, I know I will be reading said book since it’s become something I can’t resist now. I can’t wait to chat with you about this one when you get around to it 🙂 *excited emoji*

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s all right! It’s become the same for me. I may actually have to search out some to add to my to-read list, because this one is the only one I’m aware of.
        I have one more book I need to finish first, so I’m hoping to start The Last Magician on Thursday! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Omgosh! Yes, Raven! I remember seeing your review show up in my notifications & wanted to read so bad but I was still reading the book 😂😂😂 Dolph totally gives off Kaz vibes lol, and I’m very glad you also enjoyed this one. I am heading over to your blog now 😉💕


  5. *adds to wishlist and the rest is history* lmao! twin seriously, if i didn’t have all those books i need to read, i would buy this right now and read it once it got to my doorstep but that is why it will be held off. you have me here wanting this book right now. gangs of new york, 1900s, compared to six of crows, the cast of characters, and MAGIC?!?! jesusantisimo GIVE IT TO ME lol!!!! you even used a .gif twin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lmao!!! Thank you twin! 😘 I know you’d really like this one, it’s just the type of book we LOVE reading. The author really did her research & nailed it with her 1900’s setting. I seriously went straight to my small stash of DVD’s after I finished reading it. I only own 5 DVD’s and one of them of course is Gangs of New York 🙌🏼 LOVE that movie 😃& The Last Magician was just what I needed 😉 I even used .gif!!! 🤣🤣🤣 that’s how you know I really LOVED a book 🙌🏼

      Liked by 1 person

  6. YES!!! I’ve been waiting for this review ever since I saw you were reading it lol I am super excited that more YA authors are dipping their toes into historical fiction! This book must have been so hard to write because not only is there fantasy elements (I think fantasy must be so hard to write!) but she mashes fantasy with historical fiction, which good HF needs LOADS of research! It sounds like the author pulls it off beautifully. Officially adding this one to the TBR now that it has your stamp of approval 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! thank you Amanda! Actually, in the afterword the author does go into the difficulties she had to overcome writing this chunker, it def wasn’t easy as you’ve already guessed. There was tons of research into Old New York, Ellis Island, immigrants, and city life. HF & Fantasy is now my top fave combination and I think you’d love this book as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did & can’t wait to hear your thoughts 🙂


  7. As always, a GREAT review Lilly! This book is one I only recently heard about and I am completely on board with you– Gangs of New York meets Six of Crows with a feminist twist?! YES PLEASE! Obviously, that puts The Last Magician high on my TBR.

    I love seeing more and more YA authors branching into realistic historical fiction. Your points about how challenging it is for Esta in 1902 as an independent female just make me gush, too. There’s nothing worse than a historical fiction novel which doesn’t really take history seriously. Yes, 1902 was a completely different time. And that needs to be acknowledged! Well. Also this is more like historical fantasy, not really historical fiction… I love cross-over genre books too. ACK. LILLY. I WANT THIS BOOK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HAHA! I love your excitement! that’s exactly how I felt when first hearing about this book & I’m so happy it lived up to my expectations 🙂 I’m Super happy to see more Historical Fiction make its way int YA & this blend with Fantasy is just perfect for me! I really hope you get around to this one & that you love it as much as I did 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “with its magic infused Gangs of New York/Six of Crows vibes.” Say no more, I’m on this train already. Any mention of Six of Crows is a plus in my book! But really, this sounds amazing! You make me want to bump this up to the top of my TBR. Historical fictions are my weakness and I love the time period and setting for this one. Also, the characters and magical elements seem to be very well-developed. I think I”ll be adding this one to my cart as well! Great review, Lilly! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome Azia! Love convincing bookworms to read my faves 😂 no but seriously, this one has Six of Crows vibes and Gangs of NY ughhh two of my faves!!! Seriously cannot wait for the sequel 🤗🤗🤗hope you get around to it & if you do, please let me know your thoughts 😆

      Liked by 1 person

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