What is this about: Jason Bishop discovers he has magic in the worst circumstances ever. And then just when he didn’t think things could get worse, they kind of sort of do. But there’s also magic….
What else is this about?: Family, the ones you make and the ones you are born into and how they mess with your head entirely.
Blurb: Bartender Jason Bishop’s world is shattered when his estranged father Daniel seemingly commits suicide, but the greater shock comes when he learns his father was a secret agent in the employ of the Invisible Hand; an ancient society of spies wielding magic in a centuries-spanning war. Now the Golden Dawn; the shadowy cabal of witches and warlocks responsible for Daniel Bishop’s murder, and the death of Jason’s mother years before, have Jason in their sights. His survival will depend on mastering his own dormant magic abilities; provided he makes it through the training.
From New York, to Paris, to worlds between worlds, Jason’s journey through the realm of magic will be fraught with peril. But with enemies and allies on both sides of this war, whom can he trust? The Invisible Hand, who’ve been more of a family than his own family ever was? The Golden Dawn, who may know the secrets behind his mysterious lineage? For Jason Bishop, only one thing is for certain; the magic he has slowly been mastering is telling him not to trust anybody.
When I first found out about this book, I saw a review or an early tagline equate it to James Bond, except with magic. From that point on, I was determined to listen to this book in audio form, but much to my horror Audible Australia and the publisher did not come through for me. However, the author, Brad Abraham did, and he was kind enough to send me an audiobook of Magicians Impossible.
Whew. What a ride this was.
Magic, stellar worldbuidling and some seriously good characterisation, enough that I am busting for book two like you would not believe. Abraham has created a rich world, and in particular, an avenue with which to explore themes of family that I am looking forward to immensely.
Now what is this book actually about?
Jason Bishop is coasting through life when he is confronted by the death of his father and is forced to reconsider his choices. This is what death does, it makes you think about things differently, but in Jason’s case it’s how his induction to the world of magic begins. Carter, an old friend of his father’s, comes to tell him the truth about his heritage and his father, Damon. Not Daniel.
Because, yes Damon is a secret agent mage fighting the good fight, and hiding Jason away in a sleepy town with adoptive parents, who loved him, and who he loved in return. However, that relationship didn’t soften the harshness of having Damon flit into and out of his life, and years later, Jason now knows why when he’s inducted into the same organisation where he learns about magic, and in particular his magic.
And then poop really does hit the fan.
Because Abraham gleefully plays with your assumptions and conventions in this book, and I promise where you started this book will be different to where you are when it ends. Abraham skilfully maintains some brilliant worldbuilding, while essentially forcing readers to rethink their assumptions about Jason and this world he now inhabits.
Characterisation is wonderfully drawn here, because this book is filled with action, magic fights and escapes and throughout it all you need to be engaged with a wealth of characters — and Abraham hands down had me on the edge of my seat. Jason becomes part of a chase for a sphere that could change everything for two warring factions within this magic world. But here’s the thing: who is to be believed in this war?
There’s travel to Paris and Mumbai through magic, and a captivating scene in the Louvre that had me transfixed. It’s something else to hear these descriptions fill your head, and it occurred me that the author is a visual writer, drawing his scenes with words and sentences that matter – everything is there for a reason, and I think in an action-packed book like this it maintains the tension so well.
This is Jason’s book – and I say this because it’s for us to get to know him, before we get to know everyone else properly through him. His evolution from someone who doesn’t know what to do with his life, to someone who accepts what his life has become and the death that might come with it, tells me how much he wants to belong somewhere in a time in his life where he realises he has very little – his adoptive father has dementia, and his best friend’s widow, who he cared for deeply is moving away – there are no closer ties in his world than that. So fighting for something, alongside others is important to him and he takes to it with courage and determination.
By the end, he is ready for the next phase of this journey, but with a different awareness about himself and this new (old) world of his that makes me excited for book 2.
I didn’t expect this book to twist me around, and mess with my expectations so, but I think that’s the best thing about this — if a book can make you excited about a genre, it’s a keeper!