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Charlie N Holmberg’s ‘The Paper Magician’


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.

As I have been mostly reading my course texts in recent years it has been a while since I’ve been able to sink my teeth into a good Sci-Fi and Holmberg’s The Paper Magician has made for a wonderful reintroduction. The world she creates is not all that much different from our own, located in London with recognisable sights.

The magic she uses is very subtle, the paper magic is explained in a way that is so simple that it seems almost plausible, almost as though all we’ve been missing is the magic bond to bring our origami works of art to life. It is detailed enough that you can tell her explanations are well thought out but not so much so that it is almost painful to follow. Also, for me it was almost like a mystery novel as although the story is linear in its plot there are hints continuously through out to events that happened before the story began, references that mean nothing to us because we don’t know what’s gone on previously. But Holmberg doesn’t tell all up front, she leaves bread crumbs to leave you intrigued as to what the characters are referring to and makes you wait to make sense of them, as the other characters find out, so do we. Holmberg shows a creativity and an imagination that is highly refreshing because its not outlandish, you get the impression that she looked at the world around her and thought about what could be rather than making up a world of her own in which you have complete control and can make it exactly how you want it.

The narrative itself takes place over a surprisingly short amount of time, mere weeks in the world of the story but that does not seem to effect the pace of the story, at no point did it feel like the story was being padded or drawn out as can often be the case when an entire novel tells only a short amount of time. The middle/main portion of the story is repetitive, in the sense that there was a quest like formula that the protagonist had to get through, but that didn’t make it boring. In fact I found myself at the end of the story in no time wondering how it could possibly end there, I wanted to know what happened! I was bitterly disappointed when I went to get the next story, having already read the first teaser chapter from the sequel at the end, only to find that NetGalley had archived it the day I finished the first novel!

My favourite aspect of Holmberg’s writing was her descriptions and great imagery, okay it helped that I’m fairly familiar with London anyway, but I really enjoyed the descriptions.It was almost as if I were the paper magician reading the words to life around me, which is something coming from a girl who just likes to cut to the good stuff and ordinarily ignores the scenery. As a bookseller, I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to customers who are thinking about trying out Sci-Fi but don’t want to be thrown into the deep-end. It is not the best novel you will have read but who needs that from every novel. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I would be eager to get my hands on the sequel of just to see where its going! And that’s all one can ask when they pick up a book and are whisked off into another world.

Don’t you think?

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Literature Review


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