The Greatest Magician

The Magicians The Prequel

Children - Preteen
198 Pages
Reviewed on 12/27/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Timothy R Baldwin for Readers' Favorite

In The Greatest Magician (The Magicians The Prequel), Elena Paige has crafted a magical and mysterious world into which Jack Roberts, a preteen and the story's protagonist, is thrust. Jack is forced by his family to attend a magicians' convention, one which his father doesn't even enjoy visiting. To top it all off, Jack isn't even magical. Instead, his mother and sister intend to give the impression of him being capable of more than just a few clever card tricks. Reluctantly, he agrees to go. Upon his arrival, a young girl, a thief, captures his attention so much so that he decides to leave his father alone, thus setting Jack on a day-long adventure. Through his persistence and the help of allies he didn't even know he had, he learns a great deal about his abilities while uncovering a deeply-held family secret.

While fans of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Charlie Bones Series, or the Ahstown Burials would most certainly enjoy this book, The Greatest Magician stands on its own in originality. Writing for an audience of middle-grade readers, Elena Paige establishes rules for the world of magic that are relatively simple with definite limitations. In a genuinely imaginative and, dare I say, magical way, the reader learns how these rules function through Jack's observations and various encounters with multiple characters, both good and bad, throughout the story. In a mostly plot-driven story, Jack eventually faces the ultimate showdown and must learn to rely on his wits and bumblings with magic to overcome the bad guys.

K.C. Finn

The Greatest Magician is a work of fantasy and supernatural fun, penned by author Elena Paige. Written as the prequel to The Magicians Series, this middle-grade tale is aimed at the preteen end of the readership and recalls the exploits of protagonist Jack Roberts before The Magicians’ Convention begins. Ordinary Jack as no magic at all, even though his family all have incredible powers, and he has a very deep sense of being left out when the convention comes around. So when Jack is given the opportunity to get some magic of his own, it becomes a question of how far he will go in order to get it.

Author Elena Paige brings the incredible world of magic to life in this very modern and enjoyable fantasy tale. The novella works really well as a stand-alone story and an introduction to the magical concepts of Paige’s worldbuilding, and it also gives a great profile of our young hero Jack and his magical family. Before we meet Jack in his adult life, lots of ideas and family history can be explored in this fascinating tale, and there are plenty of relevant decisions to be made about courage, choice and taking risks, which are very apt to the target age range for the piece. Exciting, atmospherically written and filled with great messages amid its twisting, turning plot, The Greatest Magician is a highly recommended introduction to an enthralling magical series and the works of a great author who knows her audience really well.

Lesley Jones

In The Greatest Magician by Elena Paige, the annual magicians' convention is the last place Jack Roberts wants to be. He has always felt like an outsider in his family. His mother, The Great Linda, his father and even his sister Penelope have been blessed with magical powers while he is 'normal'. Jack grudgingly attends and, while there, he stumbles across a plot that could put his family in danger, and everything he believed to be true in turmoil. Jack discovers that magic can be used as a force for evil if placed in the wrong hands and he becomes entangled in a web of deceit and shocking revelations. Jack unearths a devastating truth that could finally give him the magical powers he desires, but is he willing to pay the price for them?

The Greatest Magician by Elena Paige is a rollercoaster of adventure filled with exciting plot twists and turns and revelations I did not expect. The characters are superbly created and although I did not see any relevance to the existence of some of the characters when they first appear, all becomes clear as the story progresses. The relationships between the characters develop gradually and realistically. I especially thought the relationship between Penelope and Jack was heartwarming, whereas the one between Agatha and her father was quite disturbing. Brady is a vile and gruesome character whose actions were perfect for a villain. This is definitely a story about complex family dynamics and the revelation of secrets. There are also amazing areas of conflict that uncovered so many engaging layers to the plot. I feel this is a definite stand-alone read and adults, as well as young teenagers, will enjoy this book. It teaches values and principles in a subtle but powerful way.