Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson _ Book Review

Amazon | Goodreads

The Prestige meets What If It’s Us in Before We Disappear, a queer ahistorical fantasy set during the 1909 Seattle Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition, where the two assistants of two ambitious magicians find themselves falling in love amidst a bitter rivalry designed to tear them apart.

Jack Nevin’s clever trickery and moral flexibility have served him well his entire life—making him the perfect assistant to the Enchantress, one of the most well-known stage magicians in early-twentieth-century Europe. Without Jack’s steady supply of stolen tricks and copycat sleight-of-hand illusions, the Enchantress’s fame would have burned out long ago—not that she would ever admit it.

But when they’re forced to flee the continent for America, the Enchantress finds a new audience in Seattle at the 1909 Alaska–Yukon–Pacific World’s Fair Exposition. She and Jack are set to make a fortune until a new magician arrives on the scene. Performing tricks that defy the imagination, Laszlo’s act threatens to overshadow the Enchantress and co-opt her audience. Jack has no choice but to hunt for the secrets behind Laszlo’s otherworldly illusions—but what he uncovers isn’t at all what he expected.

What makes Laszlo’s tricks possible is, unbelievably, a boy that can seemingly perform real magic. Wilhelm’s abilities defy all the laws of physics. His talents are no clever sleights-of-hand. But even though Laszlo and Wilhelm’s act threatens to destroy the life Jack and the Enchantress have built, Jack and Wilhelm have near-instant connection. As the rivalry between the Enchantress and Laszlo grows increasingly dangerous and dire, Jack finds he has to choose between the woman who gave him a life and the boy who is offering him love. It’s a new star-crossed romance about the magic of first love from acclaimed author Shaun David Hutchinson.

[I received a digital arc for an honest review]

But something brought us together. Maybe it was magic.”

Before We Disappear is a new YA novel by author Shaun David Hutchinson. With a historical setting, queer love, and a little bit of magic it’s a story that captivates.

Set during the 1909 Seattle Exposition, two magician assistants find love. Jack is a pickpocket and can figure out any magic trick. He was saved from life on the streets by the magicians known as the Enchantress. He has never imagined life not being her assistant until he meets Wilhelm. Wilhelm is different from any of other boy he’s ever met and happens to be the assistant to a rival magician. When he finds out Wilhelm is not willingly his magicians assistant he makes it his mission to set him free. Jack has to rely on those around him to help him save Wilhelm and like most magic tricks there’s a chance nothing goes according to plan.

I don’t want to go too into detail about the book and it’s characters because I struggled to even write the synopsis summary without spoilers lol I will say that our two hero’s stole my heart. I loved watching Jack and Wilhelm build trust with each other and a friendship that turned to love. Both boys are controlled in different ways by the adults in their lives, Wilhelm’s being more severe and horrible than Jacks, but they find solace in each others company. I appreciated getting both of their point of views and being able to really feel the connection between them. Their romance is sweet, slightly cheesy at times, and innocent with excited kisses and dreams of a future together. I also loved the historical setting of the 1909 Exposition, and the author taking the liberties to make it a safe place for his characters to exists no matter who they love or the color of their skin.

Before We Disappear
 is my first time reading Shaun David Hutchinson’s writing, and I really enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to read future releases by him. This is a great YA queer story with diverse characters, emotion, magic and a happy ending.

Content Warning: Physical and mental abuse by an adult to a minor.

—Written by Amanda—

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s