Title: The Master Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Series: The Paper Magician, #3
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Master Magician is a solid conclusion to The Paper Magician series. Ceony Twill spent her school years at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined hoping to become a Smelter, one who works with metals. However, due to the lack of Folders in the magical trade, after her graduation, she was assigned to Emery Thane, one of the few paper magicians. Over her apprenticeship Ceony and Emery have grown closer. Ceony has had strong feelings for her tutor ever since she saved him from a dangerous woman from his past. Though this relationship is not strictly forbidden, it is frowned upon and rumors about Ceony and Emery are beginning to swirl. Ceony is on the brink of becoming a full-fledged paper magician, but it’s difficult for her to stay focused when her ability to bond with different materials, something that should be possible, comes to the attention of a nefarious magician.
While I’ve admired Ceony’s drive and her desire to protect those she loves, her decision-making leaves a lot to be desired in this final book. I found myself frustrated with her inability to let others, who are more experienced, handle situations she wasn’t prepared to face. I understood her motivations, but not her actions, which I believe put her and those she cares about in more danger. Though I do find paper magic to be invariably charming, I did hope to explore other mediums more in depth than to just be told that Ceony had studied them in secret. I also found that her tumultuous relationship with her sister Zina lacked a firm foundation. The first two books focused heavily on Ceony’s apprenticeship and her family did not play a heavy role, so I didn’t feel very invested in their quarrel in this book and am not sure what purpose it really served.
What I like most about this series is Emery and Ceony’s relationship. Though the latter is not a full magician quite yet, they treat each other as equals. Emery’s concern for Ceony never takes on the I’m-worried-about-you-so-I-get-to-dictate-your-choices tone that I’m not particular fond of. The Master Magician wraps up this quick little series quite nicely, though I will say that I still would have liked to read more of the story from Emery’s point of view.