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The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Series) Paperback – September 1, 2014
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“Charlie N. Holmberg does a fantastic job of making her characters interesting and complex...The Paper Magician is my kind of story. I love anything set in England, especially historical England, and the pace of the story, while incredibly fast, cuts to the point and leaves plenty of room and questions-left-unanswered for a sequel. I appreciated that it didn’t end as a typical fluffy romance, but had an interesting twist and what I felt was a lot of delicious tension. Plus, the cover’s awesome.” —Devin Brooks, The Figmentist
“Harry Potter fans will likely enjoy this story for its glimpses of another structured magical world, and fans of Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus will enjoy the whimsical romance element. The ease of read makes this a quick getaway when compared to something complex in terms of language like Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. So if you're looking for a story with some unique magic, romantic gestures, and the inherent darkness that accompanies power all steeped in a yet to be fully explored magical world, then this could be your next read.” —Amanda Lowery, Thinking Out Loud
“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
Charlie N. Holmberg was born in in Salt Lake City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and minored in editing at Brigham Young University. Her debut novel, The Paper Magician, is the first title in her fantasy series, and is followed by the equally whimsical and enchanting The Glass Magician. When she’s not writing fantasy novels, she’s working as a freelance editor. A self-proclaimed Trekkie, she currently lives in Idaho with her husband and children, and hopes to someday have a dog.
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Top Customer Reviews
1) Poor character development
Ceony is an annoying protagonist. Her disappointment and indignation at being forced to study an area of magic (just to fill a quota) which she has no interest in is understandable. Her behavior and attitude upon arriving at what will be her home for the next however-many years is meant to exemplify her feisty spunk, I suppose, but it just comes across as bratty and immature and tedious. In fact, Ceony seems very much like a girl of 12 rather than a young woman of 19: given the fact that she attended a magician's academy, one would think that she'd be accustomed to the extraordinary, so I don't understand why a certain creation of Thane's magic would freak her out.
Thane is boring. He's not mysterious or interesting, and anything attempting to convey those things felt forced and contrived. I don't understand his attraction to Ceony, either; despite Holmberg's best attempts to keep his attraction subtle, it's obvious that he's supposed to be drawn to Ceony. If I was a man in my early to mid-thirties, I would find nothing to appreciate about a kid like Ceony except her cooking and laundering skills, as all good little women possess.
The villain is one-dimensional and never feels threatening due to a Voldemort-ian "out there-ness".
This storyline is all over the place. We start at Ceony's arrival at Thane's house to begin her apprenticeship. She spends about two weeks reading books, practicing Folding, and cooking for Thane, which is, I guess, supposed to be another attempt to make her unique (yes, how creative, a woman cooking for a man who can't). Then, boom, action happens and she spends the entire middle of the book trapped in a human heart doing nothing except watching what is essentially a PowerPoint presentation in a Fun House. Somehow and for some reason, she ends up falling in love, despite the totally unromantic setting (complete with fleshy walls and floor, hot suffocating air) and the emotional duress she should be under (i.e. fear and stress because she barreled headlong into an "adventure" in pursuit of a villain she knows nothing about utilizing a power she knows nothing about). Then, the end, buy book 2.
3) Writing Style
This isn't a YA novel. But it lacks the complexity to appeal to an adult audience. As it is, I can only assume the book's target audience is made up of females in the 18-22 age range whose favorite Harry Potter character is Ginny Weasley.
4) No Exploration of Gimmicks
Holmberg has a great spin on the magician fetish. The problem is she doesn't delve very deeply into it. As far as I know, and as far as I know that Ceony knows, you just have to say some stuff over some Origami animals and bam! Magic! It's not richly detailed, Thane never gives her lessons in which the reader also gets to learn something (again, contributing to Thane's poor development), so the charm quickly wears off. There are hints at this magical world, which seems to be kind of an alternate, steam-punkish, Victorian England. I would have liked to have seen more description and time spent developing this part of the narrative, rather than simply referencing the nuances.
Basically, if you're looking for a book with a good gimmick, simple sentence structure, and forced, contrived dialogue, this is the book for you. It's possible that the next two books in this series can/will develop the magic and alternate world more thoroughly; however, I think it highly likely that those two things will take a backseat (like, in the way back of a Greyhound bus) to the "romance" since, at the end of this book, we get a predictable hint at the future. Unfortunately, this first disappointing outing with The Paper Magician left me feeling indifferent as to the series' outcome.
The problem is that the apprentice is our heroine, Ceony Twill. She wanted to cast metal and not paper. So she spends half the book whining and pouring. Then, when forced into action to save her teacher, she spends the rest of the book cringing and mewling. She is not fun to hang out with. The villain is so much more compelling and interesting that it's hard not to root for her.
Which is a shame, because there are some great details here, like a paper dog and a skeleton butler. I'd just rather a more take charge heroine
Magician Thane is not at all what Ceony expected. At first, she rather thinks he may be crazy what with all the paper animals and flowers and everything else all over the house. But she soon learns that he is an exceptional Folder and settles in to learning a lot from him. It soon becomes clear, however, that Thane is keeping secrets. While Ceony has a curious personality, she also knows her boundaries and doesn't pry too much into Thane's personal effects.
When a mysterious someone from Thane's past re-emerges, Ceony is pulled into the thick of things and Ceony finds Thane's life in her hands.
I really enjoyed this book. The imagery with the different material magics was something new to me. The adventure that Ceony finds herself embarking upon was full of twists and turns that really tested her strength and how far she was willing to go for Thane.
I liked Ceony's practical character, so the when her feelings for Thane quickly merge from respect to love, I thought it was a bit rushed. The trials she has to face in order to save Thane's life give her new perspective on her teacher, but for her to acknowledge that she's falling in love with him just didn't seem to go with Ceony's personality at all. I can see it as a possibility, but within the constraints of this book to have affection already developing (and at this point, that we know of, only on Ceony's part) was a little off. After Ceony makes this declaration, it seems to overshadow everything else the story has established at this point and, I think incorrectly, paints Ceony as a lovestruck fool (for lack of a better word). And Ceony is anything but a fool.
Besides that minor thing, I really loved reading about this new world and I'm looking forward to the sequel The Glass Magician which is to be released soon.
After a short time of studying the art of folding she begins to develop a love for the process... or maybe she begins to love her mentor?
When Magician Thane's past comes to haunt him and takes his heart, literally, Crony must follow to gain it back. The journey will take her through Emery's heart and to a confrontation with a dark magician who has bonded in blood.
This book is a short read and, though the characters lack very much depth, is great. Keep reading the series, the development comes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It does have a classical fairy tale feeling, and the world is interesting, curious...Read more