Author: Lisa Maxwell.
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.
Another three-star middling book. I never quite connected with the main character; never quite related to her emotions. She was just too reserved. Right at the beginning, she accidentally changes the present so that a friend of hers doesn’t exist… and it’s not devastating. She’s upset, she feels guilty, and then she moves on and concentrates on her next mission. It’s not that I want her to have a break down, except that… yes, if you just erased your friend right out of reality, maybe I do expect you to have a breakdown.
I did like the alternate-history-magic setting, which felt a bit more vivid and interesting than the generic backdrops often used in fantasy, and added a layer to the whole story. The tangled knot of alliances and betrayals and personal interests makes it an intriguing guessing game to try and figure out what each character actually wants, and the ending reveals were indeed unpredicted.
Sexual Content: Girl says she stole man’s pin because he “couldn’t keep his hands to himself”./ Describes actress as scantily-dressed, and as performing with bawdy jokes and double entendres. Mention of prostitutes. Character blackmails man cheating on his wife. Multiple instances of kissing; one physically forced, one magically-forced, and the rest consensual. Some innuendo in joking. Character describes a trio of female actors as having “about as much talent as a trio of alley cats in heat”. Character comments on one girl appearing attracted to another girl, then thinks to self that she forgot about her ‘modern sensibilities’ when the girl reacts with horror at the suggestion/being exposed.
Language: 27 d***, 24 hell, 6 scatological terms, 5 derogatory terms
Violence: One character stabs another in the leg with a poisoned blade. Two characters shot non-lethally. Man tries to pin a girl down, she breaks his nose and kicks him unconscious. Character remembers seeing gang-leader kill disobedient member with magical brand. Character shot in back and killed. Punch to the face. Girl knocked out by police baton. Characters deliberately set city fires.