The Glass Magician

The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thalia is a young woman working as a stage magician towards the end of the 19th century. She performs her magic tricks, keeps her audience engaged, and looks forward to her next gig. With her parents dead, the stage and her manager, Mr. Nutall, (also her late father’s best friend), become her family and joy in life. Until a rival stage magician steals their act and their job. Suddenly, secrets emerge about Thalia’s parents’ background, and even Mr. Nutall isn’t the man he pretended to be. Relying on the beneficence of her new wealthy friends, Thalia must figure out who she is and what she can do, if she wishes to be safe again.

Basically, there are three categories of people, divided by their magical abilities (or lack thereof), that make up the different classes of society. I didn’t understand why having the ability to trade shapes between human and an animal usually meant such a family was rich. As far as I could tell, there was no correlation between the animal shapes people took on and their ability to earn a living. But that was hardly the most important issue, so I’ll let that go.

The mysteries and the stage magic made for a good read. It was a nice light fantasy/mystery book set in an alternate late 19th century America. The characters were interesting. Some of them had some good secrets, but other than that, the side characters felt kind of flat. There was one guy who just kept being too generous against his will, and he was too nice and kind and giving – he basically had no backbone or anything about him that I could respect.

Overall, the story was interesting – particularly the secrets that Thalia uncovers at the end about her family. But while it was an ok read set in a good alternate world, I wasn’t particularly intrigued by the plot or the characters.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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