The Great Fox Illusion

Written by Justyn Edwards, cover illustration by Flavia Sorrentino

I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for the magical mystery ‘The Great Fox Illusion, by Justyn Edwards (@justynedwards). Check out the rest of the tour dates and accounts below:

Growing up, I remember watching a TV show called ‘Breaking The Magician’s Code’. A masked, silent chap would perform and tricks and then he’d break the Magician’s code: he’d show you exactly how the trick was performed. I distinctly remember one show, where he makes a tank disappear in front of a live audience, and the solution was frustratingly simple – as so many on the show were! I saw so much of this old classic threaded through Justyn Edwards’ debut book: The Great Fox Illusion.

The Great Fox Illusion starts with the passing of world-famous, masked illusionist ‘The Great Fox’. Following this, a competition is launched to finding successor in a televised Hunger Games / Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style competition hosted at Fox’s sprawling mansion. Contestants have to unpick a range of tricks to move on to the next stage, much like the magician in Breaking the Magician’s Code combined with Penn and Teller: Fool Us. I loved stumbling across each new trick, many of which I remember watching on telly or YouTube as I grew up, and reading about how they were done was really interesting!

Each contestant has their own reasons for entering and Flick Lions is a girl on a mission: where is her father, and what on earth is the Bell System?! Can she beat the competition without her motives or identity getting discovered? Will her chatterbox partner be a help or a hindrance? Will she uncover the mystery of the Great Fox’s mansion?

The Great Fox Illusion has a great Truman Show / Hunger Games / Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Amari and the Night Brothers vibe to it with a Penn and Teller style unpicking of tricks. Throw in a sassy elevator, a partner who just won’t stop talking and excellent exploration of unique family challenges and disability representation and the end result is a fun, pacey, action-packed adventure that has twists and turns you just won’t see coming!

Despite this being Justyn’s debut, he comes across as a mature and confident author. He’s managed to craft something unique and fun that I’d thoroughly recommend for Upper KS2 (Years 5 and 6), but a mature Year 4 could definitely handle it. I haven’t actually come across many books that unpick the world of Magicians, so this will add a great new genre to my bookshelves! It’s also left wide open for a sequel (or two!) and I really feel that this is the start of an exciting series.

It’s midnight, so it’s officially ice cream time. Crack out The Great Fox Illusion and your favourite ice cream and dig in!

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