Title: The Serpent’s Curse
Series: The Last Magician #3
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: April 13th, 2021 (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Evade the serpent.
Heed the curse.
Rewrite the present.
Esta isn’t a stranger to high-stakes heists. She’s a seasoned thief who has no reservations about using her affinity for time to give her an edge, and she’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries, and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control.
But the Book held a danger that no one anticipated—Seshat, an angry goddess was trapped within its pages. Now that terrible power lives within Harte, and if given the chance, Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her revenge.
Only Esta and Harte stand in her way.
Yet in their search to recover the elemental stones needed to bind Seshat’s power, Esta and Harte have found themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. As Esta fights to get back to Harte, the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way.
Saving Harte—and magic itself—will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined…
Esta and Harte continue their quest to find the remaining stones that are scattered across the country, but the Order is not far behind and their influence presents an obstacle wherever – and whenever – they travel. More dangerous however, is the powerful goddess, Seshat, who now resides inside Harte and wants nothing more than to break free and destroy Thoth and all magic. Back in 1902 New York, Viola, Jianyu and Cela come up with a plan to get back the Delphi’s Tear while also dealing simultaneously with two enemies – the Order and Nibsy Lorcan.
It took me forever to write this review because I kept giving away some or the other important plot point. I’ve been a huge fan of this series ever since I read The Last Magician, and this book is another marvellous addition to the set. It jumps straight into the action from page one and there’s certainly never a dull moment. I didn’t have the time to reread the previous books and had to make do with just reading a recap, but they were very helpful, especially since this story has always been very plot heavy and the finer points are easily forgotten. I really enjoy the writing and the author’s style makes it so easy to visualize what is happening.
It was nice to see all these familiar characters again – plus a few new ones – and this has to be the first series I’ve ever read where I’m more interested in the arcs of the secondary characters than those of the protagonists. Yes, Esta and Harte’s back and forth was thoroughly frustrating and they go around in circles for far too long yet again – while continuing to leave a trail of unintended destruction as they try to find the two remaining stones. The best group of characters in this book, in my opinion, was that of Jianyu, Violet, Cela and Abel who work past their initial rough start and overcome their differences to become a true team and this was just so wonderful to see. Jack Grew, who we found out is being possessed by the spirit of Thoth from the book, plays a central role, appearing as a major antagonist across timelines working against the Mageus with his fear mongering, and I was very impressed with how well thought out his plotline was, making him a villain you really love to hate. James, aka Nibsy, was an equally ingenious villain and I am very interested to see how he is going to be brought down.
I didn’t realize until I was nearly halfway through this book that it wasn’t the finale as originally planned and that one more book has been added to the series – and I’m not too happy about it. It was already a 2 1/2 year wait for this one and when the books are this long and complex, it’s hard to remember what happened previously and not convenient to reread either. To be honest, I would have preferred the original 900 page book as planned if the series had wrapped up, because even with it being split up, The Serpent’s Curse still felt like reading two books. That said though, if this had to be stretched out into four books (there’s certainly enough plot for it), they could have atleast condensed this one a little. There were several plotlines that felt completely unnecessary and just made for more things to keep track of, reducing the impact of the main events.
Compared to book 2, this was more plot heavy and with the way this book ended, the finale (whenever that will be) promises to be an interesting one. The Serpent’s Curse definitely takes more than a little patience to get through, but it’s worth the read and I would continue to recommend this series!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: