Title: The Serpent’s Curse
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Series: The Last Magician #3
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult +
Length: 768 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Source: Personal collection
Content Warnings: death, alcoholism, child abuse, racism, violence, xenophobia, drug use, racial slurs, suicidal thoughts
Evade the serpent.
Heed the curse.
Rewrite the present.
Esta isn’t a stranger to high-stakes heists. She’s a seasoned thief who has no reservations about using her affinity for time to give her an edge, and she’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries, and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control.
But the Book held a danger that no one anticipated—Seshat, an angry goddess was trapped within its pages. Now that terrible power lives within Harte, and if given the chance, Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her revenge.
Only Esta and Harte stand in her way.
Yet in their search to recover the elemental stones needed to bind Seshat’s power, Esta and Harte have found themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. As Esta fights to get back to Harte, the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way.
Saving Harte—and magic itself—will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined…
A big improvement over book 2 in the series, but still not quite at the level of book 1. The plots of the books are feeling a bit repetitive (hunting down and stealing the same artifacts over and over), and I continue to question the purpose of continuing the 1902 timeline besides filling in backstory, but I have faith it will all be revealed satisfactorily in book 4.
The pacing was much better in this book. The pacing in book 2 really dragged with the introduction of so many new POV characters; this book is still pretty slow for the first 50%, but the POVs were more focused to the core characters, and I made my way through this story quicker than I expected.
I love Harte so much. He is such a great character. But he made some really dumb decisions in this book, and he kept making the same mistakes over and over. He redeemed himself by the end, but there were so many times I wanted to grab him by the shoulders, give him a good shake, and tell him to use better words.
The romantic subplots in this series are the definition of slow burn. Book 3 in the series and still so much waiting for Esta and Harte to actually get together. Not to mention all the side characters’ potential relationships. So many feelings, so much waiting for action. We don’t need the miscommunication trope.
This time travel series finally ventured into some new time periods in the second half of the book. The was so much new information about the magic system, and seeing how much history changed put into perspective how much work Esta and Harte have to do in the next book. The ending was great, and I have so many theories for the final book in the series. This series is a bit of a bumpy ride, but I do recommend it so far!