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'The Magician's Lie': A blend of 'The Night Circus' and 'Water for Elephants'?

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(Read caption) 'The Magician's Lie' is by Greer Macallister.

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And for its next trick, the novel “The Magician’s Lie” by Greer Macallister just might become a hit.

“The Magician's Lie” tells the story of The Amazing Arden, a female illusionist who runs into trouble when her husband turns up dead and it looks like he was the victim of one of her tricks. She tries to convince policeman Virgil Holt that she had nothing to do with her husband’s death.

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Annie Philbrick of Mystic, Conn.’s Bank Square Books called this novel a “buzz book” this past May at Book Expo America, according to industry newsletter Shelf Awareness. “[It’s] a little taste of ‘The Night Circus,’ and a little salt of ‘Water for Elephants,’” she said.

Now the book is attracting other critical praise. IndieBound selected “Magician” for its Indie Next list for January (2015), with Meagan Albin of Guilford, Conn.’s Breakwater Books writing that the novel “blends magic, mystery, and romance.”

Meanwhile, Shelf Awareness reviewer Kerry McHugh wrote that perspective switches can be “jarring” but that “Macallister captures the whimsy and wonder of the traveling magic shows of the 20th century with stunning detail.” 

Publishers Weekly was also won over by the book, with publication staff giving it a starred review and calling it “well-paced, evocative, and adventurous…. Arden [has a] rollicking life…. [The end] satisfyingly cap[s] off this top-notch novel.”

And Library Journal writer Elisabeth Clark of Pensacola’s West Florida Public Library wrote that Arden’s story is “moving and spectacular … a captivating world of enchantment and mystery that readers will be loath to leave.”

However, Kirkus Reviews showed less enthusiasm for the book, calling Arden’s story “long [and] dull" with an "unsurprising resolution". The review also says that "Macallister makes a concerted effort to ensure historical accuracy, but her prose is labored and lacks intensity. Nevertheless, devotees of illusion may enjoy the story based on the author's detailed focus on early costumes, movement and techniques.”


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