“With a flourish, I spun half the man away, leaving the other half in place. Some nights, I left the head and shoulders behind, some nights, the legs and feet. The audience seemed to embrace both possibilities. No matter which half went where, they cried out in unison, disbelieving. They sucked in all their breath and let it all out like a single breathing person all together. The shock and the terror and the shared impossibility made a single fantastical creature of them, I made a creature of them.”
Author: Greer Macallister Published: 2015 Pages: 313
This book was sent to be by Legend Press and, when I first heard the synopsis, I was a little sceptical. It centres on Ada, a magician whose show-stopping act is to saw a man in half on stage and then heal him. But when a man is found murdered after one of her shows, all fingers point to the woman who, only hours earlier, was wielding the weapon. Flipping between Ada handcuffed to a chair telling her story to policeman Virgil Holt, and the narrative of her past leading up to the murder, her story doesn’t make her out to be completely innocent. But as we hear her tale, of torment and pain, and a little magic, I found myself wondering if she really was capable of such an after all.
Having now finished the novel, it’s safe to say Greer Macallister blew me away. Her writing was impeccable throughout and while there were hints at magic and the occult, it was as realistic as if it had actually happened. I never got tired of Ada’s story and Macallister managed to find the balance between magic and reality perfectly.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Ada and Clyde; their dialogue was filled with endearing quips to each other and I found their connection very realistic. Individually they were also very well created by the author and I found myself rooting for them both throughout.
Macallister really nailed the villain too. Ray was disturbingly present when Ada was most vulnerable. He was controlling and manipulative and I spent the whole book hoping upon hope that she would escape him. I think the reason she should be commended so much for her villainous creation is that Ray was so frightening because of his flaws as a human, rather than any supernatural force. He was insatiable in his desire for Ada, and this combined with his megalomanictic nature, made him truly disturbing.
The ending was quite spectacular as well. I have to admit I wasn’t sure how it would end, but I was very happy with how it was finished. It’s safe to say that all lose ends were tied up and although I would love to read more about these characters, Macallister ended The Magician’s Lie in a way that left me completely satisfied.
I can’t wait to read more from this incredible author and now that I’ve read something I didn’t initially think I would enjoy, it might have made me realise that a little magic is the key to writing a unforgettable story.
Thank you to Legend Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.