I saw The Illusionists perform Wednesday night in Chicago!
Harry Houdini is one of my favorite historical figures and when Andrew Basso performed Houdini’s water torture cell trick, Basso may have been the one under water, but I was the one who couldn’t breathe. Basso’s performance alone made the night worth it.
Because, if you notice, there’s something missing from this line up. It becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly that all the Illusionists are men. Nearly every performer made at least one sexist comment or joke, ranging from literally calling the performance a “boy’s club”, to joking about women being liars.
With the tagline “Witness the Impossible”, we implicitly understand that men do the impossible. Women…just don’t? Women…just aren’t there? But, oh, that’s right! Women are magicians’ assistants! Silly me.
Well, here are a few books that say otherwise. Here are a few books where women are the magicians. It’s in these pages where you’ll truly witness the impossible. Time to get reading!
The Magician’s Lie (Greer Macallister, 2015)
Part Vaudevillian historical fiction, part mystery, peek behind the curtain as The Amazing Arden (birth name Ada Taylor) saws her husband in half. Except this stage trick could be more real than the audience imagines, when Arden’s husband is found dead beneath the stage.
The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern, 2011)
Two magicians pit their students against each other in a game of competing schools of magic. The Circus becomes the arena as the two students–Celia and Marco–struggle to understand the game they’re forced to play and the rules which will determine who wins and survives. But as they compete, the two fall in love and must determine how to stop the game, at all costs.
Though, I did not enjoy this book (read a full review on The Night Circus here) Celia Bowen is an illusionist to stop all other illusionists. She is no one’s assistant.
Born of Illusion (Teri Brown, 2013)
Anna Van Housen is more than a standard illusionist; she is the illegitimate daughter of Houdini. Combine that fact with her ability to see the future, and you have a magic story that goes way beyond the stage. Did I mention I adore Harry Houdini? Of course this paranormal YA novel (the first book in a series) made this list.
Know any other fictional female magicians? Let me know below! Until then, enjoy this footage of real female escapologist Kristen Johnson (AKA Lady Houdini).