Illusions by Madeline J. Reynolds


Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Victorian
Release Date: November 6th 2018
Entangled Teen

Dear Thomas,

I know you're angry. It's true, I was sent to expose your mentor as a fraud illusionist, and instead I have put your secret in jeopardy. I fear I have even put your life in jeopardy. For that I can only beg your forgiveness. I've fallen for you. You know I have. And I never wanted to create a rift between us, but if it means protecting you from those who wish you dead—I'll do it. I'll do anything to keep you safe, whatever the sacrifice. Please forgive me for all I've done and what I'm about to do next. I promise, it's one magic trick no one will ever see coming.


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Neville Wighton the Great. The whole reason we came here. We were originally supposed to perform in Munich, but while we were renting an apartment in Prague, I’d discovered a flyer for this “Neville Wighton the Great,” making the same claims as that very poster. I had moved to throw the flyer away, but Paolo had ripped it from my hands and screamed, “Don’t touch it!”
            What is odd is I’d heard scarce little of Wighton before coming across the flyer. Any professionally working illusionist makes near-identical claims about their own performances.
            A trick never before seen!
            The greatest illusion on this earth!
            Magic that will make you believe!
            Paolo is never really one to notice or care, especially when it comes to performers who are so far beneath him. Yet this one commands every ounce of his being.
            I was finally able to pry him away and usher him back into our carriage. Now we are settling comfortably into our rooms.
            Why was my mentor in such a state? The advertisements make it seem that it will be a performance like most others. All I really know of the man is that he is older, so, as a veteran of the stage, he likely will not stoop to anything so simple as mere card tricks. Through the use of mirrors, cabinets with secret compartments, trapdoors leading underneath the stage, and a young woman with tantalizing good looks and a provocative, most likely sequined, costume (much like our Isabella), the man will entertain, confound, and possibly even amaze the simple folk who hand over their money in the hopes of seeing something that they cannot explain.
            Still, this is not unlike many other illusionists performing all around the world. There is a man over in the States who refers to himself as The Alchemist who has his assistant collect simple copper pennies from volunteers in his audience and he then appears to turn the coins into gold before returning them to the delighted audience members.
            There will always be competition, there will always be new illusions being tested and even perfected, there will always be some new (or in this case, old) face that captures an audience’s eyes and hearts. I see no reason to spy on a performance that undoubtedly employs many of the same tricks or elements that Paolo currently utilizes himself.
            I tried convincing my mentor of this to calm him.

            “I have to see his trick,” was all he said back to me.

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This book is written in a series of journal entries, correspondence and newspaper clippings.
For some, it is an unusual style to get used to reading. 
Neville Wighton the Great is an aging magician who hasn't had the success he wanted until he discovers a secret. Thomas Pendelton, his apprentice assistant, is the key to Neville's legacy. Thomas is a sensitive sort of person.
Saverio Moretti, apprentice to another magician, is determined to figure out why Neville has suddenly become so magical.  His approach to this secret is to get closer to Thomas.  He never planned to actually have feelings for Thomas. Saverio considers himself more of a tough person.

I had hoped the magician aspect of the book would have been more prominent but this is really a character study. The beginning of the book is a bit slow and steady but as we get to care about the apprentices the pace and emotional involvement picks up.

About the Author

Madeline J. Reynolds is a YA fantasy author living in Chicago. Originally from Minneapolis, she has a background in journalism and has always loved storytelling in its various forms. When not writing, she can be found exploring the city, eating Thai food, or lost in an epic Lord of the Rings marathon.

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