The Illusionist’s Apprentice – Book Review

The Illusionist’s Apprentice

By: Kristy Cambron

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Third Person • Fiction • Several Points of View • 368 Pages



About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

Why I Choose this Book:

Well, it wasn’t from the back cover blurb. 😉 In fact, I just read it for the first time while copying and pasting it for this post. I chose the book solely because of the author – I’ve read her previous books; some of them have been amazing, others have left me scratching my head. I figured this book was worth a shot.

What I Thought about this Book:

It wasn’t what I was expecting. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed the book, but there were some things I wasn’t thrilled with.

The Pros:

  1. The writing was wonderful
  2. The story was intriguing
  3. The characters felt real, they had good character development, and for the most part they remained consistent and “in character.” *This is a big deal to me
  4. No love triangle! No huge misunderstandings to prod the romantic subplot along! No overly romantic scenes! *cue happiness*
  5. Good world building – it really came alive to me
  6. I was sucked into the story and held fast
  7. The historical side of the book was interesting and made me want to research that era more

The Cons:

  1. The subject of debunking mysticism wasn’t what I was expecting (because, obviously, I didn’t read the back cover). It wasn’t that I was uncomfortable with the subject or how it was handled, it was more that I was disappointed that Biblical truth wasn’t brought into it more. I understand that the book probably isn’t considered a “Christian book” and the author obviously has every right to write it whatever way she wants, but it did cut down on the enjoyment of the book for me. (And, also on how fast I’d be to recommend it to others.)
  2. There were a few things near the end of the book that I thought were a slight bit lame – like, they didn’t add anything to the book, and in a way they made it feel slightly cliché.
  3. There were some slight things that I didn’t think needed to be in the book that added to the culture feeling, but not in a way that I can condone.
  4. There was some violence – not very detailed, but still there. Plus some immorality – although that was only vaguely mentioned. (So, it was obvious, but not done in detail at all, nor glorified in any way.)


Because of how some things were and weren’t dealt with, I’m not exactly recommending the book, but it’s not one that I un-recommend, either. So, I didn’t agree with everything, but I did like the book and learn from it.


I’m giving The Illusionist’s Apprentice 4 out of 5 stars, and 7 out of 10.

*I received this book from BookLook

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