Title: The Devil’s Thief
Series: The Last Magician #2
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: October 9th, 2018 (Simon Pulse)
Synopsis: 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Simon Pulse, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Picking up right after the shocking ending of The Last Magician, The Devil’s Thief finds Esta and Harte somehow managing to cross the Brink and make it off the island, as they begin their quest to retrieve the four stones scattered across America. But the world beyond the Brink is very different from what they have been told. With the book’s power now inside Harte, and Esta’s affinity also affected by it, an attempt to make a short jump in time to save themselves from Jack results in an accidental two year jump into the future, landing them in a much changed world of 1904 where they head to St Louis and the World’s Fair to find the first of the stones. Back in 1902, Violet and Jianyu find themselves in very precarious positions after Dolph’s murder, no longer under the protection of the Devil’s Own in a city increasingly controlled by the Order, the gangs, or in certain cases, an alliance of both. With Nibsy Lorcan manipulating events in both the past and future, the stakes are about to become higher than ever.
And now to my very overdue review, considering I was supposed to read this book over a year and a half ago. The Devil’s Thief is definitely a more plot centric book, and there isn’t nearly as much action, which results in it being rather drawn out. I’m a little conflicted on this book though – I did end up enjoying it, but there were a lot of places where the point could have been gotten across in a much more concise manner and easy cut down atleast a quarter of this book. It felt unnecessarily long, and really there is absolutely no reason why the second book in a trilogy should be this long – and for people who did read it back in 2018, with a wait of over two years for the finale in this series (which is supposedly even longer), it is very probable that many of the more salient plot points will be forgotten. I’m not one to complain about the length of a book usually, as long as it stays entertaining, but this was not always the case with this book.
The Devil’s Thief not only has constant POV switches, but also frequent timeline changes, will definitely make your head spin, but every change is clearly marked with subheadings which made it a lot easier to get used to over the course of the book. I loved seeing the St Louis World’s Fair come to life through Esta and Harte’s POVs, and as with the first book, the setting and feel of the story is very authentic. This, along with keeping the massive time travel plot free of any loopholes is truly impressive on the part of the author, especially considering just how complicated thing got in this book – and how much more complicated they’re about to get.
I’m not entirely certain about the new Thoth and Seshat plotline for the Ars Arcana as frankly, there’s enough going on in this book without the addition of some kind of divine interference which is not very clearly explained – intriguing yes, but detracting from the main conflict of Order vs Mageus. The same goes for the Antistasi – it was certainly an interesting twist learning who was behind it’s creation, but there was an unnecessary amount of focus on them – a POV certainly wasn’t needed. I am rather curious about North though – sounds like there’s a big secret there, especially following that epilogue! It was also nice to spend some more time with characters like Violet and Jianyu who didn’t really get to take centre stage in The Last Magician, but are now involved in crucial plot lines of their own.
The characters I so loved in the first book are the same for the most part, with one glaring exception – Esta. She is completely unreasonable in this book to the point of irritation, fully aware that something is wrong with Harte, but getting angry when he drew away from her. And let’s not even get into her fascination with the Antistasi – clearly a group who’s just using the unintended infamy behind her name to carry out their own morally questionable plans. She certainly wasn’t this rash in the first book, nor so easily distracted from the real task at hand and seeing such irrational behaviour from Esta was just really infuriating as she continued to not listen to Harte who ended up being the sole voice of reason in nearly every situation.
Nonetheless, I did enjoy this despite the heavy second book syndrome, ending in the now expected, but no less shocking cliffhanger. At 700 pages, The Devil’s Thief is a rather intimidating read, but once the story really gets going, it’s impossible to put down with the nail biting tension as the cards continue to be stacked higher than ever against our heroes. This is definitely a series that is not nearly as hyped as it should be, and I would highly recommend it for fantasy and time travel fans!
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: