The Paper Magician: 1

by Charlie N. Holmberg

Paperback, 2014

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

47North (2014), 232 pages

Description

Bound to a magic she never wanted, a young apprentice falls deeper into its mysteries when she must use everything she's learned from her master in order to save him, and his heart.

Awards

RUSA CODES Reading List (Shortlist — Fantasy — 2015)

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2014-09-01

Physical description

232 p.; 8.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member norabelle414
As Ceony Twill graduates from magic school, she hopes she will be apprenticed to a metalsmith. She's wanted to do magic with metal her whole life. Instead, she works under the very odd Emery Thane, a paper magician. What can you even do with paper? But she makes the best of her situation and starts
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to enjoy Magician Thane's company. Until one day a wild woman breaks into their house and steals Magician Thane's heart right out of his chest. She is Magician Thane's ex-wife, a practitioner of Excision (the dark magic of human flesh), and Ceony has no choice but to follow her and rescue her mentor's heart.

The first 90 pages of this book are decent, but after that it devolves into a total mess. Nineteen-year-old Ceony falling in love with her thirty-one-year-old employer, mentor, and housemate is gross, especially when she also cooks and cleans for him, and has known him for less than a month. Ceony is trapped inside Thane's heart for a fully 95 pages of this 214 page book. It feels like an eternity. She brings along with her a (admittedly extremely cute) paper dog, who serves no purpose except for Ceony to repeatedly put him in her bag so he doesn't get wet, and then immediately take him out again. Just leave him in the bag!! She travels through about a dozen of Thane's memories, but she does not seem to actually learn anything and never fully figures out that she cant interact with the memories. Harry Potter and Ebeneezer Scrooge aren't the brightest bulbs in the chandelier but neither of them took more than 2 minutes to figure out they can't interact with memories/visions. Ceony makes quite a lot of assumptions that make no sense, like when she sees a book inscribed to "The Thanes", instead of thinking that Thane might have been previously married, she assumes he has an illegitimate child and someone is letting him know that they know about it by inscribing this book. What a stretch! It's the first one, for the record.

Even outside of Ceony's confounding behavior, the writing is not great. The villain has no motivation or depth, she is flat and uncompelling. If a system of magic is based on human flesh, couldn't it sometimes be used to heal people? That would be much more interesting than one-dimensional evil. The real breaking point for me came with this paragraph, 3/4 through the book:
"What about the time I was supposed to pick up my baby sister from school because my mom was having surgery on her foot?" she asked. "It was the middle of January, but I didn't go because I had a diorama I was supposed to present in English the next day and I wanted to get it done. It took me three hours, Emery! Three hours my sister stood in the cold, waiting for me. She got pneumonia and almost died because my homework was more important than her!"
It is established several times that this book takes place in 1901, and that Ceony's family was poor. Things that did not exist in 1901: poor people picking their children up from school. Non-emergency foot surgery. Foot surgery that only takes one day for recovery. Dioramas (in this usage of the word). Homework. I verified all of that in about 20 minutes of Googling. Did the author do any research at all?

Sorry for the rant. It's an extremely disappointing end to a promising beginning, and I won't be reading more unless I get very good reassurance that it gets better.
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LibraryThing member Stewartry
The Paper Magician had every appearance of something I would love. What a lovely cover. What a wonderful idea for a system of magic.

Ah well. What a shame.

It is, I think, a terrific system of magic – but there is so little information about other branches that it's hard to know. Paper magic is
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fascinating. The Paper Magician is sorely lacking.

"Ceony Twill, eldest of four and top of her graduating class", scholarship student, had her heart set on a certain kind of magic. Paper magic wasn't it – but will she, nil she, she was packed off to apprentice to Magician Emery Thane to become the newest paper magician. And that's part of my early confusion with this book: she was at the top of her class, but was given no choice about where she would go?

Another confusion is when and why exactly Ceony comes to feel as she does about Thane, the master magician to whom she is apprenticed. I mean, the revelations about her scholarship are relevant, and a huge point in his favor comes early: "There, wagging its little paper tail, stood a paper dog". But I don't think it's spoiler-y to say that Ceony goes from resentful student to passionately in love, with no transition or warning whatsoever. I found it all a little uncomfortable, both the struggle to catch up to her mood swing and also in wondering just how old this girl was. Apprentices have historically been pretty darned young – fourteen comes to mind, but I think it's often younger. But Ceony's age is never given until finally, finally it is revealed that she is twenty.

Which only adds to the confusion, because every impression she gave throughout the book is of a younger girl.

Most of my confusion, though, simply came from very confused and confusing writing. Such as: "She could not have been any older than Mg. Thane. Not so much older than Ceony herself." The person in question was eleven years older than Ceony.

There are run-on sentences. "She had never considered herself someone prone to worrying, and it seemed almost silly to worry over someone whom she'd only worked with for a short time, let alone someone she hadn't wanted to work with in the first place, but she worried." Good grief, take a breath.

There are vaguely specific yet baffling descriptions. "She wore two-inch gray heels that fastened with two cords around her ankles." Two cords per ankle? "The front doors did look like they were meant to open via the mouselike hinges" – mouselike? Huh? "Ceony flew up from the yellow cottage disguised by spells" – The house was disguised, or Ceony? Seriously, it could be either. "Ceony stopped retreating. She would not be a mouse, nor would she be a grasshopper." How – what – when did a grasshopper become an exemplar of standing one's ground? Grasshoppers … hop. Was the author thinking of the grasshopper and the ant? That's a whole 'nother fable.

There is one scene in which – told to avoid spoilers – someone tries to stop the Baddie from being bad. The someone has a gun. The someone has, apparently, one bullet. Whether this is because it was a single shot weapon or whether someone was too lacking in foresight to load more than one bullet may not have been explained; I don't recall. And it's irrelevant, because the gun is never used. I was shouting at the Kindle (or at least making all-caps notes) of "SHOOT HER" … nope. (*paging Mr. Chekhov...*)

There are *sigh* anachronisms for a book supposedly set in an alternate 1901. (Research, y'all. It's not the enemy.) "They simply phased through her". Not in 1901 they didn't, as far as I can tell. "The psychotic woman" – technically, she could be called psychotic in 1901, but I doubt it was in common usage. It's an iffy one. "Grath and his gofers" – "Gofer" as meaning "lackey" came into usage in the 50's. The 1950's. "Bucking back and forth like a rodeo bull" – did I mention this is 1901 ENGLAND? The date on etymonline.com for "rodeo" is 1914. This is absurd. "Okay" made me twitch, but it's borderline.

And there are plain and simple mistakes. "Ceony pet the back of the dog's neck." *flinch* Petted, please. "The large, molten sun sunk slowly". *wince* Sank, thank you. "She spied over her shoulder" … What? "The room heaved as Lira's hand sailed across Emery's face." … What? "…Though his name didn't sign the page" … *sigh* … "She curled her hair with a little more flare" … I surrender.

What made my eyes go very wide was when I reached the acknowledgements at the end and saw "Thank you to Brandon Sanderson, the best writing teacher any aspiring author could have…"

Oh dear. Maybe that's some clue as to why I never got into his solo work.
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LibraryThing member radioactivebookworm
Goodreads 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
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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.

My Review: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review, and am so glad I requested it now. I wasn't sure if I'd completely love it by reading the description, but was pleasantly surprised. Though I'm not completely sure what time period this book is set in, most likely the early 1900's if I imagined correctly, and I'm not a big fan of magic, but the magic in this book was so intricate and subtle that I couldn't help but love it. I had to read it over after I finished it because I realized that I was so caught up in finishing it, I couldn't remember anything except the beginning and the end. I'm glad I re read it. It's an awesome book, and the story is amazing. Ceony is a good character, and Emery Thane is a good teacher. I really hope what happened at the end really happens, and isn't just a prediction. It's adorable. And she saved his life. What more could he ask for? Definitely check this book out if you get the chance, you won't regret it.

Thanks for reading.
(Radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com)
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LibraryThing member sdmouton
Charlie Holmberg has written an engaging young-magician novel which suffers a bit from its adoption of the stereotypical strong minded Victorian woman, complete with older male romantic interest, as heroine. If more time was spent on the life and interests of the characters as they pertain to the
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non-romantic plotlines, I'd have an easier time seeing them as well rounded characters and not paper dolls. Still, the story is interesting, the magic system mostly consistent, and it's a fun read (or listen, in my case).
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LibraryThing member cjordan916
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member AdonisGuilfoyle
I'm not sure where Charlie N. Holmberg was trying to take this novel, but I think she got lost halfway through. What began along the lines of Jonathan Strange or Sorcery and Cecelia suddenly devolved into a gruesome guided tour through the human heart. Not that I mind gruesome, but the setting sort
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of hinted at a more 'proper' fantasy story - in fact, I'm not sure why the author chose early twentieth century (AU) England, because her characters and dialogue quickly left that era behind, bar the odd mention of telegraphs and buggies. Carrot-haired Ceony is very much a modern American miss, and after trying for formal speech in the first couple of chapters, the narrative relaxes into the familiar idioms of most YA novels. Baffling. I did admire the author's world-building, with magicians who can animate and control man-made objects like paper, rubber and metal, but the actual story was none too original and the characters far from captivating.
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LibraryThing member ConnieJo
I really liked this book, though I was disappointed when it deviated from its original story and became about something else entirely early on. I did like Ceony and Mg. Thane, but I hadn't quite gotten to know either of them well enough (and Thane especially) for the story that made up the bulk of
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this book.

I did like the main story, and I thought it was cute and pretty nice the way Ceony could think around the edges and use her limited paper magic skills to get herself out of a variety of situations. But it reads like Thane taught her these skills specifically because he knew what she would have to do, and that was never mentioned. Otherwise, that she learned those exact skills in so little time is a little too unbelievable. Having a perfect memory seemed like an excuse to not waste a lot of time on the apprenticeship.

Also a little unbelievable was that Ceony fell so hard. There just wasn't... really anything there.

Yes... I would have loved to see the first part of the novel (Ceony's paper magic apprenticeship and her lessons and quirky interactions with Thane) stretched out, and to get thoroughly acquainted with the world and Thane first.

But maybe we'll get more of that in book two. I would love to see it.
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LibraryThing member tapestry100
There was so, so much potential in The Paper Magician. When I started reading, I was immediately struck by how much this read as if Gail Carriger had taken her hand at writing her version of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It had Carriger's light-hearted feel, but instead of dealing with an urban
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fantasy, steampunk world, this is solidly grounded in the world of magic. I found the magic system Holmberg created for her world very original; magicians can manipulate and control man-made materials (paper, glass, metal), and once a magician is bonded to a material, that is the only material that they will be able to work with magically for the rest of their lives.

Where the book started to fall apart for me was almost at the beginning, as we follow Ceony, who has worked her way to the top of her class and was hoping to become a metal magician, but since there is a lack in paper magicians, it is decided for her to be apprenticed to paper magician, Thane. However, within about a chapter, she decides that possibly she was wrong about Thane and paper magic, and seems to already be falling for him. I felt at this point I had missed some chapters; things were proceeding way too quickly to get to the main conflict of the story, and here is where Holmberg redeemed herself for me.

An Excisioner, a magician who can control blood magic (which is also highly illegal), attacks Thane and literally rips the beating heart out of his chest. Despite having almost no practice or accomplishment beyond a basic understanding of paper magic, Ceony folds a paper heart for Thane and places it in his chest, keeping him alive for a short amount of time. What follows here is what impressed me with Holmberg, as Ceony actually enters Thane's heart, where she is privy to his aspects of his life. This is actually something that I have never read the like of before and found it very intriguing. The entire concept was wildly original, at least to me. The entire second half of the book really showed Holmberg's strengths as a writer, but I'm fairly certain the first half of the book would have benefited from being about twice as long.

So, I'm very middle of the road with this book. Holmberg clearly has a grasp on her story and what she wants to tell, she just rushes too quickly to get to the point. I'll be picking up the second book to check it out, but if things are rushed again like they are in the first, I'll probably be stopping there. Like I said, Holmberg shows quite a bit of potential but she needs to work on fleshing out the bits in between the action of her books.
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LibraryThing member cwhisenant11
This book wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The idea was interesting but the story itself was pretty dull. Paper as a medium for magic is itself kind of boring. Even the main character wasn't excited to bond herself to paper. I had hoped for more creativity to win me over to the paper magic but
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when contrasted with the flesh magic of the Excisioner, the paper magic seemed even more lackluster. Towards the end, the pace picked up a bit and it was a little more compelling but overall it was just okay. I'm curious to see what happens in the next book.
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LibraryThing member caittilynn
This was a very fun adventure. Ceony Twill never wanted to be a paper magician, but when it comes time to start her apprenticeship she is forced to learn paper magic or nothing at all. She is just starting to get settled when a rival magician attacks and steals her magician's heart. She must risk
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everything to save him.
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LibraryThing member lostinalibrary
Of all the forms of magic, paper is the least powerful which is why no one wants to become a paper folder. So when Ceony Twill, first in her class at the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined is informed that there is a shortage of paper folders and, therefore, she is to be apprenticed as
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one, she is devastated because once bonded to a form of magic, it is a bond for life.

She is apprenticed to the eccentric folder Emory Thane and, at first, she is sarcastic and rebellious. However, when she sees the kind of beauty and whimsy he can produce from paper including a small dog as a present to her, she begins to accept her fate. Unfortunately, just as she starts to like her new life, Emery’s wife, Lira returns. She is an Excisioner, a blood magician and, when she steals Emery’s heart literally, Ceony must find a way to save him – not easy when you’re only a newly bonded paper folder and your opponent can kill with just a touch.

This is the first book in The Paper Magician series and, for the most part, I enjoyed this YA fantasy by author Charlie N Holmberg. Although the story has obvious roots in other series including Harry Potter, it was more homage than derivative. I really appreciated the idea of paper folding as magic. However, the story seemed to bog down somewhat as Ceony has to make her way through the chambers of Emory’s heart. It was an interesting way to give us Emory’s backstory as well as parts of Ceony’s but it tended to slow the story down considerably.

Still, Ceony and Emory are both extremely likable characters. There is a hint of possible romance at least on Ceony’s part but, fortunately, it isn’t love at first sight and, in fact, nothing happens at least in this first book. Lira makes a great evil temptress and the idea of blood magic, although not unique, is quite scary here. There is also a nice touch of subtle humour that works well within the storyline. I know I have used the term 'whimsy' several times already but it is the best word I can think of to describe this book. The story itself is self-contained and, unlike so many fantasy series, does not end on a cliffhanger. Although not perfect, The Paper Magician was a fun read and I look forward to the next book in the series.

3.5
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LibraryThing member jaddington
This started out a bit slow, somewhat of a yawn. Then about 50 pages in the story took a turn. It became exciting, the characters changed they suddenly had substance. I like the thought of the kind of magic the story creates, its very intriguing. It came to a point that I did not want to put it
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down. And there is a dog. All stories are good when they have a dog aren't they?
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LibraryThing member kmartin802
THE PAPER MAGICIAN had been sitting on my TBR mountain for months until I decided to give it a try this week. I am very glad I did. I found a feisty and engaging narrator in Ceony Twill and a handsome and enigmatic mentor in Magician Emery Thane. I also found a fast-paced story filled with epic
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adventure.

Ceony is very disappointed when she learns that she is going to be apprenticed to a paper magician. She had her heart set on being a smelter and working with metals. But, since there are only currently 12 paper magicians, there is a need to apprentice more students to this kind of magic. Ceony is pretty sure that there are so few because paper magic is so useless.

Then she meets Magicia Emery Thane who is only about ten years older than she is. He is an enigmatic sort but treats her with kindness. In fact, when he learns that she is missing the dog who was her companion at magic school, he makes her a dog of paper that she names Fennel. The dog becomes her companion on her adventures. And, oh, what adventures...

When Thane's ex-wife who has turned to dark, forbidden magic steals his heart, Ceony quickly makes him one of paper. But that just buys a little time. She has to pursue the evil magician - the Excisioner - and get Thane's heart back. The Excisioner manages to trap Ceony in Thane's heart. She has to find her way out in order to save him. As she travels through his heart, she learns all sorts of things about him. She finds herself falling in love with him while she is on this journey.

I can't wait to read THE GLASS MAGICIAN to find out what happens next.
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LibraryThing member Sarah_Beaudette
Magic is so overdone in YA that it's nice to find a unique way to do it that actually works. I admit, the idea of a magician being able to use magic only with the man made material he/she has bonded with runs the risk of being boring. That's exactly what the heroine, Ceony Twill, fears when she's
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forced to bond with paper instead of metal due to a shortage of paper magicians, or folders. I agreed with her, and it took me a few tries to submerge myself in her world, but once there my interest was piqued. The setting is a turn of the century London, where magicians are part of the fabric of society just as much as gardeners and lawyers. At first, the setting was too gray and the idea of folding a sheet of paper into a lifelike crane not alluring enough for me, but Ms. Holmberg soon comes up with much more interesting ways to pit paper-folding Ceony against her excisioner foe, a magician who uses human flesh to produce ghastly results. After an interesting journey through the heart of her mentor (literally) in an attempt to save his life, Ceony discovers a new form of magic that blends her talents and promises to make an exciting sequel. Not the best fantasy YA ever, but worth a read esp if you're a closet or not-so-closet fan of the HP set.
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LibraryThing member Sarah_Beaudette
Magic is so overdone in YA that it's nice to find a unique way to do it that actually works. I admit, the idea of a magician being able to use magic only with the man made material he/she has bonded with runs the risk of being boring. That's exactly what the heroine, Ceony Twill, fears when she's
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forced to bond with paper instead of metal due to a shortage of paper magicians, or folders. I agreed with her, and it took me a few tries to submerge myself in her world, but once there my interest was piqued. The setting is a turn of the century London, where magicians are part of the fabric of society just as much as gardeners and lawyers. At first, the setting was too gray and the idea of folding a sheet of paper into a lifelike crane not alluring enough for me, but Ms. Holmberg soon comes up with much more interesting ways to pit paper-folding Ceony against her excisioner foe, a magician who uses human flesh to produce ghastly results. After an interesting journey through the heart of her mentor (literally) in an attempt to save his life, Ceony discovers a new form of magic that blends her talents and promises to make an exciting sequel. Not the best fantasy YA ever, but worth a read esp if you're a closet or not-so-closet fan of the HP set.
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LibraryThing member Sarah_Beaudette
Magic is so overdone in YA that it's nice to find a unique way to do it that actually works. I admit, the idea of a magician being able to use magic only with the man made material he/she has bonded with runs the risk of being boring. That's exactly what the heroine, Ceony Twill, fears when she's
Show More
forced to bond with paper instead of metal due to a shortage of paper magicians, or folders. I agreed with her, and it took me a few tries to submerge myself in her world, but once there my interest was piqued. The setting is a turn of the century London, where magicians are part of the fabric of society just as much as gardeners and lawyers. At first, the setting was too gray and the idea of folding a sheet of paper into a lifelike crane not alluring enough for me, but Ms. Holmberg soon comes up with much more interesting ways to pit paper-folding Ceony against her excisioner foe, a magician who uses human flesh to produce ghastly results. After an interesting journey through the heart of her mentor (literally) in an attempt to save his life, Ceony discovers a new form of magic that blends her talents and promises to make an exciting sequel. Not the best fantasy YA ever, but worth a read esp if you're a closet or not-so-closet fan of the HP set.
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LibraryThing member cjordan916
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member Erika.D
Loved this book!! I can't wait to read the second book. Exciting and funny, filled with action and details that filled my head with magic! Strong, enjoyable female character. Focusd on magicians--good and bad. Magical!
LibraryThing member TooBusyReading
The beginning of this story of a young woman newly apprenticed to a paper magician got off to a slow start for me. Unfortunately, the pace did not pick up much, although there was more action, and I found myself speed-reading just to finish the book. Or course, there was magic involved. But the
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trip through a human heart interspersed with various landscapes just got rather ho-hum.

There was a villain, and lots of blood, which wasn't especially scary. There was one scene in which dead bodies, children, adults, animals, were described, and I didn't like that at all. Not especially scary, just too grisly.

I did enjoy the paper creations that came to life, especially Fennel. While I did finish this book, I have no inclination to read the later ones in this series.
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LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
If I could have magic powers, the main characters have the kind of magic powers that I would want.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
If I could have magic powers, the main characters have the kind of magic powers that I would want.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
If I could have magic powers, the main characters have the kind of magic powers that I would want.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
If I could have magic powers, the main characters have the kind of magic powers that I would want.
LibraryThing member ladycato
I received a free copy of the book at an Amazon/47North event at WorldCon 2015.

This short novel is an easy read with pleasant leads, but at the same time felt uneven to me. I loved the start of the book--the concept of paper magic is fascinating, and Emery is a fantastic teacher even when Ceony is
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a bit bitchy to start. She didn't want paper magic as her life's work--it's regarded as weak and very few practice it--but hoped for something like smelting instead. However, just as she's starting to learn cool things from Emery, he's brutally attacked by an excisioner who steals his heart. No one else wants to pursue the thief, so Ceony takes it apart herself to do that... which is not a very intelligent move. This is the point where I felt like the book really faltered. Ceony becomes trapped in Emery's heart and witnesses many of his key life events. She doesn't have much agency. She hurries through to survive but it's an effective maze. Her new paper magic doesn't play a huge role until it gets closer to the end.

It really felt to me like the fascinating momentum from the start was lost when she enters his heart. It's not a bad book by any means; on the contrary, I'm going to pass it along to my mom to see what she thinks. But would I read on in the series? Probably not. Not unless I sure that Ceony would have the chance to take control of her own destiny in a stronger way, and for the amazing magic in this world to be given more opportunity to shine.
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LibraryThing member BookConcierge
Nineteen-year-old Ceony Twill has graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, so it is with reluctance that she arrives at the home of Magician Emery Thane to begin her apprenticeship as a folder – a paper magician. She had always wanted to work with
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metal, but she was assigned here because of a shortage of magicians in this specialty; Thane is one of only twelve practicing this specialty. Her apprenticeship has barely begun, however, when an evil practitioner – an Excisioner – invades the house and takes Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony sets out to retrieve the organ, armed with little more than a pile of paper.

I read this only to fulfill a challenge. It was a fast read because there is nothing complicated about Holmberg’s writing, and she frequently repeats herself. (How many times did Ceony’s fingers/skin tingle?) I do give Holmberg credit for creating a strong heroine; Ceony is courageous, resolute, quick-thinking, determined. Thane on the other hand is about as flat as the paper which is his medium. I did not believe in the love story.

This debut (and book 1 in a series) seems to be an obvious attempt to ride the coattails of The Night Circus. Even the cover design is reminiscent of that earlier (and far better) work).
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Pages

232

Rating

½ (604 ratings; 3.6)
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