Smoke & Mirrors by Eli Celata

Smoke & Mirrors by Eli Celata
Publisher: Hidden Helm Press
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (246 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Death has come to Rochester. Saving the the lost children of Hamelin unleashes the most ruthless enemy Jon has ever faced. Blood saturates his nights, and demons stalk his every step. He might’ve gotten the children out of Shiloh’s void, but he put them in the cross-hairs of an old grudge.

When a trio of Daughters brings their kill list into the Grith, magic users turn against one another. Allies become enemies. Safety counterbalances freedom, and everyone wants a piece of Jon.

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Whether magic is used for good or evil depends on who is performing the spell.

Just like in earlier installments, I was blown away by the world building. Mr. Celata did an excellent job of creating a setting for his characters that feels every bit as real as our world. I could have sworn that I was seeing, hearing, and feeling the same things Jon was as he attempted to protect the children and keep his community from breaking out into war. There was so much attention to detail in these matters that I didn’t want to stop reading until I knew how it would all end for him.

At times I found it hard to keep track of the large cast of characters. It would have been quite helpful to either have a brief recap of who everyone was in the first chapter or to have a list of characters I could reference as I was reading. I’m saying this as someone who has really been enjoying this series so far. If not for my confusion about how everyone knew each other and who they were, I would have happily chosen a much higher rating for this tale. Everything else about it was fantastic.

One of the things I love about this universe is how complicated the rules of magic are in it. I still haven’t figured out all of them, but honestly I don’t think the audience is supposed to quite yet since many of the characters have had similar reactions to the complexity of them all. The author is playing the long game here, and I’m quite curious to see how it will all pan out in the end.

This is the third book in a series. I’d recommend finishing the first two installments, High Summons and Grimm Remains, before diving into this one.

Smoke & Mirrors should be read by anyone who loves wizards or the dark side of the urban fantasy genre.

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