Book review: The Magician’s Lie, by Greer Macallister

I wanted to not like this book so much. There was something about this book that is not to my liking, not to mention how disappointed I was when I discovered that this was nothing like The Night Circus (safe for the circus that Arden joined within the book). And then I did come to not like this book. But then I didn’t. But I did again. Then I didn’t. And now I’m confused, because I finished the book and I still don’t know where I stand with it.

The story is incredibly slow and that was the first sign of how much I would not have liked this book at all. It goes back and forth between 1905 when Arden (or Ada) got captured by Officer Virgil Holt for the suspect of a murder of her husband, also between the course of Arden’s life to the point of the night of the murder. I have nothing to complain about the back and forth style of writing, but I do am complaining about the way it was written. You can just tell that the author was stalling everything for the big finale that would knock you off your seat (and yes, although it was somewhat successful the first time, it did not knock me off my seat surprising for me).

I can’t say much about the setting, I rarely read a book set in the US at that time frame, but why do I keep on getting the feel like the area that the author was portraying felt very ancient. I mean it was at the end of the 1800s and at the beginning of 1900s, life should be a bit modern at that time, right? It was almost the break out of WWI. Yes, it does have a telephone, but I don’t know, the way the story was being described, it felt as if it was set in the cowboy era (does this make any sense?).

Okay, straight of the bat, it was really hard to like and/or root for Arden. She’s like a disaster waiting to happened (and time and time again, she manages to live up to that). But, also, at the same time, you can’t help but be amaze at how resilient she is and at her outlook of life. I like the fact that she is brave enough to admit that she is weak but at the same time she shows this resilient that women at her time might not have had. Oh! Before I forgot. Whatever is wrong with Arden’s mother? Not only she is reckless with her own life, eventually she drag Arden to live the reckless life the she chose for herself? How selfish could you possibly be? Parent! Never fail to amaze me with their selfishness.

I had a hard time going through this book because of Arden’s past that she nonchalantly told Officer Holt; it was so dark and sad and obviously would be very utterly traumatising. This is exactly why I said that although I can’t fully like Arden, the fact that she came out alive and strong after what she had gone through in her past is very exemplary and this is a trait that I like to see on female characters, without having to always wield a weapon just to show that she is a strong woman. Arden has definitely gone through too much mental and physical ordeal, and she is still a strong woman. Having said that, I still don’t know whether or not I like her. If anything, I can’t find any single character that I liked in this book. I can tell you who I despise the most though, Ray and Arden’s mother! And come close to being openly despised by me is Arden’s grandparents.

The ending was definitely really bland, given the amount of building up of the story throughout the book. I’m not complaining about it, because at least I got some closure about the million dollar question that has been hanging throughout the book, therefor I can have a closure. I’m also happy to know that Officer Holt also figures out the answer eventually, it would be suck for him to have wasted almost the whole night and not knowing how it ends.

One thing that I find it a bit annoying about this book is its tone, especially when Arden took the reign of the story. It felt too dark and ominous, like you’re just wasting for bad things to happen because it is almost always bad things that happened when Arden took the reign to tell us about her past. Having said this, this might says at how good the writer is for being able to come up with two sets of different tone and world, where one feel ominous and the other is what keeping you to read on.

The story is definitely interesting, because for several times I feel like I’m being tricked to believe that this might be a fantasy story, but then it wasn’t (okay, it might have a bit of fantasy but it was not the main subject although it somehow is the line that ties the whole story together). Then I thought this might be a thriller story, but it wasn’t. Or at times I thought this was going to be a criminal story, but then it wasn’t. That aside, it was very disappointing to have such incredibly story gets predictable just because the author’s attempt to draw up the thrill and the suspense for its final revelation by stalling the storyline. I noticed that the author tends to be overly descriptive about the situation only to end it with a predictable plot twist. I can just tell what is going to happen next from the overly descriptive writing the author did and how hard she tried to prolonged the scene before she goes, ‘BAM! SURPRISE MADAFAKA’. Ha! Jokes on you, Ma’am, because I already predicted that.

Basically, I am a tad bit angry that people said this was something like The Night Circus. This is definitely nowhere near The Night Circus, but that is not to say this is not a good book. I finally made my verdict, I like this book, although the journey was not a happy one. Try and give this book a read if you enjoy a story about a strong willed female character, because you can definitely see it in Arden.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Magician’s Lie

Author: Greer Macallister

Goodreads link

Genre: Fiction, Historical fiction, Fantasy, Mystery

3 thoughts on “Book review: The Magician’s Lie, by Greer Macallister

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