Charlie N. Holmberg – The Paper Magician

Well I really didn’t know what to expect from this book, but it completely blew my socks off! The blurb on Goodreads was:

“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.”

It sounded like it could be an enchanting tale of growth and discovery and an interesting concept with ‘paper magic’. I was definitely very intrigued to see what that entailed, and I was finding the book funny and endearing when BAM! All of a sudden the book takes a very dark twist! Turns out that I should have clicked the ‘more’ link on the blurb on Goodreads and I might have expected this:

“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.”

Well let me tell you, I was NOT expecting that! But as we follow Ceony on a journey through Thane’s heart and uncover his deepest desires and hopes, we also learn more about Ceony and the strength and determination that she didn’t know she had. Pursued all along her journey by the excisioner Lira – Thane’s ex wife, Ceony must find a way to free herself in time to save Thane, without getting herself killed or trapped in the process.

I found the book beautifully written and every twist and turn was so carefully considered that it felt like a perfect story. The character development was spot on, and the magic was brought to life so incredibly that it felt like it could almost be real. The book had many quotes that really made me stop and think, and some that made me laugh out loud. Here’s a few of my favourites:

“Faith is a very personal thing, really. Just because you don’t meet with a group of people once a week who believe everything exactly the way you do doesn’t mean you don’t believe in something.”

“Everyone has a dark side! But it’s their choice whether or not they cultivate it.”

“ma always said the word damn came from beavers who gave up on their houses one stick short.”

I’ve already downloaded the second book (The Glass Magician) to my kindle, but I don’t want to read the blurb to spoil it, as I really quite liked the shock that I got from this book and I feel like Holmberg could have a few more tricks up her sleeve. I would dearly love for the story to continue with Ceony and Thane, but since it’s named after a different type of magic, I fear I may be sorely disappointed!


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