The Glass Magician
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.

The Glass Magician Details

TitleThe Glass Magician
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherTor Books
ISBN-139781466820838
Rating
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction

The Glass Magician Review

  • Lori Lamothe
    January 1, 1970
    Thalia Cutler is an up-and-coming stage magician known as The Lady of the Lake. Despite being an ordinary Solitaire (think Muggle), she's good at what she does and her stage manager David Nutall is always ready to protect her in a risky, fiercely competitive profession. When a dangerous trick goes wrong one night, however, Nutall can't save her—so she saves herself. Which is great, except for the fact that her escape forces her to question everything Nutall has told her about who she really is. Thalia Cutler is an up-and-coming stage magician known as The Lady of the Lake. Despite being an ordinary Solitaire (think Muggle), she's good at what she does and her stage manager David Nutall is always ready to protect her in a risky, fiercely competitive profession. When a dangerous trick goes wrong one night, however, Nutall can't save her—so she saves herself. Which is great, except for the fact that her escape forces her to question everything Nutall has told her about who she really is. Not long afterward, Thalia's number one rival doesn't fare as well when his act hits a snag. Even worse, Nutall soon becomes the prime suspect in his death. And Nutall's a Sylvestri, not a Solitaire, as he's told Thalia for as long as she can remember. Her entire life suddenly seems as false as the “magic” she fools audiences with every night. Lately I've been reading mostly mysteries and crime fiction, so a YA fantasy novel set in the Gilded Age seemed like it would be a nice change of pace. Oddly enough, the novel ended up being more of a mystery than a fantasy, which was fine with me. Stevermer's descriptions of the alternate New York City are vivid and well written, especially the scenes that focus on Thalia's magic act. The animal illustrations throughout the book are gorgeous and the characters intrigued me, for the most part. Last but not least, I liked the idea of the three different classes of beings: the underprivileged, hard-working Solitaires, the wealthy, shape-shifting Traders and the peaceful Sylvestri, who are closely attuned to nature. We don't get much background on the classes, but I expect Stevermer may flesh them out in future books if she continues with the series. What didn't work for me: first, the formatting. This won't affect future readers, but it was God Awful, to the point where I almost didn't finish the book. Though I liked the plot and thought Stevermer did a nice job of weaving separate storylines together, the ending felt a bit rushed, a bit anti-climactic – particularly the section about Thalia's “Ordeal.” That said, it was still a light-hearted, fun, quirky read. Much thanks to Tor/Forge and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Grace
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars. This story was set in late 1800s to early 1900s, when women’s rights to vocational pursuits was very limited. A girl named Thallia Inherited her father’s magic show business. She was doing great until her supernatural powers manifested during one of her dangerous acts, she would have died had she not found her powers. The problem however is, until she has control over her powers she can be spotted and hunted by Manticores. On top of that her business rival, more powerful than she, 2.5 stars. This story was set in late 1800s to early 1900s, when women’s rights to vocational pursuits was very limited. A girl named Thallia Inherited her father’s magic show business. She was doing great until her supernatural powers manifested during one of her dangerous acts, she would have died had she not found her powers. The problem however is, until she has control over her powers she can be spotted and hunted by Manticores. On top of that her business rival, more powerful than she, stole some of her act, accused her of the theft. Authorities forced her to halt her work while they battle the issue with the law. As if that was not enough, her business rival died and Thallia’s business partner was one of the prime suspect. The rest of the story was focused on proving her partner’s innocence, finding whodunnit and getting her power under control, so she’s not manticore’s lunch. She accomplished her goals, the end.The storyline was lukewarm, I don’t hate it but I also don’t love it. So it is a firm 2.5 stars for me.Thanks to Netgalley and the author for the ARC.
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  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    This is an experienced author, and it shows in the smooth and assured writing. Unlike most period pieces, it isn't full of obvious anachronisms (with an exception I'll mention later) or regrettable vocabulary glitches. However, the plot, the characters, and especially the setting all fell a bit short of excellence for me. There's nothing really wrong with the plot. It's more or less mystery with a chance of romance, though there's a dash of coming-of-age in there as well. The protagonist must This is an experienced author, and it shows in the smooth and assured writing. Unlike most period pieces, it isn't full of obvious anachronisms (with an exception I'll mention later) or regrettable vocabulary glitches. However, the plot, the characters, and especially the setting all fell a bit short of excellence for me. There's nothing really wrong with the plot. It's more or less mystery with a chance of romance, though there's a dash of coming-of-age in there as well. The protagonist must deal with the discovery that she isn't who she thought she was, that her family situation is not as she's been told, and that her mentor isn't who she thought he was either. Meanwhile, she's prevented from working as a stage magician, which brings a brief threat of economic difficulties, quickly averted. She ends up the house guest of a man who both attracts and annoys her, caught up in the murder of a rival magician, and under threat from what amounts to a force of nature because of her newly discovered identity. It's probably a bit too much for a book this length, and some of the elements don't really get the development they need. The denouement to the mystery is a painfully awkward attempt at a villain reveal which, rather against the odds given how badly it's done, succeeds in flushing out the murderer. The pursued-by-manticores plot at least has a level of tension that's largely missing elsewhere. There are a few conflicts ("I must clear my mentor's name, but doing so risks my life") set up by the interweaving plots. It's not outstanding, but it will do. The characters are all right. There's nothing really wrong with them either. They're not complete cardboard cutouts or straight out of central casting, not quite. But they don't have an uncommon amount of individuality or depth either. You can describe each of them in a phrase (the rich young man, the rich young man's dilettante sister, the mentor, the monster hunter, the Romany magic shop proprietor, the landlady) and there's not a lot to add to that brief capsule description. The protagonist and viewpoint character has the most to her, of course, and she does develop and change in the course of the story. There were a couple of things about the setting that tripped me up and challenged my suspension of disbelief. We're in an alternate 1905, similar to our own 1905 in many ways (including some prominent people), but different in many other ways. Firstly, as well as baseline humans ("Solitaires") there are shifters ("Traders") and people who have some kind of nature affinity that's never really made completely clear ("Sylvestri"). The three can interbreed. In order to shift forms, you have to be a Trader on both sides of your family, but if Traders intermarry too much they produce manticores, monsters that can shift into apparent human form in order to stalk young Traders who are not yet in full control of their shifts and eat their magic, killing them in the process. This seems genetically improbable, but then, shapeshifting is extremely biophysically improbable, so let's be generous and put it down as part of the fantasy. For some reason that is never made clear, pretty much everyone who is prominent and successful is a Trader, and vice versa. The lack of an explanation for this was one of the things that tripped me up. I couldn't figure out a history in which the ability to turn into an animal (and the loss of human thought and memory beginning around the age of 70) translated automatically into becoming rich and powerful. Several of the actual historical figures mentioned are Traders, and the impression one gets is that nobody can just rise to prominence on their talents (as some of those people did in our reality); they have to be a Trader. Why? Most Native Americans are Sylvestri (because affinity with nature, presumably), and they have a treaty with the other Sylvestri that has kept the centre of the North American continent theirs, while the coasts are apparently colonised - both seem to be part of the United States, though that isn't said explicitly - and a railway runs between the two. Again, this seems unlikely; it doesn't play a big role in the plot, except that the Sylvestri ambassador is a minor character. (He is stationed in New York. Is New York the capital, then? Ambassadors are posted to capitals, consuls are posted to non-capitals.) And yet the Gilded Age is in full swing on the Eastern seaboard, unsupported by the resources of the central US. (The wealthy in the real Gilded Age often had extensive holdings in those central states.) It's hard to resist the idea that Native American sovereignty over a large portion of their land is simply something the author put in because she thought it should be that way, especially given other indications. There are black people in this alternate world, but they have a much higher status than was the case in our 1905 (40 years after the Civil War, let's not forget); a black woman is a prominent lawyer, and two other black women form two-thirds of the influential Board of Trade, who rule on certain important Trader matters. (The status of women seems a little higher, too.) Race is something that's constantly highlighted; the viewpoint character is a white woman, yet every person she meets, most of whom are white, is described by their race as well as whether they're Solitaire, Trader, or Sylvestri (which she generally seems to be able to tell as easily as their ethnicity). I'm not a conservative person and am mostly sympathetic to liberal viewpoints, but this does read to me like conspicuous 21st-century white liberalism projected intrusively onto an earlier age. Overall, then, I found this book fell short of being fully satisfying. The plot, while servicable, lacked the momentum it could have had, and the mystery resolution was painfully bad; the characters stuck mostly to type; and there were, for me, big holes in the worldbuilding that distracted me from the story. I received a copy via Netgalley for purposes of review.
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  • Debbie Gascoyne
    January 1, 1970
    This was disappointing, as I've enjoyed Stevermer's work in the past, but this latest offering is kind of ... meh. I liked the setting in turn-of-the-century NY (19th, not 20th). However, the magic world-building left a lot to be desired; humankind appears to be divided into 3 (1/2) races: Traders, Solitaires, and Silvestri. Traders are rich and can change shape - cause and effect here is not fully explained. Silvestri _appear_ to be vaguely first-nations, but, again, it's very unclear. And This was disappointing, as I've enjoyed Stevermer's work in the past, but this latest offering is kind of ... meh. I liked the setting in turn-of-the-century NY (19th, not 20th). However, the magic world-building left a lot to be desired; humankind appears to be divided into 3 (1/2) races: Traders, Solitaires, and Silvestri. Traders are rich and can change shape - cause and effect here is not fully explained. Silvestri _appear_ to be vaguely first-nations, but, again, it's very unclear. And everyone else is a Solitaire, and what that means is never defined at all except that it seems to be somewhat under-privileged. The 1/2 a race are Manticores, who prey on young Traders. Thalia, the protagonist, thinks she's a Solitaire but turns out to be a Trader and everything she thinks she's known about herself is not true. Things are not resolved at the end, really. There's a certain amount of pleasure to be obtained getting there, but it is certainly not a "must read" and I think could do with a fair bit of revision and reworking.I received an ARC of this courtesy of NetGalley
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  • Lucy Gardiner (luc_lostinbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Thalia is a stage magician known as the Lady of the Lake. When a stage performance goes wrong she discovers she’s actually a shapeshifter. Solitaires and Traders are different names for magical and non magical people, I think this could have been explained in more detail at the start of the book as I don’t think it was talked about in depth till later on. Thalia’s character development was interesting throughout the book I really had a lot of respect for her as a person. I also liked that the Thalia is a stage magician known as the Lady of the Lake. When a stage performance goes wrong she discovers she’s actually a shapeshifter. Solitaires and Traders are different names for magical and non magical people, I think this could have been explained in more detail at the start of the book as I don’t think it was talked about in depth till later on. Thalia’s character development was interesting throughout the book I really had a lot of respect for her as a person. I also liked that the book wasn’t focused on romance. Overall I feel this was a nice fantasy read, the magic system could have been better explained. Thank you to netgalley & the publishers for this e-book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Andria Sedig
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed the writing style of the book. It was descriptive without being flowery or overdone. The city felt alive, the conflict felt well orchestrated and drove the plot. Thalia's character development was fun. I also loved the female friendship between Thalia and Nell within this story and appreciated that there wasn't a heavy romance in this story. The book was strong enough as a stand alone if a reader didn't want to continue, but definitely left the reader curious to know what would I really enjoyed the writing style of the book. It was descriptive without being flowery or overdone. The city felt alive, the conflict felt well orchestrated and drove the plot. Thalia's character development was fun. I also loved the female friendship between Thalia and Nell within this story and appreciated that there wasn't a heavy romance in this story. The book was strong enough as a stand alone if a reader didn't want to continue, but definitely left the reader curious to know what would happen after the big reveal in the final pages. One thing I wish that had been better explained was the magic system in the world. There are three groups of people (races?) but they aren't well explained until well into the book and I felt a bit confused about these titles and what they meant as I began reading.
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  • *Thea 'Wookiee'sMama' Wilson*
    January 1, 1970
    This is an interesting book with intriguing ideas behind it but it really does lack that certain oomph it needed to really make it special and sparkle like I hoped it would. I believe it had the real potential with a backstory that could have been the basis for a great tale if it had been explained more fully but I needed more information on certain areas. It should have been fantastic but for me it was just a little lacklustre
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  • MAB LongBeach
    January 1, 1970
    A highly original magic system, an unusual setting (1905 New York), a plucky heroine, and smooth writing somehow add up to less than they should. Enjoyable, certainly, but not as gripping as expected. And the title led me to expect a very different story; it is explained in passing late in the book, but has little or nothing to do with the plot or characters.
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  • ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)
  • Marleen
    January 1, 1970
    More of a 2,5 stars.This is a pretty difficult book for me to review. So, bear with me while I try to sort my thoughts. This book is about shape shifting, an interesting sort of magic system and also a murder mystery? Yeah, I know, that sounds like a lot. And that is also how I feel about this story. The way this is written is really great. I really like the writing style. But I simply think this is just too short a book to accomplish ALL OF THE THINGS really well. It takes place in an alternate More of a 2,5 stars.This is a pretty difficult book for me to review. So, bear with me while I try to sort my thoughts. This book is about shape shifting, an interesting sort of magic system and also a murder mystery? Yeah, I know, that sounds like a lot. And that is also how I feel about this story. The way this is written is really great. I really like the writing style. But I simply think this is just too short a book to accomplish ALL OF THE THINGS really well. It takes place in an alternate reality of 1905 in New York, where there isn't as much racism as there was at that time in the US, and where there are two types of people. Solitairs, which are basically normal people, Traders, which are people that are able to shape shift into their spirit animal, and Sylvestri, who are very in tune with nature? or something? Yeah, I don't know. Also, there are things called Manticores, which are beast-human's that feed off of young Traders' magic and are born from two Traders when there is too much interbreeding. Or something like that. I don't know how that works scientifically, but okay.Yeah, there were some holes in this magic system. I couldn't fully connect and get a grasp of what was happening and how things worked in this world, because there simply wasn't enough time in this book to have this be handled properly. I actually felt the same way about the characters, which weren't exactly surface-level or flat characters, but weren't amazingly fleshed out either, and the plot, which was all about our MC who was actually a Trader but didn't know it and her overcoming some sort of trial in order to be a grown-up Trader and save from Manticores, but also wanting to pursue her career as a magician, but also having to find out who murdered her rival in order to save her friend.I told you this was a lot. This book is about 288 pages long. So, yeah, I'm not quite surprised I wasn't completely on board with everything that happened here. And I even forgot to mention the start of a budding romance here! This is a bit of a meh-book for me, but I also don't want to discredit the writing, because that was actually great. So, that's why I settled for a 2,5 star-rating, rounded up to 3.Thanks to NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for sending me an e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review!The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer was enthralling and absolutely magical.In Thalia's world there are Solitaires, those without magic, Traders, who have the ability to "trade" into animals and the Sylvestri whose magic is attuned with nature. Thalia grew up believing she was a Solitaire, happy to continue on her family's business as a stage magician until she traded during a Thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for sending me an e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review!The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer was enthralling and absolutely magical.In Thalia's world there are Solitaires, those without magic, Traders, who have the ability to "trade" into animals and the Sylvestri whose magic is attuned with nature. Thalia grew up believing she was a Solitaire, happy to continue on her family's business as a stage magician until she traded during a dangerous performance.From that day on Thalia is questioning everything she knew about her parents and about her father's friend who looks over her like an uncle. If she is indeed a Trader and not a Solitaire she isn't safe until she's gone through the Trader rite of passage called "the ordeal" where she proves that she can trade safely and willingly. One problem. There is an awful Trader beast called the Manticore that is looking to steal the magic of young inexperienced traders who haven't passed their ordeal.The synopsis promises magic and shape-shifting which the book has in spades, we get to see Thalia trying to find herself within her ability to trade while grappling with the fact that she doesn't know much about her family or her friends at all. Then when you peel away the main plot there is also a murder mystery which is carefully woven through the story without missing a beat. It felt like a whimsical Agatha Christie novel all the while that Thalia is trying to keep herself safe from the Manticore.The story was well paced and never dragged. You're guided through this world fairly quickly and it does take a little time to pick up what the Solitaires, Traders and Sylvestri do, but once you get the idea you're set.I'm not entirely sure what age group this book is for exactly, it was shown as a plain Sci-Fi & Fantasy, but I did get a bit of a YA feeling at some points of the story. Other than a few mentions of gore (a few manticores were harmed in the making of this book) but other than that it felt rather safe for a YA-ish age range.It was a fun read and I really enjoyed it.
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  • Ikmal Fitri (iikmalreads)
    January 1, 1970
    This story was set around 1900s which i think it's quite interesting for a fantasy story to have this settingIt started with Thalia Cutler found out her ability to shapeshift when a magic trick went wrong. In this world, a shapeshifter is called Trader and they have higher social class but they have one weakness — Manticore. A monster.First of all, i love the idea of the magic system. However, this is also the thing that bothered me during my reading. The magic system in this system was very This story was set around 1900s which i think it's quite interesting for a fantasy story to have this settingIt started with Thalia Cutler found out her ability to shapeshift when a magic trick went wrong. In this world, a shapeshifter is called Trader and they have higher social class but they have one weakness — Manticore. A monster.First of all, i love the idea of the magic system. However, this is also the thing that bothered me during my reading. The magic system in this system was very weak. There wasn't any detailed explanation about the magic system. There's no explanation on Trader, Solitaire, Sylvestri. For me, a good fantasy book needs a good world building.Then we move to the plot. Okay... I dont know what is going on in the story. The conflicts kinda weak and not interesting at all. There's no story backboneThe only thing that I love about this book is its writing. The descriptions were good (except the magic system) so it wasn't hard for me to imagine the story.This book has a good premise to be a good book as its writing was quite good, and the idea was interesting, however i think the author could deliver a better story if she focuses more on the world-building. Overall this was an OK book but i don't think i enjoyed itP/s Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this ebook
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  • Lissette
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @50%. I tried really hard with this one. I stopped at 20, took a break then tried to come back at 40, but I just couldn't get much further. The premise while not original still seemed interesting but the book was just so slow/unimaginative. The characters weren't dynamic and the plot padded on slowly without anything interesting happening and then world was never built out properly. And the writing was kind of off, the language they were going for never really came off as right.
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  • Travis Starnes
    January 1, 1970
    Normally I am not a fan of paranormal fiction, but this book hit two buttons for me. I am a fan of turn of the century (I guess I have to specify the turn of the 20th century now) fiction, and I love stage magic. The Glass Magician is not a bad book; it came close to being excellent. Sadly, there are a few places the story let me down.The characters are probably the best part of the book, or at least one character is. Thalia Cutler, the eponymous magician, is a fairly likable main character. She Normally I am not a fan of paranormal fiction, but this book hit two buttons for me. I am a fan of turn of the century (I guess I have to specify the turn of the 20th century now) fiction, and I love stage magic. The Glass Magician is not a bad book; it came close to being excellent. Sadly, there are a few places the story let me down.The characters are probably the best part of the book, or at least one character is. Thalia Cutler, the eponymous magician, is a fairly likable main character. She is strong-willed and competent while still exhibiting flaws and worries enough to be interesting. Stevermer hit a good balance with Cutler, making me care about what happened to her through the story, which is one of the most important parts of an engaging novel. Thalia also has a decent character arc through the novel, developing enough to make the journey feel like it had a real impact on her.The rest of the characters were not as well fleshed out, which is something of a disappointment. Except for a few of the major supporting cast, most of the people Thalia meets throughout the story are just cardboard cutouts, easily identified by their position in the story and left at that, with no fleshing out or unique personalities.The plot itself is fine, if not amazing. The mystery is fine if the conclusion a bit of a letdown. The romance is fine, if not completely compelling. I did not dislike the way the story unfolded; it just did not end up going anywhere interesting enough to make it a highlight of the bookThe real issue this book suffers from is in its world-building. While I have some small issue with the way different groups are sorted, my main issue with the world-building isn’t in its structure, but how it’s communicated to the reader. I’m a fan of small details being mentioned and never explained to make the world feel full, but for key points the author needs to spend time to tell the reader what these ideas are. More importantly, this needs to be done early enough that I don’t get lost and lose the narrative. Stevermer does get around to explaining Solitaires, Traders, Silvestri, and Manticors, but it takes way to long. I probably read the word Trader a hundred times, including several in-depth conversations, before the author decided to tell me what everything meant. The effect of this meant I spent the first quarter of the book trying to figure out what was going on, which continually pulled me out of the narrative, ruining my enjoyment of it. To compound the problem, what explanations we do eventually get do not go nearly far enough in explaining the key concepts I need to know to understand how the world works.Had Stevermer done a better job explaining the world building, this had a chance of being a good book, even with the plot being somewhat average. The world-building is poorly communicated enough to drop it from three stars to two.I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review at https://homeofreading.com/the-glass-m...
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those books where the basic premise is interesting but the way in which it's developed fails to bear it out - in short, it's just a clunky, talk-heavy bit of a mess. The Glass Magician is set in turn of the century New York for the most part, but a New York where there are 3 distinct groups of people - Solitaires, Traders and Sylvestri. Traders are the most financially powerful of the three, as well as being able to change (or Trade) between human and animal forms at will. They This is one of those books where the basic premise is interesting but the way in which it's developed fails to bear it out - in short, it's just a clunky, talk-heavy bit of a mess. The Glass Magician is set in turn of the century New York for the most part, but a New York where there are 3 distinct groups of people - Solitaires, Traders and Sylvestri. Traders are the most financially powerful of the three, as well as being able to change (or Trade) between human and animal forms at will. They look down on the Solitaires for not having that ability, even though they seem to make up the majority of the population. Meanwhile the Sylvestri are the (less-defined) outsiders, a mixture of Native Americans and everyone else not accepted by polite society but with control over the West of the country.Our protagonist, Thalia, is a stage magician whose parents both died, leaving her in the care of their friend who works as Thalia's manager. They make a reasonable living, travelling from city to city, and the part of the story which actually revolved around them doing this was the most interesting part of the book. During an act on stage, Thalia almost dies and is convinced that she partly Traded in order to save her own life, though her friend is sceptical. Unfortunately, it also causes a massive 'as you know Bob' style conversation between them that acts as an info-dump to set up the world building that had me almost giving up entirely.Shortly after their arrival in New York, circumstances force Thalia to stop performing on stage and financial needs mean she agrees to take on the tutoring of a young Trader woman in the art of stage magic. This puts her into close proximity with said woman's brother, who's doubtless being lined up as a love interest in future books, but the time she spends in their house (as a visitor and then later, when her True History is revealed, as a guest) is pretty dull in the most part. There's a sub-plot around the murder of their main rival which is much more interesting but gets sucked into the overall one-note of the book. There's a lot of talking and a lot of explaining, some of which necessary world-building could surely have been done in some other way? It's ironic that a book ostensibly about a stage magician could have spent so much time with that character not being that. Those were the best bits, shame about the rest of the book. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Tanja
    January 1, 1970
    'The Glass Magician' is both smoke and mirrors and gilt and glamour magicked into one dazzling story set in 1905 New York City. It follows a young stage magician Thalia Cutler who after a stage trick goes wrong, discovers she has the ability to shapeshift, causing her to question everything she thinks she knows about her family. This book is set in an alternative NYC where there are 3 distinct groups/races of people, Traders who can shapeshift into animals and have a lot wealth, Solitaires who 'The Glass Magician' is both smoke and mirrors and gilt and glamour magicked into one dazzling story set in 1905 New York City. It follows a young stage magician Thalia Cutler who after a stage trick goes wrong, discovers she has the ability to shapeshift, causing her to question everything she thinks she knows about her family. This book is set in an alternative NYC where there are 3 distinct groups/races of people, Traders who can shapeshift into animals and have a lot wealth, Solitaires who are ordinary people, and Sylvestri who are stewards of nature. Along the way she meets some other Traders who are willing to mentor her. The only problem is, there is a beast known as a Manticore who is hunting down young inexperienced Traders…Thalia being one of them. If that wasn’t enough, a murder mystery begins to unfold with Thalia and her mentor needing to put on the performance of their lives to prove their innocence.Like a well staged magic trick, this story has many different elements going on, all the while maintaining a captivating interest in what will happen next. There’s Thalia’s journey of self-discovery, the deadly lurking of the Manticore, an innocent romance trying to blossom, and a suspicious murder-mystery. There’s no vanishing act in this book…all of these different elements come together to create a whimsical story that is well paced and evocative. I liked how the deeper you got into the story, the more secrets were revealed. It seems the characters themselves were part of a grand illusion that they weren’t even aware of.I believe there will be a sequel which I’m hoping will delve deeper into the bloodlines and the alternative magical world Stevermer has created. *I know the synopsis mentioned that fans of ‘The Golemn and the Jinni’ would enjoy this book, but I think fans of the circus genre or the film ‘The Prestige’ would enjoy this book more
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  • Rosie Rizk
    January 1, 1970
    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, her 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 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, her 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 3 types of people, divided by magical ability (or lack of), 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 their 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's 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 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 with 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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  • Lynn Morrison
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured an advance copy of The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer. The story was captivating with its original take on the magic of shape-shifting and its setting in 1900's New York City. The book is centered around a bright young woman, Thalia Cutter, a popular stage magician on the tour circuit. When a trick fails, she has an almost out of body experience as she watches her hand shift into white feathers to save her from certain injury. Overwhelmed and concerned, Thalia begins I devoured an advance copy of The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer. The story was captivating with its original take on the magic of shape-shifting and its setting in 1900's New York City. The book is centered around a bright young woman, Thalia Cutter, a popular stage magician on the tour circuit. When a trick fails, she has an almost out of body experience as she watches her hand shift into white feathers to save her from certain injury. Overwhelmed and concerned, Thalia begins investigating her past with the help of her mentor. However, with little information available on her parents, she is left unable to explain why she should suddenly show signs of being a "Trader" at such a late age.Their tour circuit takes them to New York where they encounter both friends and foes from her past. The story picks up pace as she loses her job, witnesses a murder, shape-shifts again and ends up living in the home of a wealthy Trader family as she tries to find her balance once again.I read late into the night, desperate to follow her adventures and see what new information Stevermer would reveal along the way. The characters are richly developed and immensely relatable, despite the fantastical elements. The setting was at once familiar and unknown, with the New York landscape revisioned to fit her new world order. My only complaint with this story is that it ended too soon. I am desperate for a sequel and hope that Stevermer has one in her plans. If you are a fan of Cogman's Invisible Library series, you will fall in love with this.
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  • Sacha
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley and Tor Books for this book in return for an honest review. I really, really liked this book. The main character, Thalia, is so realistic in actions. I don't know very much about the time period this is sent in - the early 1900s - but it felt like her personality and strength could really transcend times to today. I love a good female character that is strong but doesn't fall into tropes of being overtly tomboy. Thalia was both strong and feminine and I find that isn't super Thank you NetGalley and Tor Books for this book in return for an honest review. I really, really liked this book. The main character, Thalia, is so realistic in actions. I don't know very much about the time period this is sent in - the early 1900s - but it felt like her personality and strength could really transcend times to today. I love a good female character that is strong but doesn't fall into tropes of being overtly tomboy. Thalia was both strong and feminine and I find that isn't super common. The writing was quite captivating, with a unique world that held interesting magic. However, I found that it wasn't fully explained. There seemed to be three distinct "races" of humans; Solitaire, Trader, and Sylvestri. Only two were ever really fleshed out. Perhaps it was because of the main characters POV that we don't explore Sylvestri, but it would have been nice to get a fuller backstory about this world. As for the other two, it was still confusing as to what made a Trader. The actual magic wasn't really well explained and left me wanting a bit more in that aspect. The actual plot of the story revolved around a mystery and the discover of magic. While the beginning dragged, it did speed up towards the end to lead to quite an exciting climax. I don't know if this is part of a series, but it would be really nice to actually explore the world and the relationship between the three "races" a bit more.
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  • Sarah Davalt
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) through NetGalley. It will be published April 7, 2020.I did not finish this book, I only made it to 36%. I found the world really interesting, it was set in the early 1900’s and focuses on stage magicians in the Vaudeville circuit. But the world had 3 classes of people, the Solitaire which seem to have no magic. The Traders who can change form into animals, and the Sylvetri who have some sort of affinity with nature. There was the start of I received this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) through NetGalley. It will be published April 7, 2020.I did not finish this book, I only made it to 36%. I found the world really interesting, it was set in the early 1900’s and focuses on stage magicians in the Vaudeville circuit. But the world had 3 classes of people, the Solitaire which seem to have no magic. The Traders who can change form into animals, and the Sylvetri who have some sort of affinity with nature. There was the start of some great world building and some interesting dynamics. There are some stolen ticks that seemed to be leading to a bigger conspiracy, and I know there is a murder in the future, but I didn’t get far enough in the book to find out what happened.The reason I didn’t finish the book is the author describes people by color, they are white Solitaire or black Solitaire, a white Trader or a black Trader. At first, I hoped that it was describing if they were good or bad, but as the book went on I was disappointed to find it really was describing their skin color and I found it offensive and therefore did not finish the book. I feel like there was no need for the descriptions based on skin color and it just made the book very un-enjoyable for me.#TheGlassMagician #NetGalleyFor additional reviews please see my blog at ‪www.adventuresofabibliophile.blogspot...‬‬‬‬‬
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    While this book wasn't for me, I do think The Glass Magician by Caroline Steverner entailed what most young readers want in a fantasy novel. An original magic system. A gripping plot that doesn't falter or tease but follows through with it's suspenseful prose. A travelling Magic Show, and characters with a unique history. The writing itself was simplistic and smooth, it felt natural as I read through the chapters. My biggest issues with the novel were little things: First, the title had While this book wasn't for me, I do think The Glass Magician by Caroline Steverner entailed what most young readers want in a fantasy novel. An original magic system. A gripping plot that doesn't falter or tease but follows through with it's suspenseful prose. A travelling Magic Show, and characters with a unique history. The writing itself was simplistic and smooth, it felt natural as I read through the chapters. My biggest issues with the novel were little things: First, the title had seemingly nothing to do with the novel itself or its themes (however, there's the possibility that it's just me.). I also think some of the plot pieces and character arcs could have been better developed but the novel didn't offer the capacity for that to happen (this doesn't speak to the author's ability to weave an amazing sentence however).I think I spent more time wanting more though, and I'm sad about it. This book had everything it needed to be successful, I just needed stronger characters, a better description of the alternate year of 1905 (I didn't feel like I was there), and more description where it matters (such as the manticores.). I was offered a copy by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own. All in All, 2.5
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  • Alexandra Santos
    January 1, 1970
    This was a strange book. The magical system is unique, but I couldn’t help but feel that it would have been more compelling in a better paced plot. The book started alarmingly slow, and then sped up to the point where there were no emotional punches in the important plot points because of how quickly they were conveyed and then discarded. Many of the most interesting world building ideas were brought up and then ignored. I liked the relationship between Thalia and her mentor/assistant Nutall, This was a strange book. The magical system is unique, but I couldn’t help but feel that it would have been more compelling in a better paced plot. The book started alarmingly slow, and then sped up to the point where there were no emotional punches in the important plot points because of how quickly they were conveyed and then discarded. Many of the most interesting world building ideas were brought up and then ignored. I liked the relationship between Thalia and her mentor/assistant Nutall, but every other relationship in the book felt one-dimensional. Also, there was zero chemistry between the protagonist and who I assume are the possible love interests, and it all just felt off and flat (note: there’s no romance in this one, but it seems like the author is setting up for a series and introduced characters that are meant to be “handsome” to the protagonist, so it will likely feature in the next book). I wish I could say that the world building set The Glass Magician up to be a better read, but it fell short. Here’s hoping that the next book in the series dramatically tightens up the plot and presents a more emotionally-engaging story, because some ideas in here could really shine if given enough polish.2.5 stars.
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  • Monet
    January 1, 1970
    I originally selected this book due to its lavishly beautiful cover and its fun premise. The summary makes it sound like a cross between "The Wild Swans" by Hans Christian Anderson, "Bluecrest" by Madame d'Aulnoy, "The White Deer" also by Madame d'Aulnoy and the works of Erin Morgenstern. It's basically advertisted as a fairytale retelling. However, "The Glass Magician" adopts its own mythology and story. That's one of the strongest reasons to enjoy this book. I give major props to Stevermer for I originally selected this book due to its lavishly beautiful cover and its fun premise. The summary makes it sound like a cross between "The Wild Swans" by Hans Christian Anderson, "Bluecrest" by Madame d'Aulnoy, "The White Deer" also by Madame d'Aulnoy and the works of Erin Morgenstern. It's basically advertisted as a fairytale retelling. However, "The Glass Magician" adopts its own mythology and story. That's one of the strongest reasons to enjoy this book. I give major props to Stevermer for creating such a rich magical world.Something I don't like is when fantasy books expose the reader to the world and don't explain all the rules at first. This is what reading "The Glass Magician" felt like. Too quickly I was thrown into the magical world with no time to adapt. Between all the characters with complicated names and quick pacing, it was difficult for me to keep up. I couldn't relate to any of the characters, and even the beauitful theater setting felt rushed. I want to dive back into this gorgeous magical world, but hopefully with more detail and a simpler plot. The concept is really creative and shows great promise, but the execution leaves much to be desired.
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  • Ying
    January 1, 1970
    An ok book, I think it was a good length. The blurb was very interesting but I think the story didn't quite deliver.The idea of being set in the 1900s was interesting. The fact that the main character was a stage magician was cool. I didn't like how class-ist the book is. Well I guess it made me think about how arbitrary classism is.. and it might be a good analogy for classism.. part me just hates reading books where classism is a thing. I think it could have been fleshed out better. Like An ok book, I think it was a good length. The blurb was very interesting but I think the story didn't quite deliver.The idea of being set in the 1900s was interesting. The fact that the main character was a stage magician was cool. I didn't like how class-ist the book is. Well I guess it made me think about how arbitrary classism is.. and it might be a good analogy for classism.. part me just hates reading books where classism is a thing. I think it could have been fleshed out better. Like shapeshifting Traders, why are they even a thing? Why are Sylvestri even a thing? Are Solitaires just the normal muggles with no powers? The "mystery" aspect of it was fine. The whole setting of it being within a story about stage magicians did make that a bit more interesting. I liked how the characters interacted, it made sense to me. Thalia liked and hated the same people I did, for the same reasons. (view spoiler)[Wasn't a fan of the whole "She really is special all along!" reveal. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC!Oh, this is marvelous. Thalia, following in the footsteps of her father, is a stage magician. She’s an independent working girl, a Solitaire, and wholly different from those stuck-up and wealthy Traders who shift forms. When one of her stage tricks goes wrong and something unexpected saves Thalia’s life, she’s thrust into an alien Trader world of wealth and danger.This is a delightful urban fantasy set in a world vaguely reminiscent of the early Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC!Oh, this is marvelous. Thalia, following in the footsteps of her father, is a stage magician. She’s an independent working girl, a Solitaire, and wholly different from those stuck-up and wealthy Traders who shift forms. When one of her stage tricks goes wrong and something unexpected saves Thalia’s life, she’s thrust into an alien Trader world of wealth and danger.This is a delightful urban fantasy set in a world vaguely reminiscent of the early 20th century. It’s peppered with stage magicians and show biz slang, which really drew me in. The exposition is cleverly integrated and slowly revealed, which makes learning about the world a treat. Thalia is strong, clever, and streetwise but not incapable of mistakes, which makes her both likable and relatable. Without spoilers, it wraps up nicely in a Sherlock Holmes-style reveal but leaves the door open for potential sequels. Highly recommended.
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  • Lauren Easey
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this book.A light and easy-to-read book - I would describe it as a post-Victorian murder-mystery novel with elements of fantasy, rather than a fantasy novel. The title also feels incorrect, as the idea of the 'Glass Magician' is only briefly touched upon so it doesn't make the most sense as a title. It feels as though that should be the title of the second book. It was a nice book though, and I enjoyed the mechanics of the world as well as the era it was Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this book.A light and easy-to-read book - I would describe it as a post-Victorian murder-mystery novel with elements of fantasy, rather than a fantasy novel. The title also feels incorrect, as the idea of the 'Glass Magician' is only briefly touched upon so it doesn't make the most sense as a title. It feels as though that should be the title of the second book. It was a nice book though, and I enjoyed the mechanics of the world as well as the era it was set in. It has enough real world elements that it feels believable yet enough fantasy to make it exciting. I liked Thalia as a character, and I like the discoveries she made along the way. I'm not sure I would read a second one as it did feel slightly exhaustive after a while, it lulled in the third quarter and I was hoping for a respite soon. That being said it did have a good ending.3/5 stars.
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  • Caroline Hedges
    January 1, 1970
    This took me a while to warm up to, but once I had gotten a handle on the 'fantasy' aspects I started to really enjoy the story. I think a bit more context about who the different types of people are: Solitaires, Traders and Sylvestri are all part of a society that seems the same as our own world but have magic qualities and the ability to transform into animals, the author threw us in without giving us the background and it made it hard to follow.My favorite parts involved the manticores and This took me a while to warm up to, but once I had gotten a handle on the 'fantasy' aspects I started to really enjoy the story. I think a bit more context about who the different types of people are: Solitaires, Traders and Sylvestri are all part of a society that seems the same as our own world but have magic qualities and the ability to transform into animals, the author threw us in without giving us the background and it made it hard to follow.My favorite parts involved the manticores and The Skinner of New York. I would have loved to learn more about him and hope that if a sequel is written it keeps in him and gives him a back story. The scenes where Thalia was being 'hunted' were full of suspense and drama. The ending was very quick and I thought the unveiling of the killer wasn't greatly thought through. It was like a really bad magic trick, but maybe that was the point,I liked this book and its characters enough to certainly read the next in the series. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest review,
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  • Lady Reads
    January 1, 1970
    What to say about The Glass Magician? Is it suspenseful? No. Is it gripping? No. Is its world building something fantastic and sweeping? Nope, not that either. Is it about a woman who turns into a swan when she's afraid for her life? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. The novel feels a bit steampunk, which should be cool. However, it lacks the points of fascination that a regular steampunk piece has. There's magic within the pages, both illusion based stage magic and real skin to feathers What to say about The Glass Magician? Is it suspenseful? No. Is it gripping? No. Is its world building something fantastic and sweeping? Nope, not that either. Is it about a woman who turns into a swan when she's afraid for her life? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. The novel feels a bit steampunk, which should be cool. However, it lacks the points of fascination that a regular steampunk piece has. There's magic within the pages, both illusion based stage magic and real skin to feathers transformation, and yet it still falls flat. There's no rush to any of the book. No heated romance. No mystery begging to be solved right this second. It's fine. It's not bad. It's the wheat bread of the literary world.
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  • Kaycee Sterling
    January 1, 1970
    This book has a dash of The Night Circus mixed with a bit of My Lady Jane! The main character, Thalia, is impressive! She speaks her mind, doesn’t take crap, and she cares deeply for those who are there for her. She is a stage magician that discovers she truly does have magical powers she never knew, which puts her and the people she cares about in danger. It was a fast paced book, not bogged down by unimportant details. I thought the magic system was explained early so I never felt confused. This book has a dash of The Night Circus mixed with a bit of My Lady Jane! The main character, Thalia, is impressive! She speaks her mind, doesn’t take crap, and she cares deeply for those who are there for her. She is a stage magician that discovers she truly does have magical powers she never knew, which puts her and the people she cares about in danger. It was a fast paced book, not bogged down by unimportant details. I thought the magic system was explained early so I never felt confused. And even though I enjoy a good love interest it was refreshing to read a book without a romance! I would be happy with a sequel to show where some of the loose ends of the story lead. Thank you to the publisher for allowing me an advanced copy of this book through Netgalley for an honest review.
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  • Vinny —☽.。* Artsy Draft
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Tor Books for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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