Horten’s Incredible Illusions
by Lissa Evans
After finishing the first Horten book (Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms), I was excited to start the second one, Horten’s Incredible Illusions. As expected, it was just as cute and clever as the first. I think I actually liked this one a little better. I already loved the characters and it was a little easier of a plot to follow. I especially loved the ending.
We find Horten right where we left off. He found his great uncle’s magical workshop and his 5 illusions, along with a metal star. The local museum takes in the illusions to make an exhibition out of them and the curator makes Horten a junior curator, putting him in charge of making plaques with descriptions. The only problem is that Horten doesn’t know what each illusion does, so he enlists April and they get to work. Spoilers: they figure out the pattern: they must learn how each illusion works, then find a star indentation to place the star, they magically get transported to a different place and must solve a puzzle in order to return home. Each time, the star loses a limb, and after each puzzle is solved a letter appears. The goal is to find each letter in order to find Tony Horten’s will (whoever finds it will be the owner of the illusions). The puzzles get more complex until in the second to last one, April and her sisters get left behind. In the last one, Horten must solve the final puzzle in order to rescue the 3 girls and Uncle Tony’s dog. It gets down to the last second, but Horten does it (and grows an inch and a half in the process). While all this is going on, Horten gets calls from a mysterious old lady who wants to buy the illusions after Horten finds the will and becomes the legal owner. She wants to make him exceedingly wealthy, which is very tempting. When he and April finish putting together all the letters from the illusions, they find the will in the Wishing Well and take it out together in order to be co-owners. The old lady’s lawyer confides in them, explaining that her client’s great grandmother wanted her to buy them, melt them down, and put them at the base of a statue of herself (the great grandmother was the Mayor from the first book). Once this is clear, April and Horten refuse to sell, instead giving the illusions to an up and coming magician (Clifford, the one who was duped into taking magic class after class by the Mayor in the first book). Because of their generosity, Clifford and his lighting assistant, Elaine (who is soon to be his wife) go on to have great success in their magic act! It is such a sweet, cute ending and a very fun and clever plot. I really loved it!
Summing it up: I highly recommend this cute, clever book, especially if you read the first one!
All the best, Abbey