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The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Charlie N. Holmberg
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,048 customer reviews)

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From the Editor

We think "charmed" is the right word for our reaction to this very special debut. The Paper Magician is pure fantasy with a spin on magic—spells enacted by the folding of paper—that we'd never seen before.

With a complex heroine who struggles at the intersection of whimsical circumstance and a desire to determine her own destiny, The Paper Magician is sophisticated enough for adults but dabbles in magic and mythos that are perfect for teens. Ultimately, we just love the story of a young woman who works hard and faces deep disappointments, yet remains determined to do what's right—no matter the cost.

Set at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, The Paper Magician does what all great stories do: allows us to connect with the protagonist and trust that she's up to any challenge. Charlie Holmberg accomplishes this and more with the precocious Ceony Twill, a self-propelled heroine who—armed with only a photographic memory and a stack of paper—greets every new surprise with aplomb. Truly, this book charmed us.

Yes—that's definitely the right word. Happy reading!

- David Pomerico and Jason Kirk, Editors

Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


“Ceony displays commendable pluck facing a more experienced mage trained in the dark arts, and Holmberg gives her a complete story while leaving ample room for sequels…This promising debut recalls the early work of Patricia Wrede.” —Publishers Weekly

“A fast-paced, perilous romp…The story was the perfect tempo and I immediately fell in love with Ceony, her astute mind and quick thinking. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!” —CheriePie’s Book Reviews

"Stephen King once said, 'Love is a uniquely portable magic,' and if so, The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg must be a kind of love...If you can take yourself out of the real world for a little while and imagine yourself as one learning how to be a magician, this novel will easily become one of your favorites. With a little bit of magic, romance, and suspense, The Paper Magician is truly a fun and exciting summer read for anyone who needs a break from the real world.” —The Triangle

“The plot is pretty tightly focused on Ceony and Emery, but the glimpses I caught of this larger world were fascinating...If you enjoy fantasy or steampunk at all, give this one a try.” —The Introverted Reader

About the Author

Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. In addition to writing fantasy novels, she is also a freelance editor. She graduated from BYU, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and hopes to one day own a dog. The Paper Magician is her debut novel and the first in a whimsical series exploring a world of magicians who animate manmade materials. She currently lives with her family in Utah.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1859 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: 47North (September 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HVF7OL0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
112 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bewitching Surprise August 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When magician-in-training Ceony Twill is chosen as apprentice to the paper magician, Emery Thane, she is decidedly disgruntled. Not only was Ceony the first in her class at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, she possesses a photographic memory and more confidence than any nineteen-year-old should. Clearly her talents deserve more than an assignment to the dated and dull art of paper folding magic. Nevertheless, Ceony accepts her fate and resigns herself to an adventureless future--or so she thinks! Thus begins Charlie N. Holmberg's The Paper Magician, a winning fantasy that should appeal to both adolescent and adult readers alike, though teen girls are obviously the more specific target audience.

Perhaps what I liked best about The Paper Magician is that it borrows freely from any number of children's literature classics, Harry Potter and Mary Poppins to name only two, without ever becoming derivative. A familiar coming of age theme is made fresher by an inventive plot, witty dialogue, and a surprising love story. The characters also add to the story's quirky charm: Ceony, the snarky heroine, Emery, the peculiar magician, and Lira, the deliciously evil villainess. And although the novel is a serial (a sequel called The Glass Magician will be released this November), its ending is a satisfying one with no frustrating cliffhangers common to the fantasy genre. I found The Paper Magician a bewitching surprise--perhaps it will cast its spell upon you too!
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143 of 164 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for tweens, tolerable for adults August 2, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Several friends on the Amazon book forum like to discuss what we're reading and recommend books we think others would like. When one mentioned that he reads to his 11 year old daughter every night (what a great family tradition!), I added children's books to my "watch for" list. So when I saw a kindle first book promoted as "extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight readers of all ages", I was excited to think I might have found something new to recommend. Especially something an 11 year old might enjoy that wouldn't be torture for a very literate Dad. So I went into the book primarily with the mind set of sharing with a child, not as a straight adult read.

I read the book off and on throughout the day yesterday. It is fairly short (about two thirds the size of the original Harry Potter) and although the story is set in late Victorian England, the prose is modern so it wouldn't be a tough read for any one. Unfortunately, it didn't quite hit the mark for me either as an adult or as something to share with a child. It seemed to be caught between two audiences and couldn't quite satisfy either.

As an adult, the premise was imaginative with an original take on "magic" and it was mildly enjoyable at times. But the characters were one dimensional and attempts to add complexity seemed forced and tacked on. The author went to great length to be descriptive, but rather than finding it evocative, I thought it became rather tedious. I really didn't need to know the details of the heroine's morning primping, what she ate and boring tasks for three consecutive days. This, like much of the description, seemed designed to add length without moving the story forward or creating atmosphere.
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49 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Scene Painting and Lush Minutiae August 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of Susanna Clarke's epic novel of an early 19th Century alternate magic-filled England, JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL, then Charlie N. Holmberg's work set in alternate magic-filled England, 1902, will fit right in.

There is one necessary forewarning, however. For those who well remember Robert Jordan's rather infamous lovingly detailed scenes, from clothing to tea sets, that became prevalent mid-way through the WHEEL OF TIME series, Holmberg does follow suit with extraordinary scene painting, down to what many could well (and possibly justly so) consider as extraneous, gratuitous details. I am one who actually favored Jordan's attention to such minute description and relished it just as much here in THE PAPER MAGICIAN. Additionally, I get the sense that such lush word paintings are an indirect indication of our Heroine's acute observation and perspicacity, a characteristic that is briefly mentioned at the beginning. Just as an example amongst a great many, in chapter 16 we briefly get treated to details such as a bag's seams having three distinctly black stiches and how a cream resembled one that a nurse "always kept on the third shelf of the medicine cabinet between beds one and two."

The majority of the story does in fact seem more about indirect character depiction and scene painting, always zeroed-in on the heroine's surroundings and reactions, than propelling external story action, perhaps relying on the anxiety of the arcing situation to keep interest going. However, Holmberg paints scenes extremely well! (Chapter 12's abattoir is an outstanding example.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one Paper you want to pick up! August 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of the best books I have read EVER! I wanted a book to relax and wind down my vacation week with and saw this on Kindle First. After a hard time selecting which of the four books to read I settled on this one as it just sounded like an interesting and fun read. From the get go I was hooked and could not put the book down. Even as tired as I was, I would not stop reading until the end.
One thing I really liked about Ms. Holmberg's writing is that it did not include expletives every other word! It was refreshing to read a book where I did not have to cringe on every page. The book was well written without F Bombs! Thank you Ms. Holmberg!

Small Spoiler Alert! From the moment they met I wanted Ceony and Thane to be together. Although I didn't get my wish (YET!) I was happy to see how this part of the series ended. For most having someone who possesses the level of affection and dedication as Ceony does for Thane is a pipe dream. The lengths she went through to save his life were astounding and you are on the edge of your seat during the whole middle of the book just to see if her efforts pay off!

I would love to see the Paper Magician be made into a movie. I, like Ceony originally thought "paper folding, how boring!" but I was definitely proven wrong. I would have given anything to be in Ceony's shoes for even a few moments to see what more Thane could have in store. Really made me want to grab some paper and utter the word BREATHE!

I can't wait for the Glass Magician in November and have already pre-ordered my copy. If you like a little fantasy, a little romance, and something unexpected than The Paper Magician is for you!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Paper
This novel (novella) was an unexpected gem. The backstory was rich and intriguing. Some of the plot was a bit staid and conventional. Read more
Published 3 minutes ago by Jo O.
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked the background of the book
I liked the background of the book, the school, the characters, the magic disciplines. It got a bit weird for me though when the heart part came up. Read more
Published 56 minutes ago by lrhk
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad, but it is a romance novel
I read one of these forty years ago by surprise. I'm amazed anyone writes "school girl" romances any more.

But that is what it is. Read more
Published 1 hour ago by S. Marsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 hours ago by Eylphyn
2.0 out of 5 stars Underachieving at every turn
Poorly written. Painfully derivative and predictable. It's a real shame because the main concept has potential.
Published 2 hours ago by C. Flood
3.0 out of 5 stars Plodding, contrived and full of exposition.
I found this plodding and overly contrived. The need for constant exposition, in my mind, reveals the author did not spend enough time building the magical world envisioned. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by James Cummings Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved the premise but it felt like it went WAY ...
I wish I could give this 3 1/2 stars. Decent book. Loved the premise but it felt like it went WAY too fast. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by Beth Guivens
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A really novel magical world with interesting characters.
Published 4 hours ago by Roger Davies
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, light read.
I did feel that it was a little juvenile, but overall, it was an enjoyable read and an interesting premise that didn't follow the typical storyline. Read more
Published 4 hours ago by Esther
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting! Looking forward to the next one
Published 5 hours ago by K. Scott
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More About the Author

Charlie Nicholes Holmberg was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to two parents who sacrificed a great deal to give their very lazy daughter a good education. As a result, Charlie learned to hate uniforms, memorized all English prepositions in alphabetical order, and mastered the art of Reed-Kellogg diagramming a sentence at age seven. She entered several writing contests in her elementary years and never placed.

Being a nerd, Charlie started writing fan-fiction as a teenager in between episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She became a full-fledged band geek with mediocre talent in high school, where she met her husband Jordan Holmberg. While she strove to win his attention by baking him cookies and throwing ramen noodles at his house, he didn't actually ask her out until six years later.

Charlie began taking writing seriously during her undergrad at Brigham Young University, where she majored in English and minored in editing. She finally won a few writing contests. She graduated with her BA in 2010 and got hitched three months later. Shortly afterwards, her darling husband dragged her to Moscow, Idaho, where he subsequently impregnated her.

In summer 2013, after collecting many rejection letters and making a quilt out of them, Charlie sold her ninth novel, The Paper Magician, and its sequel to 47North with the help of her wonderful agent, Marlene Stringer. Someday she will own a dog.

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