Book Title: The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #1)
Book Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Book Rating: ☆☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)
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.”
From the moment that Ceony Twill arrives at Magician Thane’s home for her apprenticeship to become a Paper Magician, she make it very clear that she does not want to be there. You see, Ceony had her heart set on becoming a Smelter, a magician who works with the medium of metal. Being at the top of her class at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, she should have had her pick of what type of magic to practice. The decision is made for her, however, since there are apparently few students who wish to study Folding and the school is required to place a certain number of students in a paper apprenticeship. This whole situation made me a little worried, at first, because I think there is a very fine line between having a character who is unhappy with their situation, and one who is just simply a brat. Fortunately, I think this author did a nice job of relaying Ceony’s discontent without making readers immediately hate her. As it turns out, Ceony’s is quickly won over by her new instructor, Magician Emery Thane, and she slowly begins to appreciate the art of Folding. When her teacher is suddenly attacked by a dark magician, and his beating heart literally ripped from his chest, Ceony risks her own life to save his, and in doing so becomes trapped inside his heart and is able to view his very soul.
The real magic in this book lied in the descriptive imagery that was both very beautiful and entertaining. Some that stand out to me were the paper snowflakes, Fennel the paper dog (who I now want to adopt!), and Ceony’s tour through Emery’s heart. While it was easy to get swept up in the details of the magic, it was about halfway through the book that I realized the author had neglected to provide any details about our main character or her past. Sure, certain details were briefly mentioned, such as her drowning as a child and her subsequent fear of water, but nothing concrete or of real substance had been provided. On the other hand, while trapped inside Emery’s heart, she is able to view his soul and we learn literally almost everything about him. I’m also not sure how I feel about the romance angle that this book took. I know that a roughly eleven year age difference isn’t really that big of a deal, but Emery is her teacher. And I get that Ceony may have developed a school girl crush on him, but to find out that he is in love with her too? It just didn’t feel right to me. Overall I enjoyed this unique and magical novel, and will certainly read the rest of the books in the series. I just hope that in the next book we get to learn a lot more about our heroine!