The Paper Magician: by Charlie N. Holmberg

Posted: October 16, 2014 in Book Review
Tags: , , ,

At the magical price of $1.99, The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg was one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken with a book. I’ve always been one of those people who buys books after I already know I’ll enjoy them. You know, the ones I’ve already borrowed from the library dozens of times or are sequels to something I already own. With the digital revolution and indie book prices so low (often less than a cup of coffee) I still find myself stuck in the “try before you buy” mentality. I download the preview and if I like it I’ll buy it. If I don’t I’m not out anything.

I couldn’t do that with The Paper Magician.

The Paper Magician came my way via an e-mail from Amazon, one of their KindleFirst deals. For those of you unfamiliar with KindleFirst, as I was at the time, Amazon basically picks four books from their imprint and offers them at a reduced price one month before they’re slated to come out.You purchase it and it’s sent to your Kindle that same day.

The catch is there is no “try before you buy”.  You decide to buy the book at the reduced price or you wait until it comes out and pay the full price when later. Reading the description for The Paper Magician I felt that it was a story worth taking a gamble on.

I was so happy I did!

In the world of  The Paper Magician  people who have a talent for magic bond with a specific man-made material to channel their magic through. As you can already tell by the title, the story focuses on one bound to paper. It’s not the most exciting of the options but much like the main character, Ceony Twill, I found myself gaining a respect for the medium.

Ceony Twill is a recent graduate of the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, and her story begins on the first day of her apprenticeship with Emery Thane. At the beginning I found Ceony to be one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever encountered. She’s very upset at being bonded to paper (she really wanted to craft with metal) and in all honesty comes off as being a bit spoiled despite her meager upbringing.

The story kicks into high gear when Emery Thane’s heart is stolen by an Excisioner (a magician whose magic is bonded to flesh and blood). As any apprentice in a fantasy series does, she goes off to retrieve Thane’s heart before it’s too late. Facing off against the Excisioner she finds herself sucked into Thane’s heart, experiencing his joys and heartaches as she searches for a way out.

Her journey is what I found so enchanting about the story because for once it isn’t about the monsters she defeats, it’s about the truth that can be found inside a man’s heart. The flashback scenes where beautifully done, several of which broke my heart to imagine and others that brought a smile of joy. As Ceony journeys through Thanes heart she doesn’t just learn about the Master Paper Magician, she learns about herself.

The book was beautiful in its simplicity, and I urge anyone who likes their fantasy novels a little out of the ordinary to give it a try. It won’t be the most complicated story you’ve ever read, but it has a lot of “heart”.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, The Glass Magician, which is set to come out November 4.


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