The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein

The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein
Published by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Pages: 198
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble
Add to: Goodreads

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Winner of the 1983 American Book Award, The Red Magician was an immediate classic.
On the eve of World War II, a wandering magician comes to a small Hungarian village prophesying death and destruction. Eleven-year-old Kicsi believes Vörös, and attempts to aid him in protecting the village.
But the local rabbi, who possesses magical powers, insists that the village is safe, and frustrates Vörös's attempts to transport them all to safety. Then the Nazis come and the world changes.
Miraculously, Kicsi survives the horrors of the concentration camp and returns to her village to witness the final climactic battle between the rabbi and the Red Magician, the Old World and the New.
The Red Magician is a notable work of Holocaust literature and a distinguished work of fiction, as well as a marvelously entertaining fantasy that is, in the end, wise and transcendent.


Kicsi is a young girl on the cusp of becoming a teenager. She lives in a small village full of family and is a devout Hebrew. The man with the most authority in their village seems to be their local rabbi, who seems more interested in maintaining is own power and sense of worth than actually helping the community. This is evident from the way he deals with the local school that insists on teaching the children Hebrew. Upset that the school refuses to stop their instruction, and upset that the families refuse to leave the school, the rabbi places a curse on the school. Apparently, being a very wise Jewish leader means you are also a magician in this world as we see the same is true when a stranger named Voros comes to town. Voros is a red haired magician who is wise and well versed in Hebrew lore. He lifts the curse placed by the rabbi, but gains him as an enemy. In the backdrop of all of this is WW2 which soon comes to the forefront when soldiers appear at Kicsi’s door.

Readers go into it thinking the red magician will be the main character, or the focus, yet they might be disappointed to find that it is Kicsi that runs the story. She propels all of the events and Voros, the magician, is merely a secondary character that appears when Kicsi’s need is great, almost like a deux ex machina. This was a very interesting book, though the cover makes it seem much more mysterious than it is, and the synopsis makes it sound much more action packed than it is. The Red Magician is a solid, well written book that should do very well with the ten to fifteen year old crowd. It’s a superficial introductory look into the horrors of the Holocaust which have been muted for the target audience.


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