April 9, 2020

Review: The Glass Magician

Review: The Glass MagicianThe Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer
Published by Tor on April 7, 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
three-stars

Buy on Amazon

The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer is a historical fantasy of manners set in the early 1900s. This book is a serious bit of cover porn – gorgeous! It reminded me, in a good way, of The Prestige by Christopher Priest with its storyline about stage magicians and their rivalries.

Thalia is a young woman who inherited both her father’s act and his manager, Nutall. Her livelihood is threatened when a rival gets her fired and she’s unable to find work elsewhere.

She discovers that the rival stole his big illusion from her father.  Determined to set things straight, Thalia and Nutall attend the rival’s performance, only to see him murdered on stage. Nutall’s arrested in the aftermath and it’s up to Thalia to clear his name. 

Things get complicated when she discovers that she’s not a simple Solitaire, a non-magical human, but a Trader, a two-natured person with an animal shape. She needs to figure out her new powers before her magic is devoured by a Manticore, a beast that stalks those new to their dual natures. The clock is ticking as the Manticore gets closer to finding her and destroying her powers.

My thoughts

Lots of world-building and historical research on display. And the author gives a fascinating look behind the curtain at the life of a Vaudeville magician. While it’s not listed as being part of a series, this felt very much like a first book – lots of explanation and stage setting for future books.

Your thoughts

Do you enjoy this type of fantasy or a more epic saga fantasy? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

Other books

For fans of Patricia Wrede and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Thanks to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for the DRC.

About Caroline Stevermer

Caroline Stevermer grew up miles from anywhere on a dairy farm in southeastern Minnesota. She has a sister and two brothers. After high school, she attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.A. degree in the history of art. She knew she wanted to be a writer when she was eight years old. She began by writing stories in her school notebooks. (They were not good. Many were not even finished. She persisted.) By the time she graduated from college, she knew she would need to earn money in other ways, but she kept on writing. Her first professional sale was The Alchemist: Death of a Borgia, a paperback mystery published by Ace in 1980. In the years since, she has had a variety of jobs and kept on writing. She likes libraries and museums. Her favorite painter is Nicholas Hilliard. Her favorite writer is Mark Twain. She lives in Minnesota.

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