Magic has all but disappeared in Brooklyn, but one tenacious young magician is determined to bring it back in this exciting middle grade mystery.
Twelve-year-old Kingston has just moved from the suburbs back to Echo City, Brooklyn—the last place his father was seen alive. Kingston’s father was King Preston, one of the world’s greatest magicians. Until one trick went wrong and he disappeared. Now that Kingston is back in Echo City, he’s determined to find his father.
Somehow, though, when his father disappeared, he took all of Echo City’s magic with him. Now Echo City—a ghost of its past—is living up to its name. With no magic left, the magicians have packed up and left town and those who’ve stayed behind don’t look too kindly on any who reminds them of what they once had.
When Kingston finds a magic box his father left behind as a clue, Kingston knows there’s more to his father’s disappearance than meets the eye. He’ll have to keep it a secret—that is, until he can restore magic to Echo City. With his cousin Veronica and childhood friend Too Tall Eddie, Kingston works to solve the clues, but one wrong move and his father might not be the only one who goes missing.
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What lengths would you be willing to go in order to find a missing loved one? Would you defy those still aching from profound loss? Would you throw yourself and others into uncharted danger? Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found by Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi is an enchanting and heartfelt Urban Fantasy tale best characterized by its authenticity. An account of unwavering determination and resolve, readers follow a young boy’s hunt to find his father who disappeared years prior, regardless of the excuses and reasoning consistently tossed his way. Although ticketed as a story for younger readers, it’s easy for all ages to get swept along on this journey for the truth, filled to the brim with coded secrets, peril, and magical ongoings.
At the heart of this tale lies a family torn asunder by the disappearance of a loved one. Each member of the James family is coping with heartache in their own way, whether by jumping straight into the frying pan, secretly working behind closed doors, or just hoping that moving on will dull the pain. The story is told through the eyes of Kingston, a 12-year-old boy who can see there’s more than meets the eye, and he makes it his mission to find out what lies beyond the veil. Returning to his old haunt in Echo City after years away, he’s drawn to where the lives of so many changed. With his snarky cousin and enthusiastic childhood friend in tow, King perfectly portrays the reckless abandon of youth when one sets their mind to something they deeply believe in. While I can’t condone his actions for endangering himself and his companions, King’s courage is surely something special to behold.
As mentioned, this story takes place in Echo City, Brooklyn, a neighborhood with a rich and exciting history, but one that has suffered the sands of time. Once-grand theaters lie in broken ruin, mom-and-pop and novelty shops forced to close their doors, the authors bring the setting to life in such a beautiful and tangible way, making it an entity in and of itself. The inclusion of the history of magic, especially shining the spotlight on actual historical figures within the black community I’ve personally never learned about, only adds to the depth and charm of the city built around us. There are secrets and mysteries tucked away in all the nooks and crannies – we get but a taste of what Echo City has to offer, and I’d love to learn more.
The concept that real magic exists is the basis of this book’s entire plot, and while the majority lives in denial, King refuses to give in. I don’t want to give away too much here, but I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the magic system, which pivots this story into the realm of Sci-Fi; the idea that there exists an inter-dimensional space is something I wasn’t expecting, but I truly appreciated its inclusion. The inner-workings do become a bit complex, but the authors develop and describe everything in a way that allows readers to visualize, making it easier for all the puzzle pieces to fall into place.
Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found is a story that immediately piqued my interest once it was brought to my attention, and I’m thrilled I was given the chance to read this one early. It’s an easily accessible narrative told with modern flair, but still holds onto the allure and charm of the past with a feeling of nostalgia, especially for older readers. While the book does have a bit of a slow build-up, the realities of this alternate version of our own world come to light in an explosive and poignant way, with a depth I honestly wasn’t expecting. If you’re looking to bring a little bit of magic back into your life, I highly suggest you give this one a try. I’m very much looking forward to more magical adventures throughout Echo City alongside Kingston.
Note: A huge thank you to the author, publisher, and Megan Beatie for providing me with a complementary advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rucker Moses is the pen name of Craig S. Phillips and Harold Hayes Jr.
They both hail from Atlanta and started telling stories together at the University of Georgia. Together, they’ve been nominated for three Emmys for writing in a children’s program and have written for TV shows based on books by R. L. Stine and Christopher Pike.
They also make virtual reality experiences and own a production company named SunnyBoy Entertainment. In no particular order, their favorite things to write about are ninjas, magic, space, and abandoned amusement parks. When not doing all that, they are hanging with their wonderful families at home in Los Angeles.
Theo Gangi is a novelist and writing teacher based in Brooklyn. He’s written several acclaimed novels and short stories, and he’s worked on shows for Netflix. He writes far-out adventures that happen right next door. He directs the MFA program at St. Francis College and lives with his wife, young son and their dog. Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found is his first book for young readers.