Mister Magic by Kiersten White

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: August 8th, 2023

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Adult, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

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 friend-ship. 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…

First Line:

Your favorite childhood television program feels like a fever dream. You don’t remember it at all until I start humming the theme song and then-oh, I can see it in your eyes.

Mr. Magic by Kiersten White

For Val, life began at eight when her father and herself arrived at Gloria’s ranch. Thirty years later, Val’s father dies from complications due to a stroke. With no past and a present only at the ranch, Val feels like a half-person. That is until Javi, Marcus, and Isaac appear at her father’s wake and end her life. Val discovers she was part of a children’s TV show called Mr. Magic, and she left after a horrible accident took the life of a 6th castmate. But Val feels there is more to the story than what the men say and agrees to return to Bliss. Once there, Val starts remembering more and more about what happened that day. With the help of her friends, can Val finally remember what happened that day and what happened to the sixth castmate? Or is Val hiding her memory for a reason?

When I saw Mr. Magic’s cover, I knew I needed to read this book. And when I read the blurb, it reinforced my need to read it. I decided to take a chance since the publisher had this as Wish only on their NetGalley page. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I got the email saying it was granted. I couldn’t wait to sit down and read this book. I am glad I did because it was something different (and creepy) to read.

The main storyline of Mr. Magic revolves around Val, her lack of memory, and The Circle of Friends. I did feel a little bad for Val. This storyline was well written. It drew me in, didn’t let me go, and spit me out a chaotic mess at the end of the book. It is a fast-paced storyline with zero lag and just zipped along. I loved it.

All of the remaining castmates have issues and are stunted emotionally. The author showcases those emotional issues while crafting characters you couldn’t hope but root for. Out of the surviving five, Isaac was my favorite. My least favorite was Jenny. She didn’t hesitate to needle Val about what happened and knew that Val had no memory.

The storyline with Val, the other Circle of Friends, Mister Magic, and what happened the day the show ended was compelling. Several twists and turns in the plotline made me raise an eyebrow and think, “Hmmm.” I was surprised to discover who Mister Magic was and what happened afterward. And I certainly wasn’t expecting the end to be as it was. Talk about trippy!!

The storyline with the missing 6th castmate was heartbreaking and also creepy. My heart broke for Val once she remembered who it was. But it also strengthened her resolve to do what needed to be done. Again, I am not going to say more because of spoilers.

I enjoyed how the author crafted a mystery around the show. There were no reruns; people flocked to boards, Wiki pages, and other sites to discuss it and to reassure each other that what they remembered was real. The author nailed it with the rabid commentators and the trolls. But she also wove a bit of truth through it all.

The end of Mister Magic was interesting. As I said, I wasn’t expecting it to go as it did. But, in a way, there was something right about what happened. It came full circle for the friends. The epilogue made me happy, but I wondered if Isaac would go back.

The author’s note sheds some light on various parts of the book. I can’t explain more than that (because of spoilers).

I would recommend Mister Magic to anyone over 16. There is language, violence, and no sexual situations.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Kiersten White for allowing me to read and review Mister Magic. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

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