Magic Mansion by Jordan Castillo Price ~ Book Review by Ulysses

Magic-MansionTitle: Magic Mansion

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Publisher: JCP Books

Cover Artist: JCP

Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 08/09/2012

Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)

Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance

Blurb:

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….

My View:

Magic Mansion is the truth wrapped in a lie. It is a romance set in the context of a television reality show involving a group of professional magicians in Los Angeles. It is, in short, a quirky, unlikely premise for a novel.

Unlike Jordan Castillo Price, I am not a fan of reality shows. Not since The Real World started in 1992 have I even tried to watch one. As far as I’m concerned, this sort of television brings out the worst in everybody concerned, both audience and on-screen participants; all of which simply ratchets up my deeply held distaste for the veiled homophobia and hypocrisy of Hollywood. So, you might think Magic Mansion would not be a book for me. And yet…it was, very much. Jordan Castillo Price is an author whose work I’ve long admired—through her marvelous Psycop series. Even as a fan of reality TV, Price is not blind to all of the negative aspects of the genre. She bares every unpleasant, phony, cheesy trick in the reality show playbook, and presents them in contrast to the main characters, Ricardo Hart and John Topaz. Because in these two men—one thirty-five and the other sixty-three (!)—abides love and truth. Smartly and subtly, Price makes these two men more fully three-dimensional than any other characters in the narrative. Their back-stories shape our perception of them, as does the idea that they both have real magic, which they refer to as Truth. And yet, for all this echo of paranormality, real magic doesn’t figure a great deal in the plot. It is, rather, used more potently as a metaphor for personal truth, for two men being proud of being gay in the face of a world (both in terms of Hollywood and their personal lives) that has punished them for their truth.

Price originally wrote this book as a serial, allowing her readers to eliminate characters as the story progressed much in the way viewers vote on reality shows. While this makes for a slightly choppy structure, it also gave a real ring of verisimilitude to the plot. It is never boring, often touching, and offers the reader insight into the world of both prestidigitators and of television producers.

Links

Magic Mansion on Goodreads
JCP Books
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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