Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1) 

Synopsis: 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.

Date Published: September 1, 2014
Published By: 47North
Number of Pages: 222
Rating: 4/5 

The Paper Magician is a whimsical fantasy set in Victorian London that features a delightful and creative magic system, a strong female heroine and a little touch of romance. 

The magic system is established within the very first chapter. Magic can only manipulate man-made objects, like glass, paper, metal, and rubber. A magician must 'bond' to a certain type of object and then are able to manipulate it in a variety of different, interesting ways. It was such a treat to read about the different ways magicians manipulated paper. Two of my favorites were when Ceony learned how to make a scene from a book come to life just from reading aloud and when Magician Thane animated a little paper dog for Ceony that acted just like a real one. Ceony called him 'Fennel' and he became one of my favorite characters in this series. 

I wasn't just fond of Fennel, though. I love the main character, Ceony, and you know why? Because she is a strong female character who is able to think for herself and take action - while remaining feminine! Ceony has many traditionally feminine traits like modesty, a sense of decorum, and she knows her way around the kitchen. Yet, she is still able to speak her mind and rescue the guy in the end by relying on her wits and her gut instinct. This is so refreshing to see because sometimes I feel like too many people who write strong female characters (both in books and on screen) think that strength = masculine so they just give a female character masculine traits and call it a day. It's the 'Dude in a Dress' trope and it's getting a little tiresome. So I love that Ceony is an example of a strong, yet feminine, female character. 

The plot was interesting and moved along at a rapid pace (which is understandable considering the book is only 222 pages.) I liked the developing relationship between Thane and Ceony. I, personally, love student-teacher romances although the one in The Paper Magician is very chaste indeed. There's only a small hint of a romance developing later in the series. No kissing, no nothing - which is totally fine as it suited the story. 

The Paper Magician is great for readers of all ages looking for a light, whimsical fantasy. 

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