Saturday, March 28, 2020

ARC Review: The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer

The Glass Magician
Author: Caroline Stevermer
Publication: Tor Books (April 7, 2020)

Description: Reminiscent of The Golem and the JinniThe Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer is a magical and romantic tale set in New York’s Gilded Age.

New York 1905―The Vanderbilts. The Astors. The Morgans. They are the cream of society―and they own the nation on the cusp of a new century.

Thalia Cutler doesn’t have any of those family connections. What she does know is stage magic and she dazzles audiences with an act that takes your breath away.

That is, until one night when a trick goes horribly awry. In surviving she discovers that she can shapeshift, and has the potential to take her place among the rich and powerful.

But first, she’ll have to learn to control that power…before the real monsters descend to feast.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this historical fantasy set in New York City in 1905. Thalia Cutler is a stage magician who travels the vaudeville circuit with her manager and friend David Nutall. They are Solitaires - ordinary humans. When a trick goes wrong in her show and something extraordinary happens, she begins to search for answers about her past.

David Nutall was her father's best friend but even he doesn't know much about her father's past and about the mother who died when Thalia was three. Research seems to indicate that Thalia might be a Trader - a person who can trade one form for another.

Their circuit takes them to New York City where Thalia decides to perform a new trick. Unfortunately, another magician named Von Faber also does the same trick and has somehow gotten a contract the provides him with exclusivity on the trick. Thalia is fired and wondering what she will do next. She is offered a job by Trader Nathaniel Ryker who is one of the very rich Traders who live in New York. He wants Thalia to convince his sister Nell that a life as a stage magician is not as desirable as she thinks.

Meanwhile, Thalia and Nutall go to see a performance by Von Faber to try to see if he has stolen her trick and watch as the trick goes wrong leaving Von Faber dead on the stage. The police are certain that Nutall is the killer since he had been arguing with Von Faber the night before. Thalia is equally certain that he in not guilty.

Thalia  is attacked by a maniticore who attacks and steals the magic of young Traders who can't yet control their trades. She also meets Tycho Aristides who is the Skinner of New York. His job is to kill manticores and he is very good at it.

Thalia is taken in by the Rykers until she learns to control her trades which makes it difficult for her to find out who actually killed Von Faber. Her mentor Nutall has taken refuge in the Sylvestri embassy because he is apparently a member of that reclusive race - a fact that Thalia did not know. She is determined to clear his name and rescue him from that imprisonment.

I liked the magical system and world building of the story. I liked Thalia resilience as she has to rearrange everything she believed about herself. I liked her determination to help her friend Nutall.

The story leaves lots of room for sequels as their are many questions left unanswered. Thalia has questions about her parents that need answers. I hope more will be written in this world.

Favorite Quote:
This was the real magic. Traders might Trade. Sylvestri might work wonders with a forest. But no one but a stage magician could show people what it looks like to violate the laws of physics.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Great review Kathy, this sounds good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts


I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!