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michaelmystic2003
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HIGH SPOTS BY CALEB WILES

Description: A small volume of creative new card magic by previously unknown magician Caleb Wiles.

Review: After hearing so many appraisals for the new book by Caleb Wiles, my interest was peaked. Eventually, I bought the book and eageryl awaited its arrival. It has arrived. Does it live up to the hype? Read on.

I received a small, thin, attractive "booklet"... I call this a booklet because it barely passed 70 pages. It's a soft-cover, staple-bound book, with a beautiful looking cover. Very intriguing, modern, and visually appealing. But, we can't be judgung a book by its cover (did I use this line already in another review?).

Caleb Wiles is a math teacher and very skilled card magician, who's name was unknown until the publication of this book. Let me tell you, this couldn't have been a better introduction into the World of Wiles. So, without further ado, let's look at the material.

The book features 12 pieces, all using cards and all ungaffed... Caleb has published some excellent work and interesting new plots, and each effect is described exceptionally well. He even pays great attention to crediting, which is certainly admirable. Alright, now it's time to take a look at each effect in High Spots.

Off-Beat Aces: Three random, indifferent cards impossibly change into the three mates of a previously selected card with the aid of a pile of Jokers. The method here is as fun as the effect. This is clever, original thinking by Mr. Wiles and provides a magical, visually pleasing effect. My only issue: Once the aces are produced, it feels sort of like a dead end... nothing else happens, there is no kicker, which is odd for an effect with so much build-up to it (the procedures beforehand can be lengthy) but I'm sure someone somewhere will take it further. You've at least got to admire the thinking behind this effect. 8/10

ReSwindled: Oh yeah! By far my favourite effect from the book... even though I learned it before I even got the book (I learned it from MAGIC Magazine a while back). It has remained one of my favourite pieces to perform and I use it often. It gets incredibly strong reactions and has more magic in it than you could hide in Criss Angel's rectum. The kicker ending is so pleasing, overall the best version of Reset I've yet to learn. 10/10

26!: A version of the Sympathetic Cards plot... great stuff and explores the plot from some new angles. This is a great performance piece and can play for a good long time... it also has numerous climaxes and doesn't seem redundant, as some routines of this nature often do. Awesome effect! 9/10

Word Perfect: A turbo-charged version of Paul Harris' Deep Astonishment/Anything Deck. A freely selected card is found among a batch of cards by spelling to it with a word FREELY NAMED by the spectator... this can be any word. Then, as a kicker, it's revealed that the magician predicted the word the spectator would choose before they even began. This is an awesome version of a classic effect, one which was one of the strongest effects in my repertoire. This routine is the only one in the book that will require some simple gaffs, but if this is what you're into, it will be more than worth it. Me personally? I'll stick to my Anything Deck... for now. 8/10

Blackjack Be Quick: The deck is fairly and freely shuffled by a spectator numerous times... and the magician finds a blackjack hand (a jack and ace) almost instantly (literally in a second or less). This could be a very strong piece... I've used it a few times to good reaction, but I personally feel the set-up and shuffling procedures required make this effect not worth it. It's fun to play with, but ultimately I doubt many will use it. It's a lot of shuffling and build-up for such a small climax. 7/10

Crystal Cut: Not an effect, but a move... a utility. This is an extremely versatile and deceptive false cut. It's fancy, but not overly flourishy, which is good. It looks nice, looks like a real cut, and retains the entire deck. It can also act as a substitute to the Double Undercut with siome modifications (which are detailed in the instructions). I can see a lot of guys using this. It's easy, nice, and it works. 9/10

Little Fella Grows Up: It appears to be a demonstration in Second Dealing, and other false deals, with an awesome unexpected climax. I'm still working with this one. It's got some flaws, but is also very convincing and the ending alone is worth the effort. A lot of work has gone into this effect and its well worth your consideration. 8/10

iDeck: This is a piece I feel seriously needs work. It's an incredibly good, fun, and funny plot (a computerized deck with all sorts of features) and the phases are blended together well enough, but the whole thing feels a little bit disjointed to me. It jumps back and forth from "program to program" and the effect can be confusing if not handled right. This effect gets major points for such an awesome premise, but this feels half-finished to me. 6/10

Replicator: This is stated as a great follow-up to iDeck, and I agree... it follows a similar theme to iDeck and makes for a great finale. Essentially, the deck is infected with a "computer virus" (represented by a red-backed card). A spectator writes personal information on a freely selected card, and the virus is revealed to have stolen the information away (it's now impossibly printed on the virus card!). Then, in an attempt to quarantine the virus between two Jokers, something backfires and the virus infects the whole deck, changing the deck from blue to red! What a creative premise, and in my opinion, so much better than iDeck. I can see myself using this... it's fun, engaging, and relatable. 9/10

Semi-Automatic Luck Test: In lieu of Chad Long's Shuffling Lession, the spectator finds the four Aces and four Kings himself with a series of dealing, shuffling, and cutting. This is a great effect and, as the title states, nearly self-working. This involves the spectator in the biggest way and is a great handling of one of the best Spectator Finds The Aces effects ever devised. 7/10

Here-A-Move, There-A-Move, Everywhere-A-Move-Move: Despite the needlessly long title, this is an awesome packet effect. The effect begins as your good ol' Twisting the Aces, but takes a strange turn when the backs of each card start changing from blue to red, one by one. At the end, everything goes back to normal. There's even an optional kicker! I've been using this a fair bit... it's magical, reasonably easy to do, and has a lot of great visual magic packed within. The "kicker" ending can not always be done but when it can, it's strong... also, without the kicker, the cards cannot be examined... but, they are ungaffed. Need I say more? 9/10


As a whole, this is a volume of solid, sometimes innovative card magic by a rising star. Keep your eye on Caleb Wiles in the future... if he keeps releasing works as good as High Spots, the man will be an unstoppable force. On a scale of One to Ten, I rate Caleb Wiles' High Spots an 8/10. Pick this up as soon as possible... at merely $20, you can't go wrong.

You can purchase High Spots at http://www.vanishingincmagic.com

Michael Kras
Follow Michael Kras on Twitter! http://www.twitter.com/KrasMagic

Check out The Kras Change at Vanishing Inc Magic! http://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic-downloads/ebooks/kras-change/
Rpascual
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Atlanta, GA
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Thanks for the nice indepth review. Had not seen one before of this book.
Rpascual
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I received the booklet today. WOW IS ALL I CAN SAY. There are some great ideas in here.
Bill Hallahan
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This topic is continued at High Spots by Caleb Wiles.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
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