Review: Wonderstruck – Allie Therin
by Allie Therin
Series: Magic in Manhattan #3
Also in this series: Spellbound, Starcrossed
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Don’t miss the stunning conclusion to Allie Therin’s Magic in Manhattan series!
New York, 1925
Arthur Kenzie is on a mission: to destroy the powerful supernatural relic that threatens Manhattan—and all the nonmagical minds in the world. So far his search has been fruitless. All it has done is keep him from the man he loves. But he’ll do anything to keep Rory safe and free, even if that means leaving him behind.
Psychometric Rory Brodigan knows his uncontrolled magic is a liability, but he’s determined to gain power over it. He can take care of himself—and maybe even Arthur, too, if Arthur will let him. An auction at the Paris world’s fair offers the perfect opportunity to destroy the relic, if a group of power-hungry supernaturals don’t destroy Rory and Arthur first.
As the magical world converges on Paris, Arthur and Rory have to decide who they can trust. Guessing wrong could spell destruction for their bond—and for the world as they know it.
Content warnings: View Spoiler »period-appropriate homophobia, parental abandonment, torture & PTSD (mentioned, in the past), magical body control « Hide Spoiler
I have loved this Prohibition-era paranormal series since the moment we first met Rory, and I was a little worried going in because I knew this was the third and final book. How would the entire situation with Baron Zeppler be taken care of? Whose side are Gwen and Ellis really on? What about the relationship hiccups between Rory and Arthur? And, most importantly to me, would Arthur ever take Rory to his beloved Italy? And yes, all these questions are answered and more.
“It’s adorable you think I need hard evidence of danger to worry about you. It’s like you’ve never even met me.”
Arthur, Jade and Zhang are traveling up and down the coast, chasing possible ways of destroying the pomander, a magical relic that can control the non-magical. Meanwhile, Rory is stuck back in the dubious safety of New York City, as his psychometry and (limited) control of the Tempest Ring have made him a person of interest to the Baron. But things are changing for Rory: Mrs. Brodigan is getting married and selling the store, and Rory’s left unmoored without a job. It soon becomes clear that Rory’s not safe anymore, so the gang follow the trail across the ocean to Paris – and London. What they find there – and who they chose to trust – could make the difference for the world, and Arthur and Rory’s relationship.
“You could ruin me, ruin my family, and my friends—”
“I would never—” Rory started.
“You would never,” Arthur agreed. “Your magic in my aura would never hurt me, and you would never hurt me. But you don’t think you’re safe with me too.”
Three books in, Rory is still struggling with not being a burden for Arthur. He knows from personal experience that the ones who are supposed to take care of you can abandon you without a second thought, and he’s afraid that relying on Arthur will leave him without a fallback. After all, he’s already magically anchored himself in Arthur’s aura – without his consent. It takes Arthur getting drunk and revealing that it makes him feel like Rory doesn’t trust him before Rory realizes he’s hurting Arthur. It’s not just Rory who has to deal with his past, though, but also Arthur. He doesn’t have magic like the rest of the group, so he views using his money as his contribution to the cause. If Rory won’t let him help him out financially, then what does he have to contribute? And while he’s quick to (gently) chide Rory for his lack of trust in him, Arthur’s the pot calling the kettle black. When he finds out some devastating information, he delays telling Rory in order to “protect” him. There were times I just wanted to grab Arthur and yell “use your words!”. So while it did feel like it was a lot of rehashing of the same relationship struggles from previous books, by the end – once they finally communicated – I felt like they were finally on solid ground. And, gosh, they’re just so sweet together, so it’s very fulfilling to watch them get their HEA.
“You’re not chained to anything just because it’s who you’ve always been or what you’ve always done. You can wake up on a new morning and choose a new path, a new adventure.”
It’s hard to talk too much about the plot without getting into spoilers. While there is a new character introduced, a lot of the plot focuses on tying up ends from the first two books, so it would be good to refresh your memory on those prior to reading this book as there’s not much recap given. The secondary characters, especially Jade, are so well-rounded, and honestly I wish we could have a book for Jade and Zhang’s relationship. There’s a really amazing sense of found family, especially for the paranormals, of reaching out past class and ethnicity and racial boundaries and bonding together. It’s especially evident in an early scene where the friends all gather for Rory’s birthday, and gosh, it made me so happy. They also work well together with solving the clues around the relics, each using their specific skills and magical talents.
“I’m on a big ship, not locked up in my room, scared of myself,” he finally said, his throat tight. “I’m going on a new adventure, to a whole new country, with friends.” He swallowed. “I think maybe, if she could see me right now, my mom would be happy. And you’re the one who would’ve made that happen.”
So overall, this was the perfect ending to the series, and to be honest, I cried. Forgive me for being exceedingly cheesy, but the whole series has been spellbinding. I’m going to miss Rory and Arthur, but I’m very much looking forward to whatever Allie Therin comes up with next!