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BOOK REVIEW: The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg

| 28 December 2014 | 1 Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg 

September 2014
Paperback, $14.95
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli



Straight out of the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony Twill is assigned to Magician Emery Thane for two to five years of apprenticeship. Graduating top of her class and being a ‘very promising student’, Ceony had always had high hopes for her future… specifically in Smelting.

Things don’t go quite according to plan and, as Ceony finds herself on Magician Thane’s doorstep, she’s not too happy about looking at a future of Folding. Paper magic is rare because no one wants to do it and so the decision was made for her.

Mg. Aviosky obviously did not realize that the reason Folding had become a dying art was because the skills it enabled were so completely useless.

Not only is Ceony unhappy about working with paper, but she’s not too happy with being left in the care of Thane, who is obviously mad or just very highly eccentric. Either way, he can’t cook and sometimes disappears for days at a time on ‘errands’, leaving Ceony with a mountain of homework (which she doesn’t mind) and a lot of unanswered questions (which she does mind).

“How did things go? Did you see this friend of yours?”
“Things went, at least,” he answered. “And thank you for doing my laundry, but you didn’t need to, as I wasn’t here to wear it. Library in ten minutes.”
He clapped his hands and strode down the hallway.
Six days. The man had been gone six days, and that was all he had to say about it?

Her life is composed of practicing Folding, studying, snooping around Thane’s house, without a rhythm, and Ceony finds herself more and more content with the situation… Until, one day, a woman bursts into Magician Thane’s home, knocks Ceony out and rips out Thane’s heart. When she comes to, Ceony has to make a decision: sit around and wait for the council to take action, or take matters into her own hands? Deciding the latter, she sets out on an adventure and finds herself traipsing through Thane’s heart… literally. As Ceony walks through the chambers, she encounters many moments of Thane’s life: his regrets, his hopes, his dreams, and a much darker side to him that she had never believed existed.

How many others had she judged and set aside like that, thinking them no more than a one-sided piece of paper?


The Paper Magician is an extraordinarily well-written book (it had a very distinct Dickensian feel to it), with light romance that doesn’t take away from the story at all, or override it completely, and two protagonists that are both funny and intellectual. I enjoyed reading from Ceony’s point of view and see the thoughts running through her head. She’s the sort of character that people can relate to with fears and dreams and a very loving heart, and her love for studying and being the best at what she does is the same drive reflected in a lot of people, whether they be students of employees trying to climb up in the world. Magician Thane was incredibly written, a mysterious character I wanted to know more about, and his mystery didn’t override the feel of the story, either. It wasn’t too much, or too little, but just right.

Charlie N Holmberg blew me away with the information on “Folding” which is very much like enchanted origami, and how one can do a lot of things with just a sheet of paper.

To her amazement, snow began to fall. Paper snowflakes cascaded through the air, some as small as Ceony’s thumbnail, some as large as her hand. Hundreds of them poured down as the paper ceiling gave way, all somehow timed just right so that they fell like real snow.

However, I did, at times, find myself slightly bored with the pacing. It was either too slow, or too fast, with no middle ground. I suppose this book is missing that spark that would bump it straight up to my favourites list, but overall it was an enjoyable read, and I finished it one sitting.


Review of Book 2: The Glass Magician

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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