Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass (Magickeepers Series #1)

Overview

Nick Rostov's life is borderline embarrassing.

His dad is well known as the worst magician in Las Vegas. Nick hasn't had a real friend in years. And his report card is not good at all. One F. Two Cs. One B-minus. And an A. In Health. But on Nick's thirteenth birthday his life changes forever. Awaking on the top floor of the world famous Winter Palace Hotel and Casino, he meets, for the fi rst time, his extended family. A family gifted with the power of magic, real magic, exiled ...

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Overview

Nick Rostov's life is borderline embarrassing.

His dad is well known as the worst magician in Las Vegas. Nick hasn't had a real friend in years. And his report card is not good at all. One F. Two Cs. One B-minus. And an A. In Health. But on Nick's thirteenth birthday his life changes forever. Awaking on the top floor of the world famous Winter Palace Hotel and Casino, he meets, for the fi rst time, his extended family. A family gifted with the power of magic, real magic, exiled from their native Russia, they now hide in plain sight among the neon lights of the Casino.

All members of the family are powerful magicians, but Nick is unique. Nick has the sight—the ability to see into the past. His gift is the only way to unravel the mystery of the Eternal Hourglass, a magic artifact so strong it can even stop time. But the family's enemies will stop at nothing to get it. Nick knows that he is in for the adventure of a lifetime… if he survives.

The one and only Harry Houdini was killed for it, the most powerful magicians have battled for centuries to retrieve it, and even the Ancient Pharoahs feared its power.

What would you do for an hourglass that stopped time?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Kirov sends the Magickeepers series off to a promising start with this adventure starring a boy whose life takes a dramatic turn on his 13th birthday. Gazing into a crystal ball at a magic shop, Nick, who lives with his father in a Las Vegas hotel, discovers he can see into the past and then learns that his late mother belonged to a family of powerful Russian magicians dating back to ancient Egypt. Nick is taken in by her eccentric kin, who train him to perform in their elaborate magic show at an enchanted casino. The intricate, well-paced plot involves ancient spells and riddles, historical figures including Rasputin and Harry Houdini, and sinister Shadowkeepers seeking precious talismans, including the crucial ingredient of an hourglass that can stop time. Readers will hear intermittent echoes of another young hero with a magical legacy who is targeted by dark villains (in the magicians' casino, images in paintings move, Hogwarts-style). Still, with dashes of Russian culture and language, Kirov's story feels plenty original, and kids will be charmed by her brand of magic. Ages 9-up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.\
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–As the son of a third-rate stage magician, Nick is familiar with theatrical illusions. On his 13th birthday, however, he discovers that magic is real. He learns that he is one of the ancient Magickeepers, charged with finding and guarding arcane artifacts from the evil Shadowkeepers. Apprenticed to Las Vegas star magician–and chief Magickeeper–Damian, Nick moves into the clan’s palatial casino headquarters to begin his training. Although he is impressed by their opulent lifestyle, he feels a bit cramped by the family’s almost obsessive devotion to their tsarist Russian heritage–formal dress, caviar crepes instead of cheeseburgers, and no TV or video games. Nick’s talent as a Gazer enables him to see into the past. Rasputin, their most powerful enemy, has spent nearly a century hunting the secret to the Eternal Hourglass, a mystical relic with the power to stop time. Now they find that the mad monk and his Shadowkeepers are in Vegas, and he knows that Nick has the key. As the first in a projected series, the book devotes considerable space to background about the Magickeepers and their nefarious rivals. While these passages occasionally slow the pacing, the action is generally suspenseful and the historical references add to the atmosphere. Nick’s efforts to introduce the family to American-style food and activities add a touch of humor to the proceedings.–Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL\
Kirkus Reviews
Though grounded in Russian history and stocked with the customary swords, magical artifacts, a prophecy and shadowy foes, this fantasy earns style points for being set in modern Las Vegas-in a hotel whose residents include polar bears, giant Siberian tigers and Princess Anastasia herself. To this hotel comes 13-year-old Nick Rostov, discovering to his amazement that his dad may be just a second-rate stage magician, but the horde of cousins on his dead mother's side are real ones, hiding in plain sight as performers in a world-renowned show that uses actual magic. Nick turns out to be a powerful spellcaster-good thing too, as the Magickeepers are locked in a struggle for power with a clan of Shadowkeepers lead by none other than the cruel, scary Rasputin. Female characters seem bland next to the colorful, distinctive males, but everyone has active roles to play, and Kirov gets Nick through the climactic confrontation on quick wits as much as magical talent. A pleaser for fans of Michael Scott's Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. (Fantasy. 11-13)\
Library Media Connection
This is a fun action story, moving quickly and easily through adventures and magic... which helps reluctant readers.
— Kendra Friday
From the Publisher
"A pleaser for fans of Michael Scott's Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. " - Kirkus

"This is a fun action story, moving quickly and easily through adventures and magic... which helps reluctant readers." - Library Media Connection

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402238550
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Magickeepers Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 610L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 7.16 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Erica Kirov is an American writer of Russian descent. Though she is not from a family of magicians, she is from a proud family of Russians, and she grew up hearing stories of their lives there.

Erica lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, three dogs, parrot, and her son's snake (she really hates snakes). She is busy at work on the next Magickeepers novel.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from the Prologue

Princess Theatre, Montreal, Canada, 1926

The mysterious man in the black wool cloak sat in the front row of the Princess Theatre, precisely in the center seat. He set his top hat on his knees, and his rough beard straggled down, like a bird's nest after a storm. The man waited for the finale of the show, speaking to no one, not even his companion. Instead, he stared intently with pale, magnetic eyes as the most famous magician in the world, Harry Houdini, announced his next trick from the stage.

"Ladies and gentlemen, introducing my original invention, the Water Torture Cell."

As the audience hushed, Houdini, short and muscular with a head of dark hair and wearing a simple black bathing suit, was draped in chains by his wife, Bess. A policeman from the audience was brought onstage wearing a dapper uniform, badge gleaming under the spotlights. Holding up his own handcuffs, the policeman pulled Houdini's arms behind his back and clapped the cuffs on tightly, checking them several times before nodding. The chains wrapped around Houdini's body were heavy and clinked and rattled with every move he made. Finally, two huge padlocks were attached to the chains and locked dramatically with shining brass keys.

Slowly, the magician was lifted—upside down—and suspended over the glass torture chamber filled to the top with ice-cold water. Bess signaled, and Houdini was lowered until his head almost touched the beckoning water.

Bess told the crowd, "Take one last breath with the master, Houdini, and see how long you can hold it."

The crowd inhaled as one. Houdini filled his lungs with air—one last breath—and was lowered into the water, first his head, neck, then body, and finally his feet, before Bess fastened the top. The chamber was not big enough for Houdini to turn around in. A thick curtain was drawn. An hourglass was overturned.

"He must emerge before this sand runs out," Bess announced to the crowd. "Or he will drown."

Not one whisper could be heard in the theater. Patrons in fur coats and fancy theater dress leaned forward, women in plumage and jewels knotted their hands together anxiously. The man in the cloak heard people exhaling around him as they gasped for breath. He watched the sands trickling, as if he were somehow counting each grain. Now, as the sands ran down inside the hourglass, members of the audience murmured. Someone near the man in the cloak whispered, "It's impossible to hold your breath that long. They must free him."

"It's been two minutes!" Bess exclaimed from the stage, panic in her voice. "He cannot survive."

Bess parted the curtain, revealing Houdini struggling wildly with his shackles. Frantically, she closed the curtain and ran for the safety ax, ready to smash the glass and free her beloved husband from the throes of death. She raised the ax as the audience gasped in horror.

The man in the cloak saw those around him frozen at the edge of their seats as if statues. Seconds passed. The curtain rose.

The Water Torture Cell was empty.

At that moment, a dripping wet and smiling Houdini was revealed, standing atop the torture cell, arms raised above his head in triumph.

The crowd in the Princess Theatre rose to their feet as if they were one, stamping and clapping their approval, whistles and shouts of "Bravo!" ringing through the theater. But not the man in the cloak with the icy eyes. He stared, not at Houdini, but at the hourglass that had sifted the sparkling sand. He could see the lettering etched along its gold-rimmed top.

His companion leaned close to him and whispered in his ear, "Is that it, Master?"
The man in the cloak nodded, his eyes narrow with fury. "Yes."
"Now what?"
"We must do whatever it takes."

Eight days later, Harry Houdini, revered showman, the most famous magician ever to have lived, was dead.

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Table of Contents

Prologue

1. A Less-Than-Stellar Birthday Report Card
2. A Gift, the Gift
3. The All-You-Can-Ask Buffet
4. The Family Tree
5. This Can't Be Breakfast?!
6. Revelations and Advertisements
7. Just a Dip in the Pool
8. Some Answers and a Return
9. A Pair of Vaults
10. A Horse of Gold
11. Grandpa's Triumphant Return
12. Accelerated Training
13. A Great Deal on a Dancing Bear!
14. Who Sneaks into a Library During the Summer?
15. An Unlikely Meeting
16. Sometimes All You Need Is a Little Push
17. An Imperial History Lesson
18. Some Questions Are Better Left Unanswered
19. Houdini's Last Trick
20. A Bargain Struck
21. A Mother's Choice
22. A Rose of a Different Hue
23. The Key and the Egg
24. "Awesome"
25. Fire, Water, Wind, and Sand
26. No Going Back
27. A Prince Rises

About the Author

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fast and Fun.

    This was an interesting book packed with historical facts (some spot on and others tweaked to fit the book). The author mixes fiction and nonfiction in an engaging way. I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next one. Nick is a fantastic main character, this book is a must read for the Harry Potter fan.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Kira M for Teens Read Too

    Son of a theatrical magician, Nick is familiar with parlor and magical illusion that can appear as magic. On his 13th birthday, though, he awakens on the top floor of the Winter Palace Hotel and Casino only to meet, for the first time, his extended family. Exiled from Russia, these real magicians hide in plain sight among the neon lights of the casino. He learns that he has the gift of sight - the ability to see into the past. He also finds out that he is one of the ancient Magickeepers, charged with finding and guarding arcane artifacts from the evil Shadowkeepers. Apprenticed to Las Vegas star magician and chief Magickeeper Damian, Nick moves into the clan's palatial casino headquarters to begin his training, feeling cramped by their Tsarist lifestyle. When the family finds out that Rasputin, their most powerful enemy - who after half a century of hunting for the secret to the Eternal Hourglass is in Las Vegas - big trouble starts brewing. Believing that Nick holds the secret key to the Hourglass, Rasputin will stop at nothing to get what he wants so that he can stop time and fulfill his evil plans. Using his magic to see into the past, Nick must find a way to unravel the mystery of the Eternal Hourglass and stop Rasputin. Can he get a handle on his own powers in time to save his family and the world? THE ETERNAL HOURGLASS is a well-paced, fun fantasy adventure. The characters are well-developed, and the intermixed magic is well-crafted. The plot is intense and holds the reader's interest from start to finish. Readers who like fantasy, adventure, and mystery will all enjoy this one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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