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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 Mage 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...


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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 Mage 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...

30 review for The Serpent's Curse

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

    I love big books, especially if they involve a certain angsty couple and an amazing magic system. I’m SO READY (actually....I need to reread both TLM and TDT before I can get to this one but that’s just details 🥲) ****** Excuse me while I start reading The Devil’s Thief and doom my existence because there’s no publication date for this book yet. I love big books, especially if they involve a certain angsty couple and an amazing magic system. I’m SO READY (actually....I need to reread both TLM and TDT before I can get to this one but that’s just details 🥲) ****** Excuse me while I start reading The Devil’s Thief and doom my existence because there’s no publication date for this book yet.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    So.... we’re not gonna mention that 900+ page count No? Ok. I'm scared y'all. I'm excited and I'm scared So.... we’re not gonna mention that 900+ page count No? Ok. I'm scared y'all. I'm excited and I'm scared

  3. 5 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    July 2019: THE COVER IS GORGEOUS!! GIVE IT TO ME! ////// I want it now. 😭👀

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    Am I screaming because there is suddenly a cover for this novel? Why, yes. Yes, I am.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    According to Goodreads this is now a 2021 release, Ms. Maxwell is making me nervous... * The Last Magician: ★★★★★ The Devil's Theif: ★★★ Will Lisa Maxwell redeem herself after making the perfect duology into a trilogy and adding a completely unnecessary book in the middle? Let's hope so because The Last Magician is one of my favorites and I really want to love this one too. According to Goodreads this is now a 2021 release, Ms. Maxwell is making me nervous... * The Last Magician: ★★★★★ The Devil's Theif: ★★★ Will Lisa Maxwell redeem herself after making the perfect duology into a trilogy and adding a completely unnecessary book in the middle? Let's hope so because The Last Magician is one of my favorites and I really want to love this one too.

  7. 5 out of 5

    asbah

    apparently the cover and title have been leaked and iM IN LOVE 😍😍😍 it really is the year of snakes huh

  8. 4 out of 5

    Becky Boudreau

    Hands down prettiest covers in a series. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. Books 1 and 2 have created such an intense and fun story, so excited for the conclusion!

  9. 5 out of 5

    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎

    The wait for this has me dying The Last Magician (The Last Magician #1) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nastassja

    Warning, this review contains spoilers about The Serpent's Curse and the two previous parts of the series. I have to say I am perplexed and disappointed, all at once. I suppose partly I can blame my frustration on the fact that this book was released with a big gap between this one and the previous one. It was too long and I've forgotten a lot from The Devil's Thief. It doesn't help that in book 2 we had new characters implemented into the story. And I couldn't remember half of them. After I man Warning, this review contains spoilers about The Serpent's Curse and the two previous parts of the series. I have to say I am perplexed and disappointed, all at once. I suppose partly I can blame my frustration on the fact that this book was released with a big gap between this one and the previous one. It was too long and I've forgotten a lot from The Devil's Thief. It doesn't help that in book 2 we had new characters implemented into the story. And I couldn't remember half of them. After I manage to partially restore my memory I was bored to death with multiple POVs. I really didn't care about Antistazi and stuff due to my faulty memory and the abundance of events taking place in this book. But I was more than happy to concentrate on Esta and Harte, until I wasn't. Esta turned into a special snowflake/damsel in distress. Harte turned into a helpless ninny and a caveman. Gosh, it's a 180 degrees turn from the characters I ADORED in books 1 and 2. Now Harte can't stop thinking about Esta; he would do anything to save her. Esta can't stop thinking about Harte, and though he acts like a jerk, she would do anything to help him. His woman, Harte refers in relation to Esta. Well, it doesn't get worse than that. Oh wait, it actually does! They have sex and then Harte announces that he'll do an honorable thing if there are consequences. For god's sake, the girl arrived from the 21st century, why on earth haven't you grabbed a couple of condoms with you before going on a stroll in 1902?! The dynamic between Harte and Esta used to be hot as hell because of their rivalry and readiness to backstab each other. I get that love and all that jass happened but these two are acting absolutely out of character! Jack wasn't a bad antagonist in the previous books, but here his POV was unnecessary. Boring, boring, and boring! I suppose Nibsy is still alright but Viola stole the stage light of the best among all characters. I really enjoyed her POVs in this book. Color me surprised when I found out The Serpent's Curse is not the last book in the series. Agh, 700+ pages, and we still not near the ending. This book was exhausting, really. I don't know if I can take it one more time, which I probably will, because, hello, cliffhanger, and unresolved issues. But my only wish is for Harte and Esta to come back to their normal selves. To stop drooling and start acting like themselves. That's all I wish for, really. Bottom line, The Last Magician started as a series I highly enjoyed and was ready to put on my favorites pedestal and quickly - or slowly - derailed into your average young adult fantasy with star-crossed lovers. If things continue that way, I hope MCs end up like Romeo and Juliet. At least then, I will have something to mourn.

  11. 5 out of 5

    nally nalka

    What a mental marathon!! this was so incredibly - perhaps unnecessarily- looong but I enjoyed the escapism nonetheless and it had many great moments but not enough Jianyu POVs in this one at all T__T hoping the finale rectifys that! Full review to come.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kiki Forest

    AHAHSJFJSDI this cover will drive me insane and April is too far away for me to wait

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kayleigh

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Spoilers are hidden below. Diving back into this series after a three year gap between the second and third book was difficult. This book jumps right back into the action immediately where book 2 left off which is great for readers who are binge reading the series but confusing for readers like me who waited the three years for publication. I wish the book had started with a recap of what had h Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Spoilers are hidden below. Diving back into this series after a three year gap between the second and third book was difficult. This book jumps right back into the action immediately where book 2 left off which is great for readers who are binge reading the series but confusing for readers like me who waited the three years for publication. I wish the book had started with a recap of what had happened in books 1 and 2. However, after taking time to check out some summaries online and a quick reread of the last 100 pages of The Devil's Thief, I felt confident enough to jump back into this book. Unfortunately, this third book is a weak addition to a series that started out so strongly with The Last Magician. This book suffers from a bloated plot and poor character use. Firstly, the book is far too long and filled with so many dialogue scenes that add nothing to the story and are just there to fill in the page count. I lost count of how many chapters were filled with arguing between characters over what decision to make. I also got tired of characters being in mortal danger every 10 chapters or so and having to be rescued from death. This book could and should have been more heavily edited to get rid of the unnecessary scenes across the multiple timelines including, but not limited to, the scenes with Viola and Ruby in 1902, (view spoiler)[Harte and his step-brother in 1952, and the scene with Al Capone in 1920. This book also features pointless character additions that add nothing to the story; the Antistasi sharpshooter in 1904 and all of the characters featured in 1952. (hide spoiler)] The side characters that were integral to the story in the first two books felt pointless in this book. Cela, Abel and Jianyu added nothing to the story. Ruby was so unnecessary that the author herself wrote the character out of the story. (view spoiler)[ Viola was completely unsympathetic the moment she decided to postpone helping the dying Jianyu for 12 hours. (hide spoiler)] The villains felt extremely cartoonish in this book and some of the decisions around them were just perplexing and odd. (view spoiler)[ I also felt that Jack Grew and the machine he was building wasn't fleshed out enough and it just left me feeling confused on how it even worked. I feel like the Jack Grew plot line with the Magisterium could have been so much more interesting if the author could have just focused on the 1902 storyline instead of having Esta and Harte travel through three different timelines throughout the book. (hide spoiler)] Finally, I do not understand why this series needs a fourth book. Even though this book was already too long, I feel like if the author had just added the extra 200 pages and made the book the 900 page finale it was originally planned to be, this series could have successfully ended as a trilogy. Ultimately I was disappointed with this book especially because of how much I adored The Last Magician and how excited I was to see where this series would go. However, since I read this ARC at the same time as my best friend, Megan I am curious to see if our predictions for the fourth book come true. I think we have a good idea of what is going to happen.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Myra

    This is a fun action packed book that's perfect if you're looking to escape on an afternoon. Don't get scared by the hefty page count - it flys by... Lisa Maxwell is the master of cliffhangers and complicated feelings that are in shades of grey. I can't wait for the next book. I really hope it doesn't take forever again. There were a few things that hampered my reading experience though. I read the last book right when it came out and it's been a few years since then. I didn't re-read the second This is a fun action packed book that's perfect if you're looking to escape on an afternoon. Don't get scared by the hefty page count - it flys by... Lisa Maxwell is the master of cliffhangers and complicated feelings that are in shades of grey. I can't wait for the next book. I really hope it doesn't take forever again. There were a few things that hampered my reading experience though. I read the last book right when it came out and it's been a few years since then. I didn't re-read the second book before I started reading this again. So when this book starts off right where the last book left us - I was a bit lost. There are a long list of characters, especially one character that has multiple names and I had forgotten those details. It would have been great if there was a preface that summarized the last book a bit or at minimum a list of characters to help us follow. I also do think there are too many points of view. I like multiple POV books- but this was a bit too many. Overall it was a fun reading experience. I think it's best if you read all 3 in a row. That way you can get the best out of this adventure!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing - Margaret K. McElderry Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Having read the first two books in the series and completely loving them, I expected nothing less from The Serpent's Curse and was not disappointed. One of the reasons I loved this series was that there was action and drama on every page and this book was no different. A thrillride that This book was received as an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing - Margaret K. McElderry Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Having read the first two books in the series and completely loving them, I expected nothing less from The Serpent's Curse and was not disappointed. One of the reasons I loved this series was that there was action and drama on every page and this book was no different. A thrillride that will impact your views on YA adventure series. Accomplishing the goal of stealing the book of mysteries and later find out that there has been a goddess trapped all this time that is extremely evil and after civilization, the story takes a whole new turn. I really am waiting in immense anticipation for the fourth and final novel in this series and I know it will be the best for last. We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Disclaimer: this is a 4.5 star read. But it's a really, really solid 4.5 stars and this godforsaken hellsite is making me round up. Anyways, feel free to bury me with this series. It's only been a year since I got into this series, but The Last Magician is without a doubt the most underrated series I've ever read. It's the perfect blend of fantasy and historical fiction, magic and wonder, and hits literally every single mark of what I look for in a series. After discovering that this third book w Disclaimer: this is a 4.5 star read. But it's a really, really solid 4.5 stars and this godforsaken hellsite is making me round up. Anyways, feel free to bury me with this series. It's only been a year since I got into this series, but The Last Magician is without a doubt the most underrated series I've ever read. It's the perfect blend of fantasy and historical fiction, magic and wonder, and hits literally every single mark of what I look for in a series. After discovering that this third book would not be the conclusion as I anticipated it being, and that it would now be stretched into a four book series, I wasn't happy. I didn't want to wait yet again for more of this story and just wanted to get to the ending. But I get it now. Though Maxwell covered so much in this third book, there are still so many things left to resolve, so much more to do, and I see why she needs more time. This isn't a story that can be rushed or fixed with simple solutions; it needs to be thought out, it needs to be delicately crafted, and I'm confident that Maxwell is capable of doing just that. She has to be one of the most talented writers I've discovered in a while and I think if this was in other hands, this story would be an absolute disaster. But that speaks to Maxwell's talent, which I've talked about before, so it makes me incredibly happy to still be thinking so on the third book. This book picked up right where the last one left off, with Esta reeling from the fact that Harte left her alone and took the artifacts with him in 1904, and with Viola coming to terms with Jianyu fighting for his life in 1902. What I find interesting about this series and where we are in this book is how though we're dealing with two very different timelines, it always feels like the same story. Because of Esta's affinity, she is able to pull the strings of time and travel and go to any time in history she needs to, but whether the story takes place in 1902 or 1904 or 1952, the main characters are always battling against Jack Grew, the main antagonist, and trying to save magic. I think it's really interesting to see how, in 1902, Jack is still grappling for power and control within the Order and that storyline of procuring the ring artifact involves so many different players, but then in the future years Esta is able to travel to, that image of Jack that they're fighting has essentially done what he'd dreamt of in 1902. And while it looks and sounds dire, because Esta can time travel there's never any lost hope just because Jack accomplished all those things and gained power through outlawing and attacking Maegus over the years. Though I'm firmly against time travel because no one ever seems to follow the rules, I really enjoy seeing it in this series because Esta never tries to work against her affinity or whatever ripples in the timeline she creates, but works with them. I like that she has a very strong understanding of time travel and history, which is a great reflection of Maxwell, and uses whatever year she ends up in to her advantage rather than just jumping back into time travel. A great example is how she and Harte travel to 1920 to procure an artifact and try to stop an attack on Maegus at the RNC to prevent a terrible future of Jack Grew as president. I like that Esta doesn't just disregard the consequences of her time travel and regardless of what year she's in, she's always fighting to stop the Order and save magic. It makes it exciting and unpredictable, regardless of what plot timeline you're following, because anything really can happen. Another thing I loved about this book was how it's very plot heavy and is full of action and different storylines that come together for that common goal, but it also doesn't really ignore its characters. I love the storyline of Harte coming to terms with his relationship with his father, Esta's relationship with Harte and her role in the war for magic, Cela and Abel's relationship with their community and magic, and Viola's relationship with unlearning the toxic hatred her family has instilled in her. Because there's so much story going on it's easy for characters to get lost, but I feel like Maxwell did a good job involving the characters and providing them with necessary development. And though I hate Jack and Nibsy equally, it's really interesting to see their antagonistic side of the story, how they become the way they are and how they work against the characters and the story itself. I do feel like we underused Jianyu a little bit, since I feel like he's just as important to the story as everyone else, but given how he was on his deathbed for a good chunk of the book it makes sense how his POV was lacking. Though the POVs weren't wholly balanced, I still feel like we constantly got a well rounded look at what was happening in this story, regardless of where we were in the timeline, and it was constantly interesting, constantly relevant, and never predictable. I think the reason I docked a half star is because there were some elements of the story that felt a bit unresolved, like what happened with Ruby's character but one can only assume that she'll be back for the grand finale, and part of me is still slightly confused about the involvement of Seshat and Thoth. I definitely understand them a lot more now, and I think it was explained really well near the end of this book, but I wish that the recap of how they happened to be in the story and both Harte and Jack was done a bit better. The overall recaps were well done and triggered my memory when necessary, but there's always room for improvement, you know? This was a hefty book, one of the biggest I've read in a while, but it was so solidly good. I truly admire Maxwell for being able to balance the magic of fantasy and the heaviness of historical fiction, and you can feel how well researched everything is and how astutely she goes about tackling what could be difficult times in history. Just like Esta, Maxwell works very well with different times in history rather than against it or glossing over things that can be seen as ugly because, as said in her Author's Note, history is ugly and historians don't have the luxury of glossing over such things. The theme of prejudice and superiority is a constant in the story, whether it's with the Maegus and the Sundren or the Black and Asian communities in history respectively, and I love how Maxwell uses them in the story as driving points for various characters rather than relying on them to tell her story for her. As I said, this is a very well done series, written and crafted so solidly and constantly improves over the series, and I truly cannot wait to see how it all ends now that I know where and how it plans on doing so. Seriously, if you haven't picked up this book yet you really need to. The most underrated series I've ever read and will be one of my favourites for years to come. But if I have to wait over a year and deal with more pushback I might have to riot. God, what a magical yet stressful series; I love it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janette

    The cover is perfection. The title is badass. I need it...now.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cayla (King Cayla Books)

    9/29/2019 I just noticed the cover is out and it’s gorgeous!!! I can’t wait to read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna♥Reading

    Wow. This cover is everything!! Never heard of this series before, but damn... I want to read it now🤩

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gibs.z

    I cannot wait to read this book, it's big (900+ pages omg) and I just love this series I cannot wait to read this book, it's big (900+ pages omg) and I just love this series

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The Serpent's Curse was a wonderfully stressful read, full of endless scheming, and action. ❤❤ Despite the fact that I initially had a little trouble remembering everyone, and everything from the first two books when I started the third, I still immensely enjoyed every moment of the book~ :) For starters, I loved seeing all the characters again even though, at first, I embarrassingly couldn't remember who Jianyu was OTL - ESPECIALLY Maggie, and North, who I was most excited to see more of in The The Serpent's Curse was a wonderfully stressful read, full of endless scheming, and action. ❤❤ Despite the fact that I initially had a little trouble remembering everyone, and everything from the first two books when I started the third, I still immensely enjoyed every moment of the book~ :) For starters, I loved seeing all the characters again even though, at first, I embarrassingly couldn't remember who Jianyu was OTL - ESPECIALLY Maggie, and North, who I was most excited to see more of in The Serpent's Curse, and I was NOT disappointed by their scenes~! ❤❤❤ (view spoiler)[They're both such precious characters, and OMGOSH, the amount of times North made me cry over his love for Maggie, and his children -- 😭💔 (hide spoiler)] I loved seeing all the characters' changing relationships with one another, their individual growth (tragically not applicable to either of the main characters), and especially their teamwork (again, not applicable to the main characters)! I was so incredibly invested in seeing how everyone's schemes panned out: there's the disastrous duo, i.e. Esta and Harte, who somehow manage to wreck havoc on everyone, and everything around them; Viola, Theo (❤), Jianyu, Abel, and Cela, who were able to overcome their differences, and accomplish more than they set out to do without endangering anyone (Esta, and Harte could NEVER 😂); and, James who is a wonderfully morally corrupt, and brilliant tactician that's always ten steps ahead of everyone else (I actually liked him as an antagonist a million times more than everyone else, to be honest 🙈). ALSO, I'm immensely interested in learning more about Dolph's character. Maybe I just don't remember him very well (which is totally feasible given the two year gap), but I feel like he's far more clever than everyone believes him to be - and far less horrible than James is making him out to be. 🤔 On the topic of the characters, I actually thought it was really interesting seeing the disparities between Viola's team, and Esta's. In Viola's case, every member of the team put in the effort to actually work together as a team, and trust each other. (view spoiler)[While they didn't get the artifact they were originally aiming for, they got something even better... without a single person dying on their watch - which is absolutely amazing considering the thousands of unexpected twists they were suddenly confronted with. (hide spoiler)] Meanwhile, there's Esta, and Harte who're incapable of fully trusting anyone they enlist the help of - including each other - and thereby end up ruining the lives of basically everyone they come into contact with - including their own - so that any of their accomplishments end up feeling very empty in the end. (view spoiler)[ I will also never forgive the two self-absorbed idiots for having the audacity to DOUBT North, and Everett - and, then flippen' ignore the mourning kid - when they wouldn't have accomplished ANYTHING without them, but I digress. (hide spoiler)] It's a really interesting contrast to repeatedly see as the story flips between Esta/Harte/North/Maggie, and Jianyu/Cela/Viola's perspectives. All in all, I'm really excited to read the finale (which I totally thought The Serpent's Curse would be, haha ^^;)~!! I'm very eager to see everyone get their well-deserved happy endings*, and for James to finally get his butt kicked. o(*°▽°*)o Also, I desperately want someone - preferably Maggie, North, and/or Everett - to slap some sense into Esta, and Harte before anything works out for them 'cause their constant melodrama was getting on my nerves, and NO ONE deserved to suffer so much because of THEIR endless stupidity. U_U

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Thank you Netgallery and the publisher for letting me read this eARC in exhange for an honest review. Serpents curse was a total disappointed. The first book in this series was amazing, but after that I felt like this series has gone down hill. The author throws so much useless information into this book, that the plot, character development, etc gets lost behind all the random bits of information. Another thing that had be rate this book so low, was that there was new terms for a group of peopl Thank you Netgallery and the publisher for letting me read this eARC in exhange for an honest review. Serpents curse was a total disappointed. The first book in this series was amazing, but after that I felt like this series has gone down hill. The author throws so much useless information into this book, that the plot, character development, etc gets lost behind all the random bits of information. Another thing that had be rate this book so low, was that there was new terms for a group of people that were brought up and werent explained who or what they were. The terms were just thrown in and I couldnt tell if they were part of a group to stop magic or a group to bring back magic. I felt like there was way to many groups, by the end I counted 8 and I was getting frustrated by the different names. It felt like way to much. Also by the end I wished the author would have cut all the useless chapters out (and there was A LOT, and none of these useless chapters or information did anything to help move the story alone, just made it longer then it needed to be) to just finish the book, because it feels like the next book is going to be super short, but I know better by now. Another thing is all the arguing!! there was chapters upon chapters where the characters just argued! There was up to 3 chapters where the same characters were still arguing over something multiple chapters ago and it did NOTHING for the story. When this series first started I LOVED Esta and Harte and by the end of this book they drove me insane! They were so wishy washy that I just didnt care for them anymore. Also the two villians in this series are so annoying and poorly written that I didn't care what they did. I didnt feel like they were great villains (and I love the villains in any story), these two have gotten boring and flat. I was truly disappointed by this series and I'm praying that the last book is way better then the last 2 books have been in this entire series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    3.75 stars read on my blog rep: lesbian main character, Chinese main character, Black side characters cw: mentions of past parental abuse (emotional, physical), forced drug use I have no interest in being some kind of hero. I don’t want to die to save the world. But I’d happily give my life to save you. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, so I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book for years. Now it’s finally out! The Serpent’s Curse was a thrilling continuation of the Last M 3.75 stars read on my blog rep: lesbian main character, Chinese main character, Black side characters cw: mentions of past parental abuse (emotional, physical), forced drug use I have no interest in being some kind of hero. I don’t want to die to save the world. But I’d happily give my life to save you. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, so I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book for years. Now it’s finally out! The Serpent’s Curse was a thrilling continuation of the Last Magician series. This review contains spoilers for the first two books. In 1902 New York, Viola, Jianyu, and Cela work together against multiple enemies to regain Delphi’s Tear. Meanwhile, Esta and Harte continue on their own journey to find the other stones, scattered across the country. They’re working against the Order, which seems to pop up everywhere they go; Seshat, the goddess whose power lives in Harte; and time itself. Since it’s been a few years since I first read the previous books, I had to reread them before diving into this book, and I’m really glad I did! It was nice to gain a refresher for this world and the various moving parts although I do think it tried to remind you of key points in the beginning of the book. If it’s also been a while since you read the first two books, I think you’ll be good enough to jump back into this one. I loved the characters, as usual. It was so nice to see more of all of their hearts; they’re all people trying so hard to do the right thing, and you can’t help but root for them to win. I particularly liked seeing more of Viola, my favorite angry lesbian, because she’s one of my favorite characters in this series! The plot is a continuation of the previous book; I don’t want to say too much because it’ll spoil this book, but I was engrossed in the story. The stones are scattered across time but collecting them isn’t as simple as Esta and Harte first think. This book travels across different time periods, but for the most part, stays in the first half of the 1900s. Mageus themselves are marginalized in society, but this book, in particular out of the series, analyzes how people of color, Mageus or not, are oppressed. Jianyu is Chinese and Cela is Black; while Viola is an Italian immigrant, also hated during this time, she is still seen as “better” because she has white skin. I liked how this book included racial relations throughout the different time periods although sometimes it only means so much coming from a white author (which is to say, please read historical fantasies by authors of color as well!). I will say that this book was so long; I know that it was delayed for so long and ended up being split into another book (meaning that a fourth book was added to this series), but The Serpent’s Curse still felt like two books. I think I liked it more than the second book, just because something is always happening at any point in the story, but the pacing felt a bit off because there were two climaxes. The page count scared me at first, but I somehow managed to finish this in three days; however, I think that only happened because I was still propelled by the momentum of rereading the first two books. Otherwise, I’m not sure I could’ve finished this book so quickly. Overall, The Serpent’s Curse was a fast-paced story that travels throughout and against time to hunt down the stones. I loved the characters and can’t wait for the next book. If you’re looking for a historical fantasy, you should definitely check the Last Magician series out! original review: okay I liked this book but idk it was already split into two books (aka a fourth book was added to the series) but this one still FELT like two books...I'm not sure I could've gotten through it if I hadn't had the momentum from rereading the first two books right before this but it was good!! just so long

  24. 4 out of 5

    Juls

    i feel so conflicted. the beginning dragged, pages 100-600ish were super enjoyable, but i just had so many problems with the logic behind the plot and character motives that i can't justify giving this anything higher than a 3 stars. I felt a lot of the character POVs were aimless and because there are so many characters and timelines, it became straight-up disorienting. the ending (last 150 pages) was really weak, as well. Also, there was a lot of information/foreshadowing (?) included that nev i feel so conflicted. the beginning dragged, pages 100-600ish were super enjoyable, but i just had so many problems with the logic behind the plot and character motives that i can't justify giving this anything higher than a 3 stars. I felt a lot of the character POVs were aimless and because there are so many characters and timelines, it became straight-up disorienting. the ending (last 150 pages) was really weak, as well. Also, there was a lot of information/foreshadowing (?) included that never led to anything which just left wondering why it was included or teased at in the first place. (scroll to next paragraph to avoid something spoiler-ish) For example, during one of the timelines we find out a character had been killed, but when we return to the earlier timeline following that character they never end up getting killed? like literally what's the point of spoiling a death that didn't even end up happening in this book? That's just one example but there were others as well. Another complaint I have is that there's just way too many characters at this point and it's impossible to be invested in them all. I literally rolled my eyes when we met Everett and Dom (within the last 200 pages btw) because I just couldn't deal with another character to keep track of lol. However, Ruby was pretty much written out of the story which made me happy bc she's the worst and nobody can convince me otherwise. Finally, why the reluctance to kill off characters????? can we lighten the load a bit? just make me feel something pls anyways, that's all. it was honestly enjoyable and that's why i settled on 3 stars but i couldn't ignore the problems mentioned above.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Khris Erickson

    I'm very torn on how many stars to give "The Serpent's Curse". On the one hand I love the adventures of Esta and Harte, but on the other it just doesn't measure up to "The Last Magician" or even to "The Devil's Thief". I'd give it a 3.5 star rating if possible, but I just didn't like it enough to give it a 4 star review. The first problem I encountered is that it picked right up from where "The Devil's Thief" left off, and it's been several years since I read that. There wasn't any kind of a rec I'm very torn on how many stars to give "The Serpent's Curse". On the one hand I love the adventures of Esta and Harte, but on the other it just doesn't measure up to "The Last Magician" or even to "The Devil's Thief". I'd give it a 3.5 star rating if possible, but I just didn't like it enough to give it a 4 star review. The first problem I encountered is that it picked right up from where "The Devil's Thief" left off, and it's been several years since I read that. There wasn't any kind of a recap, and I found myself lost and in need of googling recaps of the previous books to remind myself what had already happened. It would have been much better if a recap was integrated into the writing itself. I also felt that the thoughts of the characters were redundant as they sorted through their own conflicts. Those introspections could have been introduced and then only briefly referred to as the story progressed. Instead it seemed like these personal conflicts were mulled over by the characters unnecessarily throughout the book. The book itself ran too long. I feel that it would have been a better read had it only been 400 pages. That being said, I did love the story itself and it was worth reading it just to see where Esta and Harte ended up. I'm hoping the 4th book is a better read because I do want to learn what happens next. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    I read the previous book in this series three years ago, and this novel dives right back into the story without any sort of recap. I struggled for several chapters, but still can’t remember one of the characters mentioned. The relationship drama between Esta and Harte that weighed down the previous book for me isn’t as prevalent this time around, which was a relief. They actually spend about half of the novel in separate storylines of their own that come with some surprises – especially for Harte I read the previous book in this series three years ago, and this novel dives right back into the story without any sort of recap. I struggled for several chapters, but still can’t remember one of the characters mentioned. The relationship drama between Esta and Harte that weighed down the previous book for me isn’t as prevalent this time around, which was a relief. They actually spend about half of the novel in separate storylines of their own that come with some surprises – especially for Harte. He’s able to finally resolve some issues he’s been holding onto for years and I was happy with the outcome. The time travel aspect is still one of my favorite things about this series, and the dual timelines are done well. Another favorite thing is the covers – each of them is stunning. At over 700 pages, this book is a chunk. I read an ARC, so things may change after more edits, but I feel like there are many areas that could be trimmed or even eliminated to create a tighter story. I honestly thought this was the last book in the series, but was surprised to learn that it wasn’t upon reaching the last page. With time travel, life threatening situations (lots of them!), magic, and power struggles, I still enjoyed this read despite its length. Just hope it’s not three years until the next book releases! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ kacie ˎˊ˗

    I already know I’ll love this book even more when I reread it. I enjoyed this much much more than The Devil's Thief. We're still following way too many characters for my likings, but I felt less overwhelmed this time, probably bc we had warmed up to the new characters in the previous book. I would still prefer lesser POVs; the constant switching between POVs (and timelines) did throw me off the momentum quite a few times. Also, the romance was a bit too angsty LOL. To the things I love. OBVIOUSLY I already know I’ll love this book even more when I reread it. I enjoyed this much much more than The Devil's Thief. We're still following way too many characters for my likings, but I felt less overwhelmed this time, probably bc we had warmed up to the new characters in the previous book. I would still prefer lesser POVs; the constant switching between POVs (and timelines) did throw me off the momentum quite a few times. Also, the romance was a bit too angsty LOL. To the things I love. OBVIOUSLY THE PLOT. Immaculate, clever, so delicately crafted- classic Lisa Maxwell. The stakes were so god damn high, every turn of the page gave me a heart attack. And you would think the characters would get lost amid all the intense plot development, that's absolutely not the case. The characters were driven by complex morals and had solid arcs. I adored them all (ok, maybe not Cordelia, bc she's a little piece of shit). I loved the writing as always. Maxwell is a really talented author (might even top Sabaa Tahir in terms of her writing); everything she puts on the page, I could see it plays out so vividly in my mind. Also, time travelling can be tricky to handle, but Maxwell delivered an impeccable magic system that really helped establish a solid ground for the plot to unfold upon. Omg and the diversity. No bullshit token diversity, Maxwell really delved deep into what it was like for people of color back in those days. I respect the thoughts she had put into portraying the historical and cultural aspects accurately, while being sensitive to the needs of modern readers. A perfect mix of fantasy and historical fiction, and hits EVERY SINGLE MARK of what I want to see in a YA fantasy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Smellink

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 stars. This is a toughy. I love this series, but... This book. :( I found it hard to get through, and I stopped at page 563 and skimmed the end to give myself a rest. It could have benefited from a lot of editing. I likely would have enjoyed it more as audio. Why so much Cela, Abel and Jianyu and yet no real plot? Is it just lead up for book four? They really needed more actual stuff to do in their POV (the only plot they had was interacting with Viola.. so that's not really worthy of their ow 3.5 stars. This is a toughy. I love this series, but... This book. :( I found it hard to get through, and I stopped at page 563 and skimmed the end to give myself a rest. It could have benefited from a lot of editing. I likely would have enjoyed it more as audio. Why so much Cela, Abel and Jianyu and yet no real plot? Is it just lead up for book four? They really needed more actual stuff to do in their POV (the only plot they had was interacting with Viola.. so that's not really worthy of their own chapters imo, they could have been in Viola's POVs). I JUST set the book down.. and I couldn't tell you what their plotline was. :( Which is a shame because they have so much potential. Why a Jack POV at all? Hack all those. And who's the villian? Jack? Paulo? Nibsy? Thot? Sheshat? The Order? Everyone has a villian, it's tough to know where to place your attention. There was a lot of filler that could have been chopped to help get us more invested in the story lines that mattered. I loved seeing Harte meet his brother, and again in 1950, that was sweet. I really don't mean to deter anyone from reading this series, I say all this to say: this book was a tough read due to pacing and length. Which is sad because I love these characters. I hope that doesn't turn anyone away from this great story. I hope the next book turns it around!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Serpent's Curse is the third and penultimate book in the The Last Magician series written by Lisa Maxwell and centered on Esta Filosik – a Mageus Theif and Harte Darrigan. In 1904, protagonists Esta and Harte continue their cross-country quest to gather the stones to stop threats both mythical and corporeal. Meanwhile, back in 1902 New York City, their compatriots Viola, Jianyu, and Cela continues to work against two opposing threats: Nibsy Lorcan and the Order. The Serpent's Curse is written The Serpent's Curse is the third and penultimate book in the The Last Magician series written by Lisa Maxwell and centered on Esta Filosik – a Mageus Theif and Harte Darrigan. In 1904, protagonists Esta and Harte continue their cross-country quest to gather the stones to stop threats both mythical and corporeal. Meanwhile, back in 1902 New York City, their compatriots Viola, Jianyu, and Cela continues to work against two opposing threats: Nibsy Lorcan and the Order. The Serpent's Curse is written rather well. This weighty narrative jumps between timelines as well as some characters and multiple close third-person perspectives, often reiterating information from different perspectives. Villainous Jack Grew appears in every time, making it clear that his particular brand of fear-based is as powerful a threat in fantasy as in reality. Maxwell's narrative is ambitious and complex plotting, complete with plenty of ruminations on power and hatred, make for compelling reading. All in all, The Serpent's Curse is written rather well and is a good continuation to what would hopefully be a wonderful series, which I plan to read in the very near future.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Kenyon

    Esta knows what she is doing. Not only is she an experienced thief, she also is able to travel in time. There is one mission she wants to be successful with and it will require her to travel to 1902 New York. As with many plans, there is a problem. A goddess was trapped in the artifact and she wants to use Esta to destroy the world. Esta now has a new mission, but will time be on their side? The Serpent’s Curse is the third book in The Last Magician series. I usually love third books. The reader Esta knows what she is doing. Not only is she an experienced thief, she also is able to travel in time. There is one mission she wants to be successful with and it will require her to travel to 1902 New York. As with many plans, there is a problem. A goddess was trapped in the artifact and she wants to use Esta to destroy the world. Esta now has a new mission, but will time be on their side? The Serpent’s Curse is the third book in The Last Magician series. I usually love third books. The reader knows the characters and the world-building and storyline are well developed already, yet, this book did not follow this pattern. Maxwell’s newest story did not keep my attention and I constantly found my mind wandering away from the pages. Those who enjoyed the first two books will most likely enjoy this third installment, but if you haven’t started the series yet, you might want to pass this one by.

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