Words Beyond is a clever new (ish!) book test from the Other Brothers. Of the making of book tests there seems to be no end – so what’s different about this one? Read on in our review to find out.
What is it?
I’m kind of assuming you know what a book test is? But if not, Words Beyond enables you to be able to reveal the word that a spectator is thinking of from a freely chosen page in a book – all without any ‘fishing’. Well, that’s not strictly accurate. Words Beyond enables you to reveal the letters in the word that a spectator is thinking of from a freely chosen page in a book. And there is the tiniest, most imperceptible bit of fishing involved – depending on which presentation you go for. More of that later.
What do you get?
You get the special book – a standard ‘perfect bound’ paperback – which comes shrink-wrapped and then within a cardboard sleeve for protection. You also get a link to online video instructions (just over half an hour) and a link to a single page pdf with some extra ideas from Chris Rawlins and Rob Dobson.
What do we think?
The big selling point here is ‘no fishing’ – and that certainly makes it a strong effect. It uses a simple but subtle method which also makes it very easy to do. You don’t really need any memory work – though you might want to use a simple crib if you really struggle to retain information. And cunningly the book actually contains a crib ‘hidden in plain sight’.
As I mention above you are technically revealing the letters in the word rather than the word itself. From an audience point of view, I’m not sure that really makes much difference. And there are a number of presentational approaches you could take (most obviously ‘hangman’!) which can obscure this.
I’ve seen a number of book tests over the years and have never seen this specific method before – so as far as I know it is a new one.
The Other Brothers teach several different ideas for presentation and there are a few further thoughts on the pdf. There’s certainly plenty to work with and to get your own ideas flowing. The teaching is straightforward and easy to watch.
Words Beyond also incorporates another neat feature. It enables a sort of version of the Hoy Book Test (You can learn the original on this excellent DVD, or Andrew Gerard’s thoughts are well worth a watch – and he also teaches the original). This adds an extra and strong reveal from a second ungimmicked book. And utilising both elements combine for an even stronger routine. They teach a full two book routine on the video which is very strong.
The book itself will take casual flick through, but you wouldn’t want to read the prose. And the ‘Hoy’ feature also means you don’t want the spectator taking a long time over it. But the routine doesn’t require them to handle the book for long – so with basic spectator management I don’t see any problems.
Finally, it seems to me very good value given that you receive the specially produced book.
If you like book tests, or are in the market for an easy one, then Words Beyond comes highly recommended. You can pick it up from the Merchant of Magic for £32.99 (at the time of writing).
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.
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