Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 Stars)
Cole always looked up to his father: a neurologist who also dabbled with magic. But, after his father passes away in an accident, Cole is left with only his mother, as well as his two best friends Sanchez and Ethan. Magic proves to be the one connection he has with his father, and when he finds a mysterious clue hidden in his father’s old belongings about a book, it sends him on an adventure of a lifetime. Suddenly, Cole and his friends are being hunted by Evil Elvis Impersonators, a nefarious Vegas Magician, and a college professor! Can Cole find the book before it is too late? And even if he does, what then? Magic can’t be really real, right?
A puzzle, layered with magic and detective work, Night Magick puts a twist on movies and books like National Treasure or The Da Vinci Code. Placed on the Vegas Strip, with three adolescents as the stars, it takes a classic story and adds a twist that both children and adults will enjoy.
Overall, the plot is simple and to the point, with the group dynamic being the standard: the leader, the jokester, and the smart-one (Cole, Ethan, and Sanchez). I already anticipated most of the “surprises” but seeing as I was not the target audience, that is to be the case. It’s predictable and expected, but children will love it!
My rating ultimately came down to the predictability, slight ridiculousness of some of the parts (although that is to be expected with Middle Grade books so it really didn’t matter much) and open ended questions. Why didn’t Cole’s father just destroy the book in the first place? Why create clues so his son could find it, with the risk it would end up in the wrong hands? These aren’t questions that are answered, but perhaps if another story of Cole and his friends come out, then it might be! The ending left that open as a possibility.
Night Magick, overall, is a fun story that explores magic, puzzles, and the Vegas Strip. It’s definitely one that children will enjoy, and with Josh Gad as the narrator…you’re bound to have a good time!
What’s it about?
Cole Balek is a liar.
Okay, not really. He just makes you think he’s sawing someone in half or that he’s trapped in a trunk. All Cole wants is to continue the love of magic that he and his late father shared by becoming the best tween magician in the Las Vegas area.
But when Cole and his mother get a mysterious note from a rare book collector, he’s forced to search among his father’s belongings for A Lesson in Magick, an old book of spells connected to an ancient group of magickers. What he finds instead are a series of coded clues his dad left for him – clues that send Cole and his best friends Ethan and Sanchez on a wild scavenger hunt throughout Las Vegas, in search of A Lesson in Magick. Cole must use every hack and magic trick he’s got, because he knows that if the book falls into the wrong hands, disaster will strike.
As danger mounts, who can this clever, funny, and determined group of friends really trust in a world filled with professional magicians, strange professors, and scary Elvis impersonators?