Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
I was a big fan of Patchett's beautiful, understated Bel Canto. This book had an intriguing setup: a woman is married to a magician who loves her but is gay. After he passes away, she learns that the family he claimed was dead is actually still alive.
Unfortunately, once that mystery is resolved, which doesn't take long, Patchett seems to run out of interesting ideas. To be fair, her characters are likable, plausible people, and she has a talent for lovely, understated scenes. But, the story loses much of its tension as soon as the closet runs out skeletons, and turns a little too sentimental. Patchett even goes as far as to include the stilted device of the dead magician giving advice to the protagonist in dreams. This one fell well short of Bel Canto for me -- I do recommend that book if you haven't read it yet.
I loved State of Wonder and so decided to try another Patchett book. I was 3 hours into The Magician's Assistant and found it to be so dull I couldn't continue listening. The dialogue is well written but the characters are banal and the story is plodding. Dream sequences are tedious. Perhaps there is interesting plot development further in but I lost patience waiting for the story to get off the ground.
Wonderful and different kind of story. Love the description and detail. Throws a couple of curve balls you could never expect. Really enjoyed this book.
This was one of the worst books I've ever finished. Till the end I was hoping that maybe there is a point to this ridiculous "story" but there simply isn't.
Badly carved characters and a non existing plot in addition to a soulless narration made this listen an ordeal. Not to recommend.
Very weIl written but the ending was terrible. I listened twice thinking that I somehow missed something. You don't need to tie up all the loose ends but closure would have been nice.
This is my first Ann Patchett book, but it won't be my last. While The Magician's Assistant is very much in the "chick-lit" vein, the characters and situations are so original and interesting that it kept this man involved and entertained all the way from the first page to the last magic trick. While there is a substantial story here, of Sabine's journey from grief to new life, this is really a tale about the infinite possibilities within our human relationships, and about how we can limit or expand those possibilities.
While the female characters are finely and completely drawn, the men are not so convincing, and this represents the book's only small failing. As a piece, however, this is a work of delicacy that will bring joy and wonder to the reader who is open to it. Highly recommended for readers who love originality of plot and character-driven human stories.
I'm not going to recount the story because it annoys me to read reviews that tell the whole story. I can say that I was moved to tears more than once. But, I found the story's best punches were in the first 1/3, it levelled out in the middle and the end seemed to wander around. The actual ending is abrupt, unexpected and unfulfilling. That said, I do recommend it because the story is interesting, unique, engaging--and the narrator is quite good.
Well written, excellent narrator. Story line okay- I love Ann Pachett, but this wasn't one of her best.
The Magicians Assistant has interesting characters, and interesting premise and a weak ending. The end leaves you hanging, but not to the point where you want a sequel, but it leaves you in a place where you as the reader no longer care about the characters. The narration is good enough for you to stay in story, but not good enough to be able to tell the characters apart by voice alone. The production is poor at best. In a book where the main characters like opera, classical and country music, at the end and beginning of the chapters is an upbeat jazz, that is inappropriate repetitive and ineffective.