The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Master Magician by Charlie N. HolmbergTitle: The Master Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Series: The Paper Magician, #3
Pages: 216
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: June 2, 2015

       “Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own — an ability long thought impossible.
      While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. To avoid favoritism, Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. To make matters worse, a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined.”

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“It’s like you have a checklist for dangerous criminals tucked into your pocket, and you won’t be satisfied until you’ve had a personal encounter with each.”

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.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Title: The Glass Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Series: The Paper Magician, #2

Having survived a terrifying altercation with the malicious Excisioner, Lira, Ceony Twill has returned to her normal life as apprentice to the paper magician, Emery Thane. But the mysterious magic Ceony worked to stop Lira hasn’t gone unnoticed. The infamous Excisioner, Grath Cobalt, has his sights set on the young apprentice and he will do anything to make her reveal how to undo the spell. Mg. Thane is determined to protect Ceony, but Ceony can’t sit back and watch while other people put themselves in harm’s way, she is determined to stop the threat herself before the people she loves get hurt.

“You think I care if they have to watch me slice the skin from your bones? They’re cowards, Ceony. They’ll run the minute blood spills. And I will spill all of it, drop by drop, until you tell me what I want to know.”

Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician was such a delightful surprise and its sequel, The Glass Magician, is no different. When an explosion occurs at the paper mill Ceony is touring and several other incidents follow, it becomes clear that Ceony is the target of the infamous magician. The blood magician, Grath Cobalt, finds it all too easy to get Ceony alone and his threats are enough to send a chill down my own spine. Grath is more menacing, ambitious, and brutal than Lira. Ceony’s success against Lira has given her a level of confidence and this, coupled with her need to protect those around her, has her playing right into Grath’s hands.

Ceony forms a friendship with Delilah, the apprentice to Mg. Aviosky, who is studying glass magic. While Folding has its charms, Gaffing, or glass magic, is also an intriguing art. Never have mirrors looked so dangerous! I will say Ceony and Emery’s relationship felt stagnant for much of the book and though it’s quite clear how she feels, I wanted to explore his point of view as well. We do get a brief glimpse at the end of the book when a portion is told from the paper magician’s perspective, but this just made me wish the entire book was spit between their two points of view. There is also an interesting undercurrent of trust issues between Ceony and Emery that I wanted to delve deeper into. Overall, I really enjoyed this sequel and knowing Ceony, we’re in for quite the adventure when the final book is released.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

The Friday 56, #46: The Paper Magician

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join in every Friday, the rules are simple.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

 


“She lifted a long-nailed hand and squeezed it into a fist. ‘His heart is still worth something to me. A heart that’s known love is stronger than one that hasn’t, did you know that?'”

I really enjoyed Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician, which I received through NetGalley and read a couple of weeks ago. I’m dying to get my hands on the sequel!

From my review:

“Nothing could make Ceony Twill, recent graduate of Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, happier than to become a Smelter, a magician able to manipulate metal. But all her dreams are dashed away when she is informed that she will study under Magician Thane, a Folder, skilled in the art of paper. Ceony cannot believe her bad luck, but with little choice, she accepts the apprenticeship. Mg. Thane turns out to be very flighty and odd, but also thoughtful. When she and her teacher are attacked by an Excisioner, a wielder of dark magic, who steals Mg. Thane’s heart, Ceony must gather her courage and retrieve his heart before it is too late.” You can read my full review here.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Title: The Paper Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Series: The Paper Magician, #1
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Nothing could make Ceony Twill, recent graduate of Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, happier than to become a Smelter, a magician able to manipulate metal. But all her dreams are dashed away when she is informed that she will study under Magician Thane, a Folder, skilled in the art of paper. Ceony cannot believe her bad luck, but with little choice, she accepts the apprenticeship. Mg. Thane turns out to be very flighty and odd, but also thoughtful. When she and her teacher are attacked by an Excisioner, a wielder of dark magic, who steals Mg. Thane’s heart, Ceony must gather her courage and retrieve his heart before it is too late.

“To her amazement, snow began to fall. Paper snowflakes cascaded through the air, some as small as Ceony’s thumbnail, some as large as her hand. Hundreds of them poured down as the paper ceiling gave way, all somehow timed just right so that they fell like real snow.”

Having requested to read this book mostly based on the charming cover, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician, but I found myself utterly enchanted by the world of paper magic Ceony is introduced to. Animals crafted with paper come to life and words written in books leap from the pages. I haven’t read a world quite like this one and this coupled with likable characters makes this book a real winner.

Ceony, ambitious and curious, is a perfect blend of resourceful heroine and naive student. While most of the book explores Mg. Thane’s past, we get these moments of vulnerability from Ceony, which I hope are explored more in the sequel. Both she and her teacher have more layers than either of them put forth. I am enamored with Magician Emery Thane. As the story unfolds (pun intended) the magician is revealed to be so much more than the man with a mischievous personality. His past comes back to haunt him, a past he never intended to share with Ceony, so I am curious to see how this effects their relationship in the next book.

The only downside to this book is that it all ended too quickly and now I’m seriously considering purchasing it and its sequel right now.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★