September 18, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Reminiscent Of Stephen King, Kiersten White’s Mister Magic Is A Genre-Bending Wonder

Mister Magic By Kiersten White- Summary

Who is Mister Magic? Former child stars reunite to uncover the tragedy that ended their show—and discover the secret of its enigmatic host—in this dark supernatural thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hide.

Thirty years after a tragic accident shut down production of the classic children’s program Mister Magic, the five surviving cast members have done their best to move on. But just as generations of cultishly devoted fans still cling to the lessons they learned from the show, the cast, known as the Circle of Friends, have spent their lives searching for the happiness they felt while they were on it. The friendship. The feeling of belonging. And the protection of Mister Magic.

But with no surviving video of the show, no evidence of who directed or produced it, and no records of who—or what—the beloved host actually was, memories are all the former Circle of Friends has.

Then a twist of fate brings the castmates back together at the remote desert filming compound that feels like it’s been waiting for them all this time. Even though they haven’t seen each other for years, they understand one another better than anyone has since.

After all, they’re the only ones who hold the secret of that circle, the mystery of the magic man in his infinitely black cape, and, maybe, the answers to what really happened on that deadly last day. But as the Circle of Friends reclaim parts of their past, they begin to wonder: Are they here by choice, or have they been lured into a trap?

Because magic never forgets the taste of your friendship. . . .

Mister Magic By Kiersten White- Review

I have been waiting for this! In fact, I did the Can’t Wait Wednesday for Kiersten White’s Mister Magic ages ago. I was not disappointed. Kiersten White sprinkled in a little mystery, a little fantasy, and a little horror to create a story reminiscent of Stephen King’s It, or even Eyes of the Dragon, to a lesser extent.

Kiersten White’s writing cadence (you’ll see this word again when I talk about the audiobook) is on target for the type of story she is telling. It has a soothing rhythm to it, like a child’s rhymes (this isn’t referring to the actual rhymes in the book, but her prose). This gives Mister Magic an allure, a seduction to it that leads you into dark places before you realize it.

Another burst of static so loud, Javi cries out covering his ears. “Can you make that stop? It feels like something is crawling in my brain.” The voice is smooth and silky. “Everything made sense when you were in the circle. And nothing made sense after. You felt loved. You felt safe. You felt whole.”

Furthermore, the podcast that interviews each star of the children’s series, Mister Magic changes tone and intention to a knife’s edge. At once soothing and then suddenly menacing, threatening. Throughout the changes in tone and story context, Kiersten White holds that hypnotic rhythm in place.

Summary and Review

Thank you to Del Ray and Penguin Randomhouse Audio for the advanced audio of Mister Magic by Kiersten White, which releases on August 8th.

I absolutely love how wide the breadth of writing encompassed multiple genres. Although officially listed as horror, I argue that Mister Magic is much more complex than horror. It definitely has its terrifying moments, but it also encompasses fantasy, mystery, and even other components that I don’t want to mention because of spoilers.

The characters in Mister Magic are a perfect combination of the leader, the rebel, the best friend, the imaginative one, and the group’s baby. At the same time, their voices and stories are entirely deeper than each label. Without saying too much, Kiersten White tackles themes of childhood trauma through each character. Each has come out the other side of the Mister Magic show with different effects of that trauma. And the unique touch White puts on each character brings the story and characters to life.

Final Thoughts/Audiobook

First of all, Rebecca Lowman does a fantastic job matching both Kiersten White’s cadence, with her own and switching up her intonation to match how quickly the podcast interviewer changes tones. I absolutely loved her performance.

Finally, if you like books like It and Eyes of the Dragon, like some genre-bending and mysterious goings on? Mister Magic is right up your alley.

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