My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a brilliantly woven time-traveling, magical heist book and I didn’t even know how much I wanted it in my life. The book is written from multiple perspectives, which took a couple of chapters to get used to (as I was listening to the audiobook and there weren’t multiple narrators) but soon I recognized each character’s unique voice and fell into the story. In general, the plot was not fast paced but Maxwell vibrantly painted the world our main character finds herself in.
Esta is an orphan and a thief who is tasked with going back in time to alter the events of a heist that occurred in 1904 New York City. New York City is a world of mages, people will unique affinities, like Esta’s ability to manipulate the fabric of time. Esta herself is a likable main character and the lens through which we learn about the other characters. As she is also from our time period, she must occasionally readjust her worldview, actions or outward opinions to match those of the time. Despite the fact that she is a thief, we get to see her smart and sarcastic side as well as her stubborn determination.
Despite the large cast of characters, I felt that they were generally well-developed and had the time to grow. I really enjoyed getting to know Dolph as the multi-faceted head of a gang and Harte the magician that Esta has been warned against. The crew reminded me of the Dregs from Six of Crows at times, although they didn’t have quite the same chemistry. It was still enjoyable to watch them, although I hope that the others in the gang are developed further because I would like to see more of their personalities or backstories.
There wasn’t as much focus on the magic dynamics as I expected there to be, but I was so enamored by the characters and world-building that it wasn’t noticeable. Maxwell did a fabulous job reconstructing New York City at the start of the twentieth century and I fell in love. Overall, I felt the book satisfyingly wrapped up most of the threads from the book and introduced a few more that can be explored in book two. I really enjoyed the read and cannot wait to see how it ends in the second book.