The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2), by Lisa Maxwell
Publish Date: October 9, 2018
Published by: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)
**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss, and as an ARC from BookCon 2018, in return for an honest review.**
Hunt the Stones.
Beware the Thief.
Avenge the Past.
Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.
Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.
To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.
In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.
As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.
I absolutely adored reading The Last Magician last year so of course this was going to be one of my most anticipated releases this year. I loved Maxwell’s world-building in this first one, and it continued to be just as great in this one, if a little more confusing with some new information, and of course the characters are definitely what kept me going. There were some flaws, though, and it did feel like it dragged a bit at times, but overall I was mostly content with it as a sequel.
I think my biggest issue with this book was the addition of new characters and concepts, mainly the Antistasi. I completely understand where they come from and how things led to their group to being what they are, but I just felt for most of the novel that it was just one more unnecessary conflict against Harte and Esta. We already had Nibsy and the Order to deal with, and having to understand and contend with this new morally grey group had me feeling like I was being pulled in one too many directions in the story. It wasn’t until the very end that things were made a little clearer, but even that final revelation wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling that I did not care for the Antistasi storyline at all. It served nothing except to cause more tension between Harte and Esta while showing off characters that were following one person’s ideals blindly and without consideration for consequences most of the time. I don’t know, I just felt like I could have done without the whole Antistasi thing. It just stopped the story in its tracks in a way.
Along with the Antistasi was the addition of new characters and their perspectives. Some felt good and made sense to the plotline, but others just, could have been done without. I’m mostly thinking about the Antisasi characters, to be honest. I very much enjoyed Cela Johnson, and while Ruby was interesting I was only mildly cared about her (she is one of those with a sob story that she kind of exaggerates for herself a bit). I would have liked to see more from Logan’s point of view, and actually, I think the one character I would have liked to see more of, to get a much better understanding of, would be Nibsy – or James, as he prefers. He is supposed to be the Big Bad that no one saw coming in the first book, but in this one he barely graces the page with his own perspective. And I would very much have liked to gotten a little more from him I think.
One thing I did notice in this book was just how stubborn all of these characters are. I liked it in the first book because they didn’t let that define them, but I swear in this one every single character was stubborn to the point of being annoying. Despite knowing that Harte was harboring a power that wanted to consume her own, Esta still got irrationally hurt every time he avoided touching her, angry even, and she basically refused to ever listen to his reasoning about the Antistasi. And Viola would not let Ruby talk for one second, constantly putting words into her mouth and refusing to listen. I get the reason for the stubbornness, but to have it with basically every character got to be annoying and honestly frustrating.
Overall, I enjoyed the read and liked where things were going for the most part. There were several new characters I enjoyed and some I could have done without, and the ones that I already knew felt like they relied on their stubbornness just a bit too much for my liking. But it’s bringing the story along and I look forward to what happens next.
Finishing the Series Challenge: 8 books read, 3 series finished