Author: Chris Moriarty
Series: Inquisitor's Apprentice (Book 1)
Publication: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
Description: The day Sacha found out he could see witches was the worst day of his life . . .
Being an Inquisitor is no job for a nice Jewish boy. But when the police learn that Sacha Kessler can see witches, he’s apprenticed to the department’s star Inquisitor, Maximillian Wolf. Their mission is to stop magical crime. And New York at the beginning of the twentieth century is a magical melting pot where each ethnic group has its own brand of homegrown witchcraft, and magical gangs rule the streets from Hell’s Kitchen to Chinatown.
Soon Sacha has teamed up with fellow apprentice Lily Astral, daughter of one of the city’s richest Wall Street Wizards—and a spoiled snob, if you ask Sacha. Their first case is to find out who’s trying to kill Thomas Edison.
Edison has invented a mechanical witch detector that could unleash the worst witch-hunt in American history. Every magician in town has a motive to kill him. But as the investigation unfolds, all the clues lead back to the Lower East Side. And Sacha soon realizes that his own family could be accused of murder!
My Thoughts: Sacha Kessler is an immigrant, Jewish boy living in the tenements in this alternate New York City about the year 1900. His New York is divided into all the various ethnic groups each with their own varieties of magic. The Wizards of Wall Street really are wizards. In fact, J. P. Morgaunt would like to control all the magic and make all but his illegal. He is the villain of the story.
When Sacha shows an unexpected magical ability he is apprenticed to Inquisitor Wolf of the New York Police who is tasked with controlling magical usage in the city. Lily Astral is also chosen as an apprentice. The two kids couldn't have less in common. Lily is the very rich daughter of the most well known social hostess in New York.
The first case that the apprentices accompany Wolf on is an assassination attempt on Thomas Edison who is portrayed as an inventor who is also a publicity hound and who has invented a way to detect magic. Wolf and Sacha see it is the first attempt to find all magic users, regulate them, and maybe even deport them.
The story gave a really good picture of what life was like for the immigrant Jews around 1900, if you discount the magic. I liked the world building that the author did about a turbulent time in New York City. I liked the way Sacha really only knew his way around his own small neighborhood and seldom went to the parts of town where the Irish or the Italians settles. Harry Houdini and Teddy Roosevelt are also characters in this story.
Fans of alternate history will enjoy this story.
"That's ridiculous!" Lily used that word a lot, Sacha noticed. Usually about people who didn't agree with her.I bought this one in 2011. You can buy your copy here.