The Last Magician Review

To start, I apologize for my seven month long absence. Life got a bit crazy and I need to get things back under control. But I did manage to complete one of my reading goals for the year with this book!! 500 pages!! Now the story is a whopping 498, but I decided to be an over achiever and read the acknowledgments also which totaled to 500. So shout out to my local book club for picking this beast as our July book!

I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

The Last Magician follows a young woman named Esta who has the ability to control time, not only can she stop it but she can also travel back in time. (I’m assuming everyone can pick up from the title that the book centers around magic). Esta is also a thief and A very good one at that. She goes back in time to steal powerful artifacts, this leads to her being sent back to 1902 to steal the most difficult thing she ever has. Along the way she meets a plethora of interesting characters and faces several challenges all while she believes she is helping to save her kind.

I went into this book with no information, which is probably best for myself. It started out very slow and that made me nervous considering the size of this book. But as it progresses it develops a steady pace, still on the slow side but manageable. The author focused a lot on the plot which was wonderful and constantly moving in the slightest ways. I never found myself pausing to question what had happened but I also never rushed to find out what was next.

The characters. In the beginning I found many of them hard to relate to but still enjoyable. Esta is a strong female which is nice to see, but she was described like every other strong female lead. Nothing really special about her except her ability. Harte who is the main male character, I enjoyed because he was an ass. Like the whole time. He had soft moments, but at the end of the day he was here to do what he needed to to regardless of who was involved. As the book progressed I just enjoyed Harte’s character more and more, he was the only one that I felt had character development throughout the book. He was a devious ass and a gentleman all at once and I really liked that about him. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Esta and Harte. There was tension but it was more along the lines of trust issues because they were both using each other to complete their personal vendetta. Their relationship never consumed the story as it does in most, the plot was the primary focus. Another character I liked was Nibs, he is mainly a side character. I would even consider him a background character at times. But there is always one whether it’s a background or side character that is just full of surprises. That’s all I’m going to say about Nibs.

I was a bit disappointed with the way the author approached the settings. I feel like this story was so focused on the plot that the setting was forgotten. And considering the main character CAN TRAVEL THROUGH TIME, you would expect the settings to be more detailed and have better representation. But I do like that the concept of the Brink limited the area in the story as it does basically trap everyone possessing natural magic in the city of New York. So that is the only place Esta can go, but she can go into any time period New York has existed in. When a character goes from present day to 1902, I want a drastic setting change because these are two times in no way similar other than geographical location.

The last hundred or so pages actually made me a bit on edge, I wasn’t sure if they were going to be able to steal the book that they spent the entire story preparing to steal. The book basically holds the power to control all magic, so it’s a pretty big deal. After 400 pages I was expecting them to have at least attempted once to get it, but in the last hundred pages is when everything really kicks into gear. Betrayal is everywhere!!! And plot twists!!! The first twist I saw coming but what made it better was the following twist. The author basically baits you in with a predictable twist, then you’re hooked and she catches you with another twist. Totally unexpected! It was refreshing, but through all of this the story had a steady pace.

Overall I gave this book a 4/5 Stars, the fourth star is solely for the plot twists at the last second. It was an enjoyable read but not fast paced, keep you up at night enjoyable. I loved reading about the magic and watching the story progress but the lack of setting is keeping it from being a full five.

Thank you for reading my rambles. I will try to post another review soon and next time,

Tiffany

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Review

Jonathan Safran Foer is known for writing such meaningful and brilliant novels, his work is highly praised across the globe. I was so excited to finally read something of his and I had such high expectations for this book, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. 

When picking up this book, all I had heard was how absolutely wonderful it was! It held so much meaning and it was whimsical! While the book did hold those qualities, they didn’t strike me as hard as I had hoped for. 

We follow a nine year old boy by the name of Oskar. Oskars father died in the attacks on 9/11. This heartbroken boy stumbles upon a key in his late fathers closet and is determined to find what it opens. He wonders maybe his father left it for him to find. He spends well over eight months scowering the city of New York to find its lock and meets wonderful people along the way. But I’d ultimately let down when the key is unrelated to his father. 

I was bewildered by the fact that we had a book that took place around such a large American Tragedy. The attacks on the World Trade Center are not something we see in literature, especially young adult literature and it astounded me that the author thought to base a story around one young boy who was so effected by this event. I loved the fact that we followed such a young character, who is experiencing a plethora of emotions and is searching for answers he may never get. That will hit anyone in the feels, regardless of where you are from! 

I feel for Oskar, he is depressed and this key gives him something to put his mind to for awhile and helps him cope with his lose. I was really hopting to see more symbolism in this story, as I am sure there is. I just missed it. I don’t think I read this book at an appropriate time in my life to see all of it. It took me nearly a month to complete. But the symbolism I did see, I loved enough to want to reread this later in my life. I loved that Oskar was scared to show his mother the recordings he hid of his dads calls. I loved that his mother knew that he was walking around New York City searching for this key and never told her son she would call all these people he would meet ahead of time to keep him safe. I love the deep and profound love his grandmother has for him. I think I enjoyed reading the tidbits we get from Oskars grandma the most. We get an onsite into why his grandfather left and what an odd relationship they had, we get to see a man trying to redeem himself to be in his grandsons life. There are so many touching moments in this story and it saddens me that I didn’t get the impact I was expecting. 

Overall, at this point in time, I gave the book a 2.75/5 stars. I will round that up, 3/5 stars. The writing was beautiful, but slow at times. I love the symbolism I did see and hope to see more when I reread this at a later date. I feel like we lost sight of the plot at times, some of the events in the book just didn’t fit. This book was way over hyped though and I believe that is part of the reason I am still holding out hope. But I will continue to hold that hope. Thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany