REVIEW: Card Devilry by J.K. Hartman
RATING: 9.5 out of 10
LINK TO REVIEW: http://straighttalkmagicreviews.com/carddevilry/
FULL REVIEW: Card Devilry is J.K. Hartman’s 14th (and perhaps final) card magic book in which he teaches a significant amount, both in terms of quality and quantity. At $35, this book is a steal. It is published by Vanishing Inc., designed by its’ co-founder Andi Gladwin, illustrated by Tony Dunn and proofread by several others including Vanishing Inc. co-founder, Joshua Jay.
The book itself is a high quality product with heavy paper stock and a quality hard cover. The book measures 6 by 9 inches and is 280 pages long. Between the covers it boasts 60 tricks, each with many beautifully hand-drawn illustrations (over 350 in the book) to accompany the explanatory text.
The Card Devilry is broken up into 5 chapters; Handiworks, Heavy Mental, Stacked and Stunning, Gaffed by Half, and Spirited Moves. The various chapters teach tricks that can be done impromptu and some that require a set-up with a stacked deck. Some of the tricks are hybrid card magic/mentalism effect (see Heavy Mental) and others used gaffed cards as I am sure you can tell from the chapter names. The final chapter teaches fives moves for the cardician.
This book is not for beginners or for those looking for self-working card tricks the likes of which you can find in any John Bannon publication (there is a Bannon take on a Chris Mayhew trick inside the pages. See Trap and Trade. And also a take on a Bannon trick, Perfect Strangers, called Strange But Perfect). This is a book for students of card magic and those that enjoy employing sleight of hand. In fact, as Hartman explains in the Introduction, he assumes that you already know several moves that are needed for the various tricks as he wrote “The book assumes a knowledge of standard sleights (among the Half Pass which is used extensively), although more specialized moves are explained in full, perhaps excessively so.” Hartman has a listing of “Sleight Described in Context” which list the various sleights and the tricks they are used in i.e. All-around Square-up, Braue Reversal, Cut Pass, Drop Half Pass, Indicator Force, Jordan Count Substitute, Push-In Change Finesse, Transfer Glimpse and Zarrow Block Addition to name just a few.
Many of the tricks reference other magician’s for inspiration or foundation such as Dai Vernon, Marlo, Jennings, Dr. Daley, Jerry Mentzer, Paul Curry and many others. Some of the tricks are improvement on earlier published tricks and some of the effects use a similar method but are tweaked for different performances.
I believe that to get the most out of this book you will need months to read, review and digest all the fantastic material contained in the short chapters. Each trick does not take long to read, most being described and explained in only a few short pages with illustrations. There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it in.
This book is a gift to the magic community and for those seeking to expand their horizons.