Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Review: The Illusionist's Apprentice

Author: Kristy Cambron
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Not all illusions happen on the stage.

Wren Lockhart, apprentice to master illusionist Harry Houdini, uses life on a vaudeville stage toescape the pain of her past. She continues her career of illusion after her mentor’s death, intent on burying her true identity.

But when a rival performer’s act goes tragically wrong, the newly formed FBI calls on Wren to speak the truth—and reveal her real name to the world. She transfers her skills for misdirection from the stage to the back halls of vaudeville, as she finds herself the unlikely partner in the FBI’s investigation. All the while Houdini’s words echo in her mind: Whatever occurs, the crowd must believe it’s what you meant to happen. She knows that if anyone digs too deep, secrets long kept hidden may find their way to the surface—and shatter her carefully controlled world.

Set during one of the richest, most vibrant eras in American history, this Jazz Age novel of illusion, suspense, and forgotten pasts is perfect for fans of The Magician’s Lie, challenging all to find the underpinnings of faith on their own life’s stage.

“Prepare to be amazed by The Illusionist's Apprentice.” —Greer Macallister, bestselling author of The Magician's Lie and Girl in Disguise

“Secrets always come up for air. They're never content to stay buried for long.”

“If there was no darkness, there would be no opportunity for light to overcome it.”

“Our mother used to say that a hero doesn't always have to slay a dragon to save the day." She swept a lock of hair behind her ear in an honest gesture, then pursed her lips and looked back at him, her gaze endearing. "Sometimes he just walks through the fire alongside you, and that's enough.” 

Our story follows Wren Lockhart, an elusive young woman who is secretive in nature and lives quite reclusively in order to hide secrets of her past life. All readers know to start with is that her real name is Jennifer Charles, a name which she is terrified for the wrong people to learn, and that she was the protégé to the famous and revered Harry Houdini. The book opens with an action-packed scene in which a local illusionist claims to bring a dead man back to life. The local police soon discover this was actually a murder and quickly start turning to local illusionists for answers – thus how Wren was brought into the investigation. The story captured me in the beginning because of the lyrical writing and vivid character descriptions. I was sure this was going to be a five star read, but was disappointed once I reached the middle of the novel.

While the premise of the story is extremely intriguing, I just began to feel uninterested about halfway through the novel. I began to get frustrated with Wren for how closed off she was and how cold she came off to the people in her life who were just trying to serve justice and discover the truth. While I did like her character description, I was so over her off-putting ways. I was also very disappointed that we did not learn more about Harry Houdini. I hate when authors do this – they tease you with things like “apprentice to escape artist Harry Houdini” and then only showcases him in maybe five or six chapters. I was very disappointed with this. However, I can see myself giving another Kristy Cambron book a try because her writing is very poetic and easy to follow; however, this book will not be making my favorites list for 2018.

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