This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.
This was a fun book in the end. it got off to a bit of a slow start for me when I realized that almost half of the book was taken up with information about staging a magic act rather than magic tricks. I started to wonder how many tricks there could be in the remaining few pages at this rate, but in the end there was a bunch of them, and while many of them are really for a young performer, and one of them was the same card trick twice, just done in a slightly different way, some of them are quite sneaky and sophisticated, so overall, I think this is a winner.
The tricks are varied and are explained by means of written instructions augmented by photographs, so in general it's clear what's happening. The trick section of the book opens with a discussion of basics covering card, coin, and 'mind reading' as well as magician's tools and troubleshooting - always good to have handy! It then lays out the tricks in three sections: openers, middles, and finales. Good to be organized!
The tricks themselves are fun. The openers include producing four aces out of a shuffled pack, reading your subject's pulse (not really - that's the illusion!), a body illusion, a vanishing pen - a neat and simple trick which is relatively easy to do with little practice. Once you've mastered that, you can also master the cut and restored shoelace trick! There is a total of ten tricks in the 'openers' section.
In the 'middles' are eleven more tricks, including the lie detector(!), jumping rings, stacked kings, pencil through a banknote, and how to make a coin appear to enter a sealed drink can! Yes, it can be done with some practice and trickery! 'Finales' brings a further nine tricks, including prediction and the always amazing cup-and-ball trick, with a surprise! In short, there is some thirty tricks here, ranging from simple, but effective, to rather more complex, but nothing that a willing child cannot do with some dedication and lots of practice. That's the real secret here: practice until you're confident, and once you master one trick, others will come a lot easier.
It doesn't matter whether you're planning on putting on a 'professional show' or you just want to learn some neat tricks to impress your friends and family, there is something here for all occasions. It's all about misdirection and illusion, and with some reading and practice, you can emulate the professionals. I commend this as a fun, worthy, and education read!