Born of Illusions by Teri Brown

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New York, the 20s. Anna is a skilled illusionist and she helps her mother, Marguerite Van Housen, a well-known medium, during public shows and private séances.

Anna is young, she would like to have more space in the show, to know her father (who appears to be Houdini, accordingly to her mother), but more than anything she would like to understand the meaning of the vision of the future she has.

The novel is a paranormal YA, and a not very original one. For the most of the time we follow Anna’s thoughts about her father, her powers and her two love interest (an extremely original idea).

The setting, but more than that the characters, are not up to the ones of another series, set  in New York with paranormal thematic (The Diviners by Libba Bray).

The novel appears quite boring to me, moreover some turn of events were quite expected, I will not go on with the other book of the series.


Born of Illusions by Teri Brown ★★☆☆☆

*I read this book in english

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[ARC] The Blood Card (DI Stephens & Max Mephisto #3) by Elly Griffiths

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Third novel with DI Stephens and the magician Max Mephisto (here the first and here the second book of the series).

It’s almost coronation day for young queen Elizabeth, and Edgar Stephens has two murder cases to deal with: Madame Zabini, fortune-teller of Romanian origins, and Colonel Cartwright. This second murder becomes soon important – the man was the responsible of the magic men, the group both Edgar and Max belonged to in WWII – and also Max Mephisto is involved in the case, because on the body an ace of hearts card was found, the blood card in the illusionist world.

The inquiry will bring Edgar also in the United States, and soon the hints point to an anarchist group some people belonging to the variety world.

Like the previous novel, this book is a nice read, however I think here it’s almost impossible for the reader to guess the murderer; I have also some doubts about how many books could be based on such two different characters who have also very different works (and how many other reference to the magic men could be used). Similarly to other series we can follow here the evolution of the main characters (Max has to face the advent of television) and their relationships.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in english

[ARC] Smoke and mirrors (DI Stephens & Max Mephisto #2) by Elly Griffiths

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We met Edgar Stephens and Max Mephisto during the murder investigation in which their past played an important role, told in the novel The Zig-zag girl.

We meet them again in this novel, Smoke and Mirrors, second installment of their own book series, while they are busy working around the case concerning the disappearance of two children. Edgar is investigating their disappearance, with the help of two subordinates, Emma and Bob, while Max is busy playing in the Aladdin pantomime, out in Brighton’s theatre..

Like the previous novel I think the crime element is well-built, engaging but hard to solve despite the hints. This time the thread under the story are not magician tricks but fairy tales, that show the dark tones the original versions have.

The investigation sees Edgar as main character, with Emma and Bob, both well characterized respect to the previous installment, while Max has a more secondary role, except for his main role as Edgar friend.

Various hints show that the series should increase by other novels, and I think I’ll read them..

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Smoke and mirrors by Elly Griffiths ★★★★

*I read this book in English

[ARC] The Zig Zag Girl (DI Stephens & Max Mephisto #1) by Elly Griffiths

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The Zig-zag girl is a magic trick: a girl enter in a cabinet and the magician inserts some blades, cutting the girl in three pieces and then, et voilà, it’s easy enough to put her back and she comes out of the cabinet. Round of applause.

Unfortunately one day the detective inspector Edgar Stephens receives three boxes that contains three-part of a girl, and a series of hints bring him remember about the Magic Men group where he belonged during the WWII.  The magic men where a group of illusionist instituted by the MI6 to craft illusion for the sake of german pilots.

Edgar gets back in touch with Max Mephisto, who invented the zig zag girl trick, to try getting back in touch with the other magic men and find a solution for the girl’s murder. This will force him to remember painful memories from the past that he tried to forget for his whole life.

The Zig Zag Girl is a crime novel where different elements fit well together: illusions, memories of war and a general melancholy of the main characters that are well described during the story along with their dreams, regrets and desires.

It’s a nice novel with a well-structured solution that is not evident (despite some hints put the reader on the correct path) and it seems to be the first of a series about Edgar and Max.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths ★★★★

*I read this book in English

[ARC] Archer Coe by Jamie S. Rich & Dan Christensen

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Archer Coe is a famous illusionist, able to hypnotize everybody, both during his show and when he is hired to discovered hidden secrets from various people.

His last work is about discovering the past of the wife of his client, but some strange events begin to happen: the woman says she know Archer, but he does not remember her at all, and a series of murders drive the police towards Archer himself.

The graphic novel is truly engaging: it’s more linear at the beginning and more and more confused and claustrophobic towards the end, the reader is able to follow Archer’s confusion while he tries to put together the missing elements that seems to belong to his past.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Archer Coe by Jamie S. Rich ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in English