Love The Last Magician? Welcome to The Devil’s Thief

If you’ve been following my blog in the last year, you may have seen my review of The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell.

No? Well, how about the fact that it topped my list of favourite books of 2017?

If you haven’t heard of this book yet, that’s all right. We can quickly remedy that. Here’s a quick recap of my previous review on this blog about the wonders of this novel.


the last magician -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.


MY REVIEW

If you want action, excitement, mystery, intrigue and plot twists, then The Last Magician is completely for you!

First off, I need to say that Lisa Maxwell is absolutely phenomenal in her storytelling. I fell in love with this 1900s version of New York and I never wanted to leave it. It’s so very hard to write a good historical fantasy that stays true to the time and location that was chosen. I absolutely loved this, and felt completely immersed in this land as much as Esta did.

Mystery and intrigue are high up there as we follow Esta back to the past to stop this elusive man known only as The Magician from destroying a book of magic that held secrets to protecting all those born with magical abilities in the future. What a tall order that was, but this girl was courageous – if not a bit too reckless at times. She was an amazing protagonist to follow as she navigated a world that wasn’t completely her own yet felt somewhat familiar at the same time.

If that wasn’t enough, the pacing of the book always felt just right. Yes, it could get a little slower in some places, but this gave room for introducing new characters and building relationships. Although a good romance is always forefront on my mind whenever I read a book, I enjoyed the friendships made along the way in this past time. And the book wasn’t completely devoid of romance!

The Magician, as it turns out, was no other than Harte Darrigan, an intriguing guy to follow in the book as well. Although it wasn’t always clear what his intentions and plans were, he’s a character that you can totally put your faith in and support no matter how sketchy others may have viewed him at times. And his chemistry with Esta was tangible, especially when they were at odds with each other. No matter that she’s supposedly his enemy and would have to betray him at some point to get the book, there was so much anticipation for what could be between them. And let me just say, it was enough to satisfy, although I honestly can’t wait for book 2 to come out already.

Even if none of the above has gotten your heart pumping by now, how about this? At the heart of the story, it’s a complicated con and heist that the crew Esta joins would need to pull off in order to steal from the horrendous Order that is hunting all magical people. Who doesn’t love a good villain, first of all? What’s better than some elusive and secretive group chasing the good guys? Honestly, this book HAS IT ALL.

Whether you’re looking for romance, action, suspense, plot twists, good world building or character development, The Last Magician really does have it all . It’s been a long time since I felt this way for a new author, but this feeling Lisa Maxwell induced in me is akin to reading some of Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling and Julie Kagawa’s books. No matter what you love more, or if you aren’t the biggest fan of historical books, trust me, you have GOT to give this a try.

It just may change your entire perspective. Or engulf a good portion of your time as you escape into New York, 1902.

Overall Recommendation:
Words are no match to the strong feelings that The Last Magician has invoked in me. Full of intrigue, suspense, action, character development and romance, Esta’s mission into the past to steal back a book that could save other magical people is both daring and more complex than it initially seems. Along the way, you’ll fall in love with the people she meets there, from a magical crew who becomes like family and a certain Magician who is more than meets the eye. And if not the people, you’ll come to love New York as it was in 1902, with magic as normal as your average person. Lisa Maxwell has created a world that I fell completely into and never wanted to leave. Book 2 is on my most anticipated list for 2018!


And now that it’s 2018? Good news abounds because book 2 now officially has a name and a scheduled release date!

That’s right, folks. The Devil’s Thief is here on October 9!

the devil's thief -lisa maxwell

You can find out more information on Lisa Maxwell’s website at http://www.thelastmagician.com and get in on the latest news about this amazing series that has captured my heart (and $$ from giving so many copies to friends and customers at the store!).

Until its arrival in stores, you will be seeing more updates, news and fun things about this series here on Down the Rabbit Hole. Stay tuned! And don’t forget to check it out 🙂

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Review: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Series: Shadow of the Fox #1

shadow of the fox -julie kagawaOnce Every Thousand Years…

Every millennium, one age ends and another age dawns…and whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers holds the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for any one wish. The time is near…and the missing pieces of the scroll will be sought throughout the land of Iwagoto. The holder of the first piece is a humble, unknown peasant girl with a dangerous secret.

Demons have burned the temple Yumeko was raised in to the ground, killing everyone within, including the master who trained her to both use and hide her kitsune shapeshifting powers. Yumeko escapes with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. Fate thrusts her into the path of a mysterious samurai, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan. Yumeko knows he seeks what she has…and is under orders to kill anything and anyone who stands between him and the scroll.

A wish will be granted and a new age will dawn.


5 Drink Me Potions


**Shadow of the Fox comes out October 2, 2018**

Thank you to Indigo Books & Music and the publisher for this copy in exchange for an honest review

Finally, another masterpiece by Julie Kagawa. I haven’t felt such admiration for her work since the first book of The Iron Fey series came out a decade ago.

A piece of art steeped in Japanese folklore and legends, Shadow of the Fox was a delicious, sometimes even creepy, romp into a Japanese-centric world of samurai, honour, and a refreshing heroine who doesn’t have the answers to everything right off the bat.

Initially, I will admit, the Japanese words and terms can get a little bit confusing, but eventually they become a part of your vocab like you naturally use them. Fans of Japanese animes and mangas may be a little more accustomed to how individuals refer to each other, or the words for demons, ghosts, and other supernatural beings that are a part of Japanese legends. Our protagonist, Yumeko, is a kitsune. A type of fox demon. Regardless of the negative connotation that the word demon normally brings out, this girl was raised in a temple by monks. Yes. Monks. You would think that those wouldn’t go together, right?

If you thought she made for an unlikely heroine, meet our other protagonist. Kage Tatsumi, an infamous member of the Shadow Clan with a dark burden he carries in the form of a sword, is otherwise known as the demonslayer.

Half fox demon and a demonslayer. Unlikely allies. My book senses are already tingling.

But wait! That’s not it at all.

These individuals meet due to strange circumstances. A time is drawing near where the possibility of great evil may emerge. And the only one to stop it from destroying everything they know of this world? A half-kitsune fulfilling a vow she made. Yumeko embarks on an adventure she never asked for, bringing along Tatsumi as they search for a piece of a scroll that could NOT fall into the hands of evil.

For a book this length, there were surprisingly few names that we meet. Yet it works well for this kind of story. A good portion of the book was just the alternating POVs of Yumeko and Tatsumi as they venture towards their next destination in their quest. Other individuals come along, both good and bad, and their company may even grow as they continue. But at the heart of it, this novel really spends a good amount of time developing our 2 protagonists and the main supporting characters. At the end of the day, I felt like I knew this company of unlikely allies and friends. They may each come from different backgrounds, and different secrets or motives may abound between them, yet there is loyalty and might I say, even friendship, that ties them so strongly together.

Romance wasn’t an important part of the book, although those of you who enjoy some elements of it should still be pleased with the little moments between Tatsumi and Yumeko. I personally enjoyed the individual growth each displayed. Yumeko was a naive girl who never knew what the world outside the temple was like. From fighting demons (oni) and ghosts (yurei) and other awful evils intent on preventing them from fulfilling their mission, she learned more of what she could do as part kitsune but never let any of this evil change the caring and trusting heart that she had. Tatsumi is your mysterious, emotionless guy that is quite typical in YA writings. But he’s not as simple as that statement sounds. Throughout the events that unfold, there’s this anticipation building as we watch him balance this fine line of controlling the inner demon inside of him (quite literally).

The depth of world building was by far my favourite. Japanese folklore brought to life, Kagawa really described this land and the magical, mystical creatures that are just a part of Japanese culture. It’s not just your simple samurai (whoop-dee-doo) either. One may be tempted to make comparisons with Renee Ahdieh’s Flame in the Mist series, but I personally think this book goes into it a lot more. The protagonists aren’t your honourable samurai warriors, but rather a ragtag group of people who are normally on the outskirts of this kind of Japanese society. Kitsune, shinobi, ronin.

While the plot was a mere adventure towards the first stop in fulfilling the mission and completing the Dragon scroll everyone is searching for, it sets the foundation for a lot more excitement. The climax of the story answered a few things, although many more questions were opened up. I wouldn’t say it was a cliffhanger but there are definitely teasers hooking me in for more of what’s to come in book 2.

Shadow of the Fox is the book I’ve been waiting for from Julie Kagawa since I read her debut novel. This is the piece of work that I feel describes Julie maybe even more than The Iron Fey books did. And I cannot wait for whatever is to come from what was set in motion here.

Overall Recommendation:
Shadow of the Fox is a remarkable adventure through Japanese legends of spirits, gods, demons and other supernatural entities. Julie Kagawa has drawn us into this Japanese-centric world with unique characters on a mission for pieces of a scroll that hold the key to great wonders or evil. Following unlikely allies Yumeko and Tatsumi on their quest, secrets abound, dangers unfold and more questions open up about who to trust in this world of samurai and oni. I would recommend this book to anyone in search of a book that piques a sense of adventure and amazing world building.

The Last Time I’ll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza

Have you ever felt that someone is just stuck in your mind long after their last steps have taken them walking out of your life?

Have you struggled with letting go of something that may have been toxic, that may have been a complete and TOTAL mess? I mean, you’re better off now. Right?

Have you found yourself reminiscing over all the what-ifs and what-could-have-beens? Are you stuck there? Or have you convinced yourself that you’re no LONGER there?

the last time i'll write about you -dawn lanuza

The Last Time I’ll Write About You resonated with me for that reason as I happen to know what all that felt like.

Love can be a wonderful experience, an emotional connection that takes us to the highest mountains and fills our heart and lungs with the elixir of life.

And yet, love can also be a very complicated thing. Another entire being that can dictate how we view the world, how we interact with it.

Breakups can be so messy because of this. It leaves us vulnerable. Wanting to close in again. And if you’re the one with the heart broken, anything can remind us of that person. Anything.

Dawn Lanuza pens a series of poems that speak to personal experience of such things. While a little rudimentary in style compared to other poets I’ve been reading lately, I think it’s still a collection worth browsing through.

For some people (including me), writing is cathartic. It’s like we have permission to feel the things we do once we pen it all down from our very cramped hearts onto paper (or a screen). And once it’s out there, it hopefully frees up some space inside the 4 chambers of our hearts to start healing.

For some other people, it’s cathartic to know that someone else understands what and how we feel. That we’re not alone in our feelings. That it is okay to be feeling this way. We’re not broken and weak. We’re just human.

This book reminded me of these things. That it’s okay to find it hard to let go sometimes. That it’s not just me who was dumb enough to hold onto something that was never meant to be.

Maybe it can do the same for you.

What resonated the most with me were these 2 poems that I’ll share with you.

1) sometimes the world around us may be reminders of that person in our life – and that’s okay

THE WORLD IS OUR SOUVENIR

The world remembers
What we try to forget
It’s in the embers
Of the things we left

It’s in the concrete,
The streets we used to tread
In the halls we used to meet
When we had hours to spend

It’s in the book you carried home
In this umbrella we shared
It’s in the stars you wished on
In your skin, your palms,
Your fingers: playing with my hair

It’s in your unmade bed
The wrinkle, the weight
It’s in the distance to the door I traveled
In the silence, partings unsaid.

2) hope that we can love again – and love again BETTER

EPILOGUE

Despite everything
I still thank the universe
For blessing me with you
As my first

If I could love you this much
For this long
– And on my first try –
Then surely,

I could love someone else more
Far better
Far longer.


I hope this finds you well in a moment where you may need the encouragement, the hope, that love can come again. Maybe even in a better form. It took me years to get out of this slump, and years where I denied the fact that it still held my heart captive in some ways.

But the freeing feeling of crying over that last poem showed me that maybe those last dredges are gone, and in the meantime, I have learned a lot more about myself through it all.

So whether you needed this encouragement or not, I ask of you today: what is love? And does it have a place in your future?