Ace a test and it just might lead to a magical adventure filled with danger. Joey Kopecky has the test taking skills perfected—so much that his parents have enrolled him in a “special” year round school. Soon after his reluctant arrival at Exemplar Academy, Joey is transported to an old theater where Redondo the Magnificent, a grumpy out of work magician, is surprised to have a visitor.71sA4CC+eKL.jpg

Redondo had previously led the good side of magic known as Order of the Majestic. A competing faction, the Invisible Hand, has an evil plan to take over magic and eventually the world. Looks like they’ll have no trouble doing so until Joey and two other kids step into the fray.

There are magical mirrors and doorways along with a special deck of cards. Joey is both frightened and intrigued by the whole world he never knew existed. The third person narration has many twists and turns and will keep readers guessing what will happen next—although the four hundred plus pages in twenty long chapters might be a bit much for some middle grade readers.

Those staying on the journey to THE END will be rewarded. An exciting climatic scene is pulled off in page turning splendor. If you can’t get enough of fantasy and magical realism this is the book you should have for the summer.




  1. Humor comes in to play often and at the right time, especially in the exchanges Joey has with Redondo.
  2. The young characters are a diverse group. It will be fun to get to know them deeper in future installments.
  3. The cover does its job to invite readers in and take a look at a boy in a rather desperate situation.
  4. Joey’s personality is spot on for a twelve year old. His head is full of trying to figure out who he wants to be while keeping a hold of his childhood.
  5. The set-up for the next book sets the tone in the final chapter. A new antagonist arrives and is perhaps more intriguing than Grayson, the bad guy in this story.


Twelve-year-old daydreamer Joey Kopecky’s life has been turned upside down. After acing a series of tests, he’s declared a genius and awarded a full scholarship at a special (year-round!) school. He’s understandably devastated, until he takes one last test, and the room around him disappears, replaced by the interior of an old theater.There, Joey meets the washed-up magician, Redondo the Magnificent, and makes a shocking discovery…magic is real, but sadly, there isn’t much left in the world. It may be too late to save what little remains, but for the first time in his life Joey wants to try—really try—to do something big. Soon he’s swept up into a centuries-old conflict between two rival societies of magicians—the Order of the Majestic, who fights to keep magic alive and free for all, and the dark magicians of the Invisible Hand, who hoard magic for their own evil ends.

The endless battle for control of magic itself has reached a tipping point. For Redondo and the Order to survive, Joey must inherit the lost legacy of Harry Houdini. Will he prove himself worthy, or will the Invisible Hand strike him down? The answer will depend on Joey’s ability to believe, not just in magic, but in himself.




Matt Myklusch is the author of the Jack Blank Series. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons.


Comments are welcome below. I read them all and if time allows you might even get a response. (I received an ARC for my honest feedback).

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. BookCraic says:

    This sounds fascinating, and right up my street.

  2. I don’t read much fantasy, but this one sounds fun. Maybe I will check it out this summer. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Thank you for sharing this one for MMGM, Greg. I really like the cover art.

  4. Sue Heavenrich says:

    wow! this looks right up my alley!

  5. Looks good. 400 words does seem a little long, as long as it’s got a good climax and no saggy middle. Thanks for sharing!

  6. cschwanke2013 says:

    Yes, it does sound good, even at 400 pages. Our library system has a copy. Hooray!

  7. Andrea Mack says:

    Oh, books about magicians are always so interesting! Thanks for sharing this!

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