When Esta was just a toddler, she was found in a park by a man called “The Professor.” Esta has magical abilities and was raised in a place with other magical people (“Mageus”) where she developed those abilities to perfection. She can bend time; so effectively that with the help of a magical item, she can time travel. She uses this ability specifically as a master thief.
Magic like Esta’s is all but extinct in her modern-day New York City. There is a magical force around the city called “The Brink” which allows the Mageus to come in, but never to leave. They are trapped. The Professor sends Esta back in time to 1902, when The Brink was just put in place.
All in an attempt to destroy it once and for all.
I’ve discovered something about myself recently: If I enjoy a fantasy book, it’s almost always because it’s based in the real world. My real world. I personally need stories based in a world I can relate to because world-building bores me, plain and simple. So the fact that this book was set in New York City was a plus on my list.
Also, this book reminded me a lot of all the X-Men movies. (Maybe it would remind me of the comics, too, but I don’t read comics so I can’t help you there.) Like the movies, each character has different abilities that are revealed slowly. And they’re totally awesome and we wonder what it would be like if we had cool abilities, too. And which ability we would choose, if we could. (I’d choose to be able to transform my appearance like Mystique. No doubt.)
I really liked the two main characters: Esta and Harte.
Esta reminded me of Katniss, which is not a bad thing at all. She’s well-trained, she trusts herself, and she knows what she’s capable of. I really liked how often Esta’s training is mentioned. She has spent her entire life learning how to interact with people in just the right way, while using her abilities to her advantage. She’s not just naturally able to do everything. She had to learn. I liked the realism in that.
I also really liked Harte. He’s not a hero, really. He’s mainly looking out for himself, but finds himself caught up in something so much bigger. He comes from a terrible background and has had to learn how to protect himself. I loved seeing his internal thoughts, especially about Esta.
This book is relatively fast-paced, although there were some parts that lagged for me. I could have been happy with about 50-100 less pages.
Alsooo… while I appreciated the setting, the world-building still kind of confused me. A whole bunch of powerful (human) men in NYC form a group called “The Order” whose main motivation is to kill the Mageus because… ???
They’re “different”? “Dangerous”?
I was never quite convinced as to what their purpose was and I was pretty confused a lot of the time about the Why of it all.
Still, it was an interesting, magical ride. I’m sure fans of tough heroines, magic, and 20th century NYC will love this one.