The much-anticipated conclusion to the Last Magician series, The Shattered City, is out now! In case you don’t remember everything that happened in Lisa Maxwell’s magical time-traveling series, I’ve put together a helpful recap of The Last Magician, The Devil’s Thief, and The Serpent’s Curse for you!
The Last Magician Series Recap You Need Before Reading The Shattered City
What happened in The Last Magician?
Esta time travels back to 1902 NYC (with the help of her cuff) to foil the Magician and steal the Book, as directed by the Professor. She joins Dolph’s crew and works to convince Harte, the Magician, to join the heist team to steal the Book from the Order, before Jack, an aspiring Order member, blows up all the Mageus in the city. After much banter and kisses-with-ulterior-motives, Esta and Harte team up, then betray each other, then un-betray each other. Esta takes the Book back to present day NYC but! the Professor is Nibsy, a shady character from 1902 who wants the Book to takeover the world. Esta escapes (with her former partner Logan in tow) and returns to 1902 and she and Harte make plans to save magic and the world.
What happened in The Devil’s Thief?
Harte and Esta escape NYC and the Brink with the intent to steal all the Order’s artifacts, aka the stones, to keep them out of nefarious hands. The Book is IN Harte and it wants Esta. They run into Jack, who steals the physical Book, but as they escape, they accidentally blow up a train, and end up in 1904.
Back in 1902, Jianyu and Cela unsuccessfully try to get the ring artifact back from Evelyn. Jack Grew causes trouble. Ruby, a reporter, works to expose him, and drags her fiancé, Theo, and our beloved Viola (Dolph’s former assassin) into her schemes. Logan delivers Nibsy’s notebook from the future, and Nibsy’s power grows.
In 1904, Harte and Esta visit the St. Louis World’s Fair (magic DOES exist outside of NYC!) to try to get the necklace artifact back. They know there are 5 stones and they need to keep them out of evil hands. They’ve changed history with their time travel and Esta, known as The Devil’s Thief, is a wanted person. They befriend North, who can time travel with the help of his pocket watch. They are stymied by the Society and sidetracked by magical anarchists, the Antistasi. They learn that the power in Jack, Thoth, dislikes the power in Harte, Seshat, and an ancient disagreement between the two of them caused the unbalance of magic in the world. Ultimately, Esta and Harte get the necklace and escape St. Louis, but are separated.
What happened in The Serpent’s Curse?
Find the stones. Take back the Book. Save the girl. This is Harte’s goal.
Find the stones. Destroy Seshat. Sacrifice herself and save Harte. This is Esta’s plan.
The fate of the magical world rests on Esta, who must somehow get her cuff back to her younger self, or else magic will die. Harte has left Esta and taken off with the necklace (Djinni’s Star) and her cuff (Ishtar’s Key) and heads west to find the headpiece (Dragon’s Eye). Esta searches for the dagger (Pharoh’s Heart). The fifth stone, the ring (Delphi’s Tear), is still in NYC. Esta and Harte plan to gather the stones and reunite back at Brooklyn Bridge where it all began.
1902 NYC: In the chaos at the end of The Devil’s Thief, Viola threw a knife at Jianyu, accidentally mortally wounding him, but got the ring (the Delphi’s Tear). She passes out and the ring disappears. Viola refuses to go with Abel to aid a dying Jianyu, determined to find out what her evil brother, Paul is up to. Poor Ruby is shipped off to France.
1904 Texas: North, Maggie, and Esta bend time to escape the Order. North gets shot because Seshat is still negatively impacting Esta’s magic. They go back in time to save themselves, forget it happened, and then Esta fakes the death of the Devil’s Thief (aka herself) by blowing up another train.
1902 NYC: Viola finally goes to Jianyu, who is being cared for by Cela and Abel. Viola tries to heal Jianyu but the wound made by her dagger won’t heal.
Viola confronts James Lorcan aka Nibsy about why her knife is so deadly. James explains the knife contains false magic and that’s why she can’t heal the wound. Realizing it’s Jianyu who must be injured, James schemes to use Viola to get back the ring, using his healing as blackmail. But Viola breaks into Nibsy’s office, steals Dolph’s journal, and finds some false magic, which she uses, with the help of Theo, to heal Jianyu.
San Fransisco: Harte risks the plague in Chinatown to find the Dragon’s Eye, which he had sent out of NYC to the grandmother he’d never met. Instead he finds his awful father, who pawned the Dragon’s Eye to someone in the Vigilance Committee (San Fran’s Order), who have it now. Harte’s father betrays him and takes Harte’s two stones (the necklace and cuff). Even though he’s sick with this plague, Harte escapes (he’s a magician, after all) and uses his little brother to blackmail his father into stealing back the Dragon’s Eye. He doesn’t feel great about it, but the fate of the world and Esta are at stake!
But of course, stealing the artifact is a trap! Seshat reluctantly helps Harte escape with the crown, but he’s caught again and this time it’s someone else threatening his brother so he gives up the Dragon’s Eye, and he’s thrown in jail to wait for Jack to come deal with him personally. He escapes (of course!) and goes back for his two stones.
Texas: Esta convinces North and Maggie to help her find the Pharoh’s Heart and agrees to take Maggie’s Quellant pill to mute her power so Seshat can’t get involved.
Denver: Esta and co travel to Denver to find a Wild West show, where Harte had sent Pickett, a performer, the Pharoh’s Heart dagger. They immediately run into danger and team up with Cordelia, a magical sharpshooter, to escape. North joins the show to get close to Pickett. Esta DISAPPEARS because something (Harte and the missing cuff?) has threatened her past. Esta blinks back into existence but Cordelia gives her truth serum and Esta confesses all her ulterior motives to North and Maggie. North tries to convince Maggie they should just leave, but she is devoted to the Antistasi cause. But turns out the Professor has been behind the Antistasi the whole time! NIBSY STRIKES AGAIN!
Jack is in Denver hunting Esta, and his men capture North, who discovered that Pickett doesn’t have the dagger- he was forced to give it to Jack. Esta and Maggie rescue North but are betrayed by Cordelia, who shoots Maggie. Maggie confesses that her potion has been messing with Esta’s power, not Seshat, and once Esta takes the antidote, she’s able to bend time and allow them all to escape so Maggie can get to a doctor. Esta stays behind to confront Jack.
When Esta tries to steal the book from Jack, she has to confront Thoth. He has the Pharoh’s Heart in the book, and needs some magic from Seshat for his nefarious plans – that’s why they were headed to California next. Esta knees Jack/Thoth in the groin and almost escapes with the book but instead DISAPPEARS again. When she reappears, she’s able to flee Denver and get on a train to California to find Harte.
1904 San Fransisco: Evil Nibsy has now carved “clavis” aka key into Esta’s arm, she learns as she travels to California. There, she’s greeted by Harte’s brother, Sammie, who takes her to a dying Harte. She begs Sammie’s mom for Harte’s stone, who reveals she did save them. With her cuff back, Esta hauls Harte out and hurls them into time.
1952 San Fransisco: Harte wakes up in a hospital. He’s alive! Esta dragged them into the future to save his life. She gives him Quellant to keep Seshat quiet and they escape the hospital, because of course Jack has waited 50 years for them to resurface and shows up right away.
1952 San Fransisco: Esta and Harte are in hiding but Seshat keeps them from getting too physically close which is just SO RUDE. They realize that Sammie’s mother might have given the bad guys a fake Dragon’s Eye back in the day, and track down present-day Sammie to see if he has the real one. Sammie explains that since they’ve been gone, the bad guys used the earthquake Esta caused escaping as a scapegoat to kill anyone with magic. Jack has been president for nearly 30 years and he’s using his power to build the Reticulum, a net to cover the country and eliminate all the old magic (including all Mageus). They’ll have to go back in time and stop this, but first, they hatch a plan to get the Dragon’s Heart from Sammie’s safe deposit box in the past. They get the crown, but Sammie is shot and they can’t do anything to change it as they travel back to 1920.
1920 A Train Headed East: Esta is tired of being alone so she gives in and has a lovely kissing moment with Harte while he’s on the Quellant. But Harte, in his grief, pulls away, and the moment is ruined.
1902 NYC: Cela, Abel, Viola, and Jianyu have teamed up to stop the Order. They’re pretending to work with Nibsy who is using Paul and Viola for his own plans to stop the Order. But Jack knows something is up, and Jack betrays Theo, who was trying to infiltrate the Order to help Viola. Everyone is double crossing everyone and trying to get the ring and it’s all about to go down at the new Order HQ in the Flatiron.
Logan and Viola sneak into the Flatiron to try to get the ring, and Viola manages to rescue Theo. Jianyu appears and agrees to get the ring so that Viola and Theo can go save Cela and Abel. Logan attacks Jianyu and ends up flying off the top of the Flatiron. Jianyu escapes and reunites with Cela. But Logan got the ring and gives it to Nibsy, who can feel his power grow.
1920 Chicago: Harte and Esta visit a nightclub, rumored to be frequented by Mageus, and share a nice moment dancing together. But the owner, Torrino (formerly Paul’s lackey!?), demands to see them. He locks them up (seems to be a theme in this book), but NORTH comes out of nowhere to save them! He and Maggie (who survived!) have a family and are still part of the Antistasi (but the non-Nibsy kind). North takes Esta and Harte to the magical Nitemarket to gather info on the Antistasi plan to attack Jack at the convention, which will set off a negative chain of events leading Jack to power. But they discover it’s not in the Antistasi’s plans- it’s a set up. They narrowly escape the Nitemarket, saving its creator, Dom, in the process, and make new plans to take down the tower before it can destroy the Mageus.
Harte and Esta go to the convention to find Jack and take back the Book. North and his son Everett work to destroy the tower, and they manage to turn that magic against Jack’s cronies, but North has to sacrifice himself in the process. Esta gets the Book from Jack but is trapped by Thoth, who wants Seshat. Harte tries to save Esta, who is finally swept into Seshat’s clutches. Seshat wants to destroy the world so that Thoth can’t get his hands on it. Esta and Seshat make a deal. She wants Harte back and in turn, she’ll destroy Thoth and right the balance magic and time. Coming back into reality, Esta stabs Jack/Thoth with the dagger, hopefully destroying them both. She and Harte are carted away by the police, but actually, it’s Dom, come to rescue them! Together, they head to NYC with the Book and four of the stones, determined to save their world.