The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

IMG_0020“Tonight, I will do the impossible.  The impossible is nothing new to me.  As I do every night, I will make people believe things that aren’t true.  I will show them worlds that never existed, events that never happened.  I will weave a web of beautiful illusion to ensnare them, a glittering trap that drags them willingly with me into the magical, false, spellbinding world.”

When I came across The Magician’s Lie at a bookstore, I was very much intrigued by the premise.  The most famous female illusionist of her time, the Amazing Arden (Ada) is known for her trick of sawing a man in half.  One night after the show, the body of Arden’s husband is discovered onstage and the famous illusionist becomes a wanted woman.  Arden is apprehended by an officer and taken into custody where over the course of one night, she tells her story.  One that may prove her guilt or innocence.

“But this is life, and when bad things come to us, there isn’t much choice. You survive them or you don’t.” 

The Magician’s Lie is a wonderfully written book, and I very much enjoyed the storytelling throughout.  Arden is an intriguing character and her life is an interesting one.  The book alternates between Arden’s conversation with the officer who apprehended her and the story she is telling him in order to clear her name.  The format works well, although I found the beginning of the book to have a really slow start and it took me until about a quarter of the way through to truly get into it.  Particularly interesting is when she tells the story of how she got into magic and her experiences in that world.  This is not a fast-paced type thriller, but more of a stroll through Arden’s life that leads us to discover and understand the events of the night of the murder that takes place at the start of the novel.  I would recommend The Magician’s Lie to those who enjoy more of a slower-paced read, descriptive storytelling, and a bit of mystery.

2 thoughts on “The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

  1. I love historical novels. The key to pulling off a great historical story is research, research and more research. For that element, The Magician’s Lie does not disappoint. It is obvious that MacAllister put in the research time to make this story ring true of the early 1900’s.

    The plot and the story were interesting. The main issue I have with the presentation is long sections of narrative, which as you said, seems to slow it down somewhat. I would have liked to see all that narrative broken up with scenes of action or even dialog.

    The hints of real magic, with Ada having the capacity to heal, felt somewhat out of place to me. There was no explanation of why she had this gift, and the story never really explored her ability. Ada’s healing had nothing to do with advancing the story, which was good enough without trying to inject real magic into it.

    Ray’s character was a little thin. What in Ray’s history caused him to be so mean? Why did he think that he had the ability to heal? Why was he so obsessed with Ada?

    I felt that MacAllister did a good job in keeping the reader interested and keeping the reader reading. However, the ending fell a little short. It seemed flat, as if MacAllister was rushing to end the story. What was the final fate of Ada? How did her legal problems play out? What happened with Virgil and his problem? Was he able to continue his career, or was he forced out of his sheriff position? What happened to Clyde? For me it was too many questions for a satisfying ending.

    Overall, it’s not a bad book. It has high ratings on Goodreads so many people have enjoyed the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughts!

      Very good points. I completely agree with your summary, particularly about Ada’s ability to heal, which does end up feeling out of sync with the story. The ending did fall flat for me as well and felt way too rushed. It’s a nice read, however if the points you discussed had been addressed, it definitely would have had the potential to be a great read.


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