If you're into mentalism with the most unique presentations to date, this is the book for you. It's
got drawing duplications [two of them], it's got element manipulation [moon, stars, whatever] and
the presentations in here is like reading a novel. This book is sure to do one thing: Bring meaning
and relevance to your performance. It's emotional and connects with your audience. Psychics have
found their relevance because they are emotional and personal, this book will accomplish just
that... making your magic emotional and personal.
Even if you find the magic/mentalism in
it to be too "situational" because much of it is performed outdoors, you will be inspired by the
presentation so much that you will adapt it to some stuff you're already doing. Five stars for this
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This book has slipped under the radar for most people I've talked to;
personally, I am thankful for that. This book is worth it's weight in gold (you figure that out with
gold prices the way they are).
The Garden of the Strange is not just another mentalism
book full of tricks you'll never use, it's a fantastic mentalism book full of tricks you'll never
By this point it's probably unclear as to why I have rated this so high if it's full
of tricks I'll never use; I'll get to that in a minute but first, let me describe my first reactions
to the book.
If I had not waited two months to write this review, I would have given it
maybe two stars and been thoroughly unimpressed with this book. The writing style is conceited and
can be construed as highly pretentious (which is a rather ironic word).
The tricks are
totally impractical if you're a walk around performer or for that matter, a platform performer and
by the end of the book I literally said out loud: "That's it?"
All of this however is why I
thoroughly enjoyed this book. As of late magic has gone through, in my opinion, a very generic
stage. Everything book seems to follow the same general pattern and all the tricks are guaranteed to
be tried and tested, packs flat and plays big; but, every once and a while, we should break away
from the generic tried and tested and mainstream magic and open up: The Garden of the Strange.
The tricks are not so much tricks but stories with magic added to create very powerful effects.
This book is not for everyone and the tricks are not for everyone but it's worth buying this book
just to read it, not for the tricks, but for the shear imagination and subtle genius of Caleb
The tricks, although tried and tested by Caleb are not guaranteed, and you will
not always be successful when performing these effects; but what's the fun in performing always
guaranteed effects with no risk? If you reach the point where you're performing with no risk of
failure whatsoever, you might as well put down your props and give up. There's no fun in performing
with no risk and if failure is an option, when the effect is completed correctly, your energy will
fill your entire audience.
Inside this book are 15-20 effects, each of which can be done as
described in the book. But, you must wait for the right moment to present itself or else the trick
will be nothing special. They are risky effects but the payoff is well worth the effort.
So, why buy this book if I myself even say the tricks are impractical?
I would not
recommend Garden of the Strange if you're just looking for easy tricks that take no practice or
performance skills and are guaranteed to work every time.
However,I would recommend this
book if you're willing to read between the lines of the general effects for performance subtleties.
I would recommend this book if you need inspiration; If you have lost that spark that keeps
all of us performing, this book will bring it back.
Finally, I would recommend this book if
you're looking to develop your presentation. Caleb's tricks work for him and are designed for him.
This book makes you think about who you are as a performer and develop tricks that work for you.
Trust me, upon reading the book you will be confused, but, when you finish the book
and think about the effects; then go back and read in between the lines, you will understand the
sheer and utter genius that the Garden of the Strange presents.
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If you need unique ideas for your show, read this book. (You remember...that rectangular thing
full of words?) This book is filled with the most unusual stories and magical ideas. A few stories
are quite improbable and so outlandish that they will inspire your mind to work overtime. Get out a
pen and paper or digital recorder to collect your thoughts as you read.
If you have any
glimmer of a pulse you WILL come up with a plethora of original material for your show. If the idea
of 'stories' bores you, remember this: "All patter is really just a storyline. Magicians have been
doing storytelling ever since they added patter to go with an effect!"
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