The Glass Magician
By Caroline Stevermer
Author’s Website: carolinestev.ag-sites.net
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
A gilded menagerie rules a Gilded Age: Bears and Bulls are not only real, but dominate humanity in The Glass Magician, an amazing historical fantasy by Caroline Stevermer
What if you could turn into the animal of your heart anytime you want?
With such power, you’d enter the cream of New York society, guaranteed a rich life among the Vanderbilts and Astors, movers and shakers who all have the magical talent and own the nation on the cusp of a new century.
You could. If you were a Trader.
Pity you’re not.
Thalia is a Solitaire, one of the masses who don’t have the animalistic magic. But that is not to say that she doesn’t have talent of another kind—she is a rising stage magician who uses her very human skills to dazzle audiences with amazing feats of prestidigitation. Until one night when a trick goes horribly awry…and Thalia makes a discovery that changes her entire world. And sets her on a path that could bring her riches.
Or kill her.
I liked the Glass Magician, it was a very interesting story with a new spin to the supernatural world of shapeshifters. It tells the story of Thalia, a young stage magician that after an almost failed act, learns that she might not be like the other solitaires. While she and her manager, Nutall, travel to New York for a change of scenery and a new venue, she meets the Ryker siblings that can trade (shift) into seals and otters. As Thalia learns more about her past and the changes she is going through. But as time goes by there are creatures that start to hunt her and endanger those around her.
I’m a fan of fantasy stories, and in the Glass Magician, it was a nice touch to read about stage magicians and stories centered around their acts. While there are more mystical things about the characters and the magic in the world, reading about the mechanics for their stage acts was something that I didn’t like this much, it even makes me want to see a magic act in public.
I liked the characters of Thalia and the Ryker siblings, both Roger and Nell help Thalia in different ways but still want her to be part of their family. Most of the other characters were okay, and I would have liked to read more about Madam Ostrova and her family.
In the case of the narrative, I believed the explanations of the different humans come somewhat late. Since the beginning, the characters use the words, Trader, Solitaire, and Sylvestity but don’t explain for the reader to follow along until later. If it’s a standalone story, then it left out some world-building details that might have made the story easier to follow along, but if there is a second book then it should be explained more.
One of my favorite things was Trader trials and their learning about their transformation. It’s different from the other shapeshifter stories and the idea of having passed a trial to enter society and survive adulthood.
If there is a second book, then I would like to know more about Thalia’s parents and who they actually were. Their story could open more subplots for Thalia and friends to interact with.
If you are a fan of Caroline Stevermer and her work, then I recommend The Glass Magician. In this world of change, innovation, and magic, a stage magician learns that she is more than what she once believed after surviving a failed act with a sword.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*