Maxwell (Unhooked) introduces an alternate version of present-day New York City where those with magical talents, known as Mageus, are trapped in the city by a magic-stealing barrier called the Brink; the barrier was created by the Order, an organization bent on getting rid of the Mageus. Esta, a Mageus with some control over time, has been trained in the art of thievery since she was a child. Her mission: return to a New York City of the past and steal the Ars Arcana, the book responsible for the creation of the Brink. With painstaking worldbuilding, Maxwell captures the danger and grittiness of New York City in the early 1900s as Esta navigates poverty, deception, and desperation to complete her mission while battling her growing attraction to the man who also means to steal the book. The pace is somewhat slow, and Maxwell leans on a few too many clichés—including a hulking black character with medicine man–like healing powers and an Chinese spy who relies on stealth—but altogether she provides a solid introduction into her new world. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kathleen Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary. (July)
Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated one character's profession.
Reviewed on: 05/08/2017 Release date: 07/18/2017 Genre: Children's