“Magic is a con” Spellslinger Review 

The fantasy novel that keeps you guessing. By Sebastian De Castell


MAGIC IS A CON GAME. Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone. As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path. Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope…The first in a rich and compelling fantasy series bursting with tricks, traps and a devious talking squirrel cat. 

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this book but oh my god! The tag line is ‘magic is a con’ but in reality it is more like the Jan’tep’s history is a con. The story is a political mind field and when it comes down to it protecting ones image is more important than doing what is right. 

Kellen may not have really strong magical abilities but for what he lacks he makes up for with his wit and quick thinking. His encounter with Ferius opens his eyes to what is wrong with his society and she gives him the option to choose something else for himself. Kellens family is horrible. His sister is very stuck up but deep down does care about him. He looses a lot of friends along the way and finds out what really matters in the end.

I really didn’t know where this story was going at times. It was full of twists and turns. It is a great story showing how hard it can be and go against society’s pressures. I would say that the world building isn’t the best but the story and character development make up for that.

The book is also really pretty with some of the card designs illustrated inside. The cover design is beautiful and extremely appropriate to the story.  I did not realise how much I was going to enjoy this book when I started it now I can’t wait for the sequel to see what happens next for Kellen. 

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