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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Review of Card Delusions - Ryan Matney (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Matt Adams
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I took notes on Ryan's effects as I worked my way through the book. I’m very technically minded so little things like formatting are a big deal to me while they may not be as big of a deal to others.

Ryan gave me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I thought about several ways to present my information including funny titles like “the good, the bad, and the ugly” but I felt that would be a bit unfair since I really enjoyed Ryan’s work as a whole and there were only a few real complaints.
So let me just forgo any cleverness, dive in and share some details.

Admittedly, I wasn't familiar with Ryan's work before reading Card Delusions. I liked his intro explaining his own personal growth over time. This book updates some of his previous thinking. It also revises some older tricks he has published in the past. Apparently all but two are published elsewhere - so if you own everything Ryan has put out previously, you may not get a lot of new info from this volume. But if you don't know Ryan or don’t own much of his other work, this is an excellent starting point.

Firstly, let me give some overall comments. My edition is the second printing. The first was July 2015. The second was Oct 2015. Unfortunately, he reprinted the book to “correct layout and typos” but the layout went awry about a third of the way through the book. The titles were not printed on the correct pages, but the book got back on track towards the final third. This is just one trouble with self-publication. While some consider it a little thing, it gives any reader the impression of “oh well…too bad.”

Secondly, there were no page numbers. This made finding effects very difficult if you were merely referencing the index.
As far as “overall complaints” that about sums it up. But as far as “overall compliments,” I loved the work. It often had the feel of self-working card tricks but some of them were certainly foolers. I felt the effects generally got stronger as the book progressed. Perhaps it was simply my warming to Ryan’s writing. But I plan to use some of these effects in some of my own work.

Whitechapel Solution - I love the line "this trick is not for every audience." I think when magicians realize that some effects are not meant for every audience, it is freeing and empowering. I believe that the intended audiences will especially appreciate the trick.

There are a couple discrepancies in this effect. If the spectator places the Joker on the bottom of the packet and not on the face, he cannot choose the number five or this trick will not work. The workaround is to simply have the spectator place the joker INTO the packet and not ON or UNDER the packet. Ryan says not to place it on the face, but doesn’t address what happens if you place it on the back. Just an oversight.

Next, if one gets to a joker, he should turn it over just like the rest of the cards. Ryan doesn't say what to do with it.
As far as an effect, I ADORED the story lines and historical aspects of this illusion. I didn’t feel this particular trick was very strong on its own. But the storyline more than makes up for this.

While the description could have been slightly clearer with a check point along the way (such as stating the Jack of spades will be on the face as you have the spectator insert the joker), it was relatively easy to follow as far as card magic goes. An excellent opening effect for this volume.

The Court Card Murder Case - This effect is a different presentation for the Whitechapel Solution. In this presentation, you cannot turn over the dagger card prematurely. But at the same time, you must "count" it or the trick will not work. For instance, say the Jacks are faceup as spades, clubs, hearts, diamonds where spades is on the face. Spectator inserts the dagger under the club. He chooses number two. Proceeding as written you would place the spade on the back and count one. You place the club on the back and count two. Now Ryan gives you a line to use with the dagger. However, you cannot turn it over. Similarly, you cannot simply move it to the back of the packet without counting or the trick doesn't work. You must move it (without flipping) and count one. Then proceed as written. Basically this amounts to a slight discrepancy in the effect. But it’s nothing major and no spectator would comment on it.

Ryan doesn't mention combining the effects using a dagger with the Jack the Ripper presentation, but I can imagine that the kicker ending provided by the dagger would be beneficial within the Jack the Ripper routine.

I loved both of the first two effects and my comments are simply nitpicking for those who wish to have perfectly executable instructions. Ryan's instructions required just a little extra experimenting.

A-proxy-Mate - This is a great trick for beginners to learn a four ace production. The trick allows one to work on presentation while allowing the spectator do most of the work.

Discard Dating Service - Ryan uses “Chased” order but doesn’t explain what it is. Be aware. Although later in the book he assumes it again yet shows a picture accompanying the order. Still – it was never spelled out.

He also refers to the Charlier shuffle but explains it in a later effect. This sort of practice is quite common to many card books - but it’s baffling to me. Why don’t authors write more sequentially? Explain the sleight as you come to it and then reference back to it later in the volume. Ryan does this as well, but he’s not consistent. He does provide other options, however, including simply cutting the deck. So it’s not a show-stopper.

Note: in this effect a "couple" means King and Queen. I didn't quite realize this at first, and I tried the effect a couple times before I figured it out. I was expecting a “mate” such as King of Spades having a mate of King of Clubs. This effect felt almost like a self-working effect. Great idea.

Grifter's Game - I didn't particularly care for this effect. It’s a gambling effect with a few switches involved.

Without a Clue - This effect has quite a fun feel. This could be used in a casual "jazz" magic session with a very impromptu feel to it.

Harmony - This read like something from Jim Steinmeyer's Impuzzlebilities series. I quite enjoyed trying it, but it probably won't be something I perform regularly.

Primal Scheme - Another cute trick that was fun to read and practice. I may teach my daughter a few of these as she's a beginning magician and these would be perfect to help her work on presentation. I loved the idea Aldo Colombini added to this effect which allowed the magician to hand out his business card at the end. Very clever and always a good idea.

Nepomuk - Once again Ryan gives a nod to those who’ve gone before. While he doesn’t always describe older sleights in detail, he gives PLENTY of information for those who wish to go research it further.

From this trick an onward, it felt like the book was just picking up steam. I especially enjoyed the remainder of the book after this effect. It felt like a lot was happening in this trick, but it's really not. It's a clear presentation and very straightforward. I especially like the ending which brings to close the odd idea of having kings turn over one at a time. Ryan's patter helps this make sense - "I still think they were trying to tell us something..."

Pallbearer's Aces - One of my fav tricks in the book. If I hadn't just read it, it would have fooled me good. It's so good it's immediately going into my own Titanic themed close-up show as part of a gambling story that I'm already telling involving a card cheat on board the ship. Ryan's additions to Karl's original effect were a nice touch as well. In practice, I found the equivoque worked well for this ending.

Penultimate Man - There were some excellent ideas here. Ryan doesn't explain the Tenkai optical revolve, but it's possible to figure out from the photos alone, in my opinion.

Psi-Caustic - This is another interesting idea. I love that it's impromptu. It uses two spectators. It’s basically ACAAN between two people. There are many ways to play this. One might consider adding a bit of patter for twice the effect saying "Not only am I an expert card handler, but I'm also a mind reader. With a simple cut of the cards, I've placed YOUR selection (pointing to first spectator) at YOUR secret number (pointing to second spectator)! Now, I don't need you to tell me, but would you please tell her your secret number so that she can deal down to it?" When she does, there is her selection.

The Conqueror Worm - I think the glide force used here was discrepant. There are better forces available. The sleight by Ken Krenzel was identical to a handling I use for Jumping Gemini. The effect was interesting and should be a fooler for a lay audience. The “evil” theme was not my particular cup of tea, however.

Amara Rises Again - This was another fun one. Great routine, handling, and ending. Solid stuff. The cellophane ending is a fun one. Basically the magician allows the spectator to determine a selection with a series of choices. A card is hidden in a card box and the spectator determines a Q of Spades based on the choices she makes. As she opens the box, inside is the Q of Spades. There’s much more to this to make it more interesting and fun. But that’s a barebones idea that sounds much more boring than it really is.

Supremo Divinator - Another excellent effect! Very solid. Similar in principal to Pallbearers Aces.

Now It's Now Again - A good effect to close the book. Very simple and straightforward. It’s a time traveling effect that is easy to understand.
I was unfamiliar with the technique of catching a double card in a Riffle between two Kings. It was easy to do and makes for a nice and simple display of a double because the Kings keep it trapped quite well.

IN CLOSING - Ryan's work was quite fun to read. Some of the first few effects were not particularly deceptive in my opinion, but the latter effects more than made up for it. That being said, Ryan has some excellent presentational ideas and stories. I believe the presentations are interesting enough to make each effect quite enjoyable for modern audiences. As a personal note to Ryan, I believe he could benefit greatly by having his work proofread by a card technician to verify accuracy of execution. Additionally, he should have his work proofread for accuracy of presentation in regards to printed format. But the magic is great.

Clever ideas that are easy to understand make this a 4/5 stars for me.
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Profile of robert1996lb
Hi Matt,
I am looking to buy the Card Delusions by Ryan Matney, but unsure if it's like his other book The Self Working Project. I tend to like tricks that do not depend on crazy sleight of hand moves. ( Medical issues). Are both books along the same lines or is the Project book a better way to go?
Also looking into Steve Beam Semi-Automatic card tricks not sure if this is a good buy for me, and if so which one. and last Paul Gordon, looking at maybe his book called Professional card Miracles.
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