The Paper Magician

Review: The Master Magician

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Review: The Master Magician

The final book of Charlie N. Holmburg’s The Paper Magician trilogy opens with Ceony just weeks away from the end of her apprenticeship as a Paper Magician. Having to prepare for the Folder’s exam would be stressful enough even without the secret she’s keeping about being able to break her bond with Paper and work with other materials. She’s also having to deal with the (false) rumors about what’s been going on between her and Emory Thane, caused by the (very much true) growing affection and desire between her and her mentor. And then there’s the little matter of the escape of Saraj, an Excisioner notorious even among other Excisioners for being violent and unstable, and who just happens to have a grudge against Ceony and Mg. Thane.

The Paper Magician introduced the beautiful and sometimes terrifying world of materials magic. The Glass Magician was a straightforward magical adventure that showed us new aspects of the magic of glass and paper, many of them very, very violent. The Master Magician is a coming-of-age story. With magic. And romance. And occasional violence.

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Review: The Paper Magician

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Review: The Paper Magician

Continuing the theme of Back to School, this week’s review is for Charlie N. Holmberg’s debut novel The Paper Magician. The new twist on magic-users caught my attention (every magician specializes in one man-made material: metal, glass, paper, plastic, etc.,) so I picked it up after only a brief look at the description: top-in-her-magic-class Ceony is heartbroken when she graduates and is assigned to be the apprentice of a paper magician, forever crushing all her dreams of working with metal. I’ll admit I thought this was going to be mostly a book about leaving childhood behind, learning to appreciate books and the beauty of origami, making new friends, and eventually finding out that the real magic was inside her all along. Standard coming-of-age young-adult stuff. 

Ha, no. Ceony does learn a lot about origami and other techniques used by Folders (paper magicians); she also faces scenes of massacres, betrayal, mistakes with horrific consequences, and for a good part of the book she has to wade ankle-deep through blood while trying to escape a magician who works with a material very very far removed from paper. This is a wonderfully dark little book. Clever, definitely, but also disturbingly violent.

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