Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever. Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic. An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man. From the imaginative mind of debut author Charlie N. Holmberg, The Paper Magician is an extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight readers of all ages. (From Amazon.com)
Bubby: It is a rare thing to find an author who is capable of creating a new system of magic that actually makes sense. There is a reason why most books containing magic use the old tried and true kinds of magic – it’s hard to come up with something new and actually do it right. In the Magician series, Charlie N. Holmberg has done the almost-impossible – created something entirely new that not only works, but works beautifully. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for me. I loved practically everything about this book. The characters, the setting, the plot, the writing – quite possibly the best début book I’ve ever read.
Sissy: I wholeheartedly agree! I am sometimes astounded by the clever workings of people’s imaginations. At the same time I am grateful for new authors who come up with such wondrous things and share them with happy masses. The story of Ceony and Magician Emery Thane is delightful and intriguing and full of surprising magic. In the first book, The Paper Magician, the plot line involves Ceony having to actually traverse the chambers of Emery’s heart–and I marvelled at the author’s ingenious idea. What better way to come to know and love someone than through becoming closely acquainted with their actual heart? (That was not the reason for Ceony being in Emery’s heart, but rather a happy byproduct).
Bubby: Ceony’s growth through the first book was one of my favorite parts. She starts out being upset that she has to become bonded to paper instead of being a Smelter, one who is bonded to metal. (I kinda agree with her on that one – being able to create magical jewelry would really make my life better.) She doesn’t care much for her adviser, Emery Thane and she’s pretty unhappy all around. But by the end of the book, Ceony is a vastly better version of herself. I was surprised that a male author could so accurately write about a woman’s point of view and emotions, especially in the section where Ceony is in Emery’s heart. Imagine my surprise when I realized that Charlie N. Holmberg is actually a girl! It all made more sense to me then.
Sissy: Yeah for girls named Charlie! The evil character in this tale, black magic practitioner Lira, is someone I loved to hate. She is terribly formidable and frightening, and during the intense moments of the tale I experienced physiological symptoms in tandem with events (heart palpitations, adrenaline rushes, hives, hemorrhoids, etc.). My mind was racing right along with Ceony’s trying to figure out what paper spells could defeat those of a powerful excisionist. How she ends up doing it is perfectly masterful. Loved it.
Bubby: Hemorrhoids? Do I need to go buy you some Butt Paste? Sometimes I think you get a little TOO involved in the story, Sissy. Hemorrhoids. Good heavens. I think that I have run out of superlatives with which to describe how fabulous I find The Paper Magician to be. Amazing, fantastic, beautiful, moving, emotional, creative, and the list goes on and on. I hope Charlie N. Holmberg channels her inner Robert Jordan and keeps writing this series until she dies.
Sissy: Butt Paste is undervalued in our society. I thought The Paper Magician was engaging, whimsical, and magical. It is a steampunk style of novel, which means that while set in the Victorian era, it has license to vary from strict historical accuracy. Therefore readers need to just jump in and enjoy the slight quirkiness of it all. There’s a promise of romance which is delightfully underlined at the end of the book, but that doesn’t happen quickly or easily, and in fact drives some of the plot of the second book. Speaking of which…
Bubby: The sequel, The Glass Magician, comes out on November 4th and we’ve already read it and love it. So much so that next Friday’s review is all about The Glass Magician. I adore these books. How much do I love them? A 5-star review’s worth, (if we did such a thing) that’s how much.
Sissy: Thank you Charlie N. Holmberg for existing and writing. Carry on!
Click HERE to buy The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg at Amazon.com
We received this book without cost in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Copyright 2014 Bubble Bath Books