I am so grateful Ning Cai took time to read my book and write the following review about it !
In case you do not know Ning, let me first introduce her to you. As her bio reads, Ning is "a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist / escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician."
Not only does Ning writes, but she also reviews both books and magic items. You can find all her books, articles and much more on her website NingThing.com
And now, the complete review !
It's always such a pleasure when you find a gem amongst the rubble. All too often we're bombarded with magic products hastily pieced together by hungry magic creators out to make a quick buck, so it's such a breath of fresh air when a real working pro takes time to share some of his best card routines used that are not only highly entertaining and impressively clever, but also not difficult to master. Keep reading to find out more about one of magic's best kept secrets.
To preface things in case you're unaware, the author of Every Card You Take: I'll Be Watching You is a working magician who has been featured on Penn & Teller : Fool Us. You might remember him as the very clever Luxembourg magician who performed a highly entertaining and original matrix routine using Lego bricks back in 2020. All fifteen card routines featured in this book come directly from Sylvain Juzan's own professional repertoire and was written during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With over 80 pages of awesomeness (and I legitimately agree with Sylvain's tongue-in-cheek tagline "Card Magic That Rocks") all of these effects are equally entertaining as they are astonishing for the audience. There are photographs in full colour in this slim hardcover book and the writing is clear and concise. You will enjoy the clever thinking behind Sylvain's original work, especially if you are an intermediate or advance cardician who appreciates clever layers of mystery thinking.
Fellow music lovers and fans of Sting may recognise that the cover art for Every Card You Take : I'll Be Watching You has been cheekily designed as hommage to The Police's epic single "Every Breath You Take" that was, as everyone knows, a massive hit when the catchy tune first came out in the days before Spotify and YouTube. Sylvain touchs on this and why in his introduction (I won't give too much away but I completely agree about what he states about the fascinating aspect regarding inner duality regarding this hit song and good magic) which follows a very glowing foreword by none other but the man himself, Michael Close.
With veteran sleight of hands heavyweights like Michael Close and John Bannon putting their name and reputation to this project, you know you are guaranteed that Every Card You Take isn't one of those run of the mill magic projects that's been quickly slapped together for a quick buck. After reading it cover to cover, it is very obviously a passion project by a highly inteligent and adpet card magician who has a playful sense of wit and humour that I personally enjoy.
I like them all because none of them are the typical "shut up and watch me do magic" card tricks but a few favourites of mine would be Mimic Me If You Can, Touchdown Prophecy, Dynamite, as well as the "bonus track" (such a smart idea from this very clever and witty Sylvain) Spelling Business. I wholeheartedly agree with what Ondrej Psenicka (Prague magician, fellow Penn & Teller : Fool Us alum, and father of everybody's Butterfly Cards) blurbed - if you are like him (and yours truly) where you love music and magic, Sylvain's book is about both and is full of catchy originals and clever covers. I loved it and actually read it twice, cover to cover. If you can master some of his features underground sleights like the Bilis Extraction Move (attributed to French magician Bernard Bilis), you'll have another diabolical tool in your arsenal as a card magician !
10/10 Would recommend Every Card You Take by Sylvain Juzan, especially to the discerning magician looking to advance their skills and knowledge in card magic using an impressive mix of sleight of hand, gaff cards, equivoke, and mathematical principles that have intellectual and emotional aspects which really draw the audience in. With these highly involved interactive magic pieces, yours spectators will be sure to remember you fondly and ask for you again. Bravo Sylvain ! I absolutely loved your entertaining performance on Penn & Teller : Fool Us and loved your book even more. I personally can't wait to check out you future projects but please don't wait for another pandemic to start writing !