Magic Mansion, by Jordan Castillo Price
Published: April 2012
Author’s Website: http://jordancastilloprice.com/magic/
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Professor Topaz is tired of fending off advice that he should retire in Vegas where magicians his age have an easier time finding work.
Ricardo Hart’s career has sunk so low, he’s resorted to shaking his moneymaker at bachelorette parties.
But there’s a casting call for a new reality show called Magic Mansion that could change everything for these two gay stage magicians, one recovering from the loss of his partner, and the other awe-struck by the presence of his idol. Each is poised for a critical second chance: at fame, and at love.
Who will win? Step into the Mansion, and find out…
This was a rare treat for me… one of the few works by Jordan Castillo Price that I haven’t read before! On the surface, it looks so different from the works she’s best known for; there are no paranormal creatures, no dark, gritty tone. Instead, it’s light-hearted, humorous. But look a little deeper, and you’ll see that this is pure Jordan: the characters are world-weary, complex, and there’s a hint of True Magic to tease you as you read.
My favorite part of this novel is the relationship between Ricardo and Topaz. There’s a significant age difference between them, and what starts as a teacher-student relationship (or a younger man idolizing an older one) slowly evolves into two men, both talented and brilliant, finding common ground between them. As Jordan puts it in the Afterword, “It was more about Ricardo being star-struck over meeting his idol, and having that idol in a position to reciprocate.” It’s an incredibly well-done relationship.
And though it was tempting to not only think “Professor Topaz,” but “Professor Topaz half-undressed from his tuxedo,” as strong hands raked down Ricardo’s sides, when a breath caught as their kiss deepened, mostly what Ricardo thought… was “John.”
There were a few times where I felt like my interest slipped while reading, scenes that didn’t quite work for me, but the secondary characters were also so ridiculously delightful that those moments passed quickly. Even the “bad guy” of the story is quirky and fun. It’s a big cast, but Jordan balances all of them really well.
An incredibly amusing and entertaining read! Jordan shows her versatility with Magic Mansion, proving that she can write humor and slow-build romance with as much skill as the paranormal action she’s so well-known for!
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.