I hadn’t really heard much about this one when it appeared on my radar but it didn’t take long before I realized this book was entirely up my alley!
So thanks to the author, as well as HarperTeen via NetGalley for the review copy!
Jack Nevin’s clever trickery and moral flexibility have served him well his entire life—making him the perfect assistant to the Enchantress, one of the most well-known stage magicians in early-twentieth-century Europe. Without Jack’s steady supply of stolen tricks and copycat sleight-of-hand illusions, the Enchantress’s fame would have burned out long ago—not that she would ever admit it.
But when they’re forced to flee the continent for America, the Enchantress finds a new audience in Seattle at the 1909 Alaska–Yukon–Pacific World’s Fair Exposition. She and Jack are set to make a fortune until a new magician arrives on the scene. Performing tricks that defy the imagination, Laszlo’s act threatens to overshadow the Enchantress and co-opt her audience. Jack has no choice but to hunt for the secrets behind Laszlo’s otherworldly illusions—but what he uncovers isn’t at all what he expected.
What makes Laszlo’s tricks possible is, unbelievably, a boy that can seemingly perform real magic. Wilhelm’s abilities defy all the laws of physics. His talents are no clever sleights-of-hand. But even though Laszlo and Wilhelm’s act threatens to destroy the life Jack and the Enchantress have built, Jack and Wilhelm have near-instant connection. As the rivalry between the Enchantress and Laszlo grows increasingly dangerous and dire, Jack finds he has to choose between the woman who gave him a life and the boy who is offering him love. It’s a new star-crossed romance about the magic of first love from acclaimed author Shaun David Hutchinson.
This is the story of Jack Nevin, who is the assistant of The Enchantress, one of the greatest magicians of the age. He was taken in off the streets by The Enchantress when he was young and alone and under her tutelage has become a great illusionist as well as pickpocket and lockpick. It is also the story of Wilhelm, who is more or less a prisoner of Laszlo, a conman and thief turned magician at the World’s Fair in Seattle. Wilhelm is unique in that he can actually do real magic, making people and things travel over short distances. When Jack and Wilhelm meet, there is is an almost instant connection and Jack decides that he must free Wilhelm from his captivity, no matter if it crosses the woman who saved his life and gave him a home.
I stayed up reading this book until ridiculously late on starting it. I couldn’t put it down and once I was halfway through or so and looked at the clock and realized it was 3AM, that I should probably put it down. The story is riveting, and I absolutely loved Jack and Wilhelm while absolutely hating The Enchantress and Laszlo. I also really ended up liking some of the minor characters, like Ruth, who is a dancer at the World’s Fair and occasional bootlegger that Jack meets, as well as Jessalyn, who acts as Laszlo’s assistant.
It was really well written, easy to sit down with for hours at a time, and the romance between Wilhelm and Jack was adorable. The turn-of-the-century America setting was really easy for me to imagine, and so it felt somewhat like a film going on in my head. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes adorable YA romance, turn-of-the-century settings, or just easy magical reads. 4.5/5 stars!~