Monthly Archives: November 2014

Review: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

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I’ve been struggling with writing for an overlong time. When I finished this book, I started to push myself harder. I know I’m this little, barely important voice, but the book was so good I wanted to sing its praises anyway.

The Paper Magician is the story of a 19 year old girl named Ceony Twill. She’s fresh out of Tagis Praff Academy for the Magically Inclined and about to start her apprenticeship. Most graduates get to choose the method of their enchanting: metal, glass, paper, etc. Ceony didn’t get that luxury. Paper magicians (called Folders) are few and far between, so a handful of graduates got assigned to that craft. All in the name of balance. Ceony wanted to be a Smelter, that is, to work with metal and is more than a little annoyed.

Though she is resistant, she is quickly intrigued by her teacher, Magician Thane, and the work he does. With and without paper. It is apparent to her that there is more to him than meets the eye. Before she can figure him out, however, a sudden and scary event catalyzes a fantastical adventure.

I have previously extolled the virtues (and groaned at the follies) of Young Adult fiction and this is one of those books. It does not, however, fall prey to all the pitfalls of your standard teen lit. Yes, there is a love interest but no, there is not a love triangle. Not as such. Yes, there is a hard-headed lead character but she is not so willful as to be dangerous to herself. She is intelligent, measured and strong. She rushes to save the day when needed but doesn’t do so at the cost of anyone else. What’s more, she doesn’t completely fall apart at the first sign of trouble and seek someone to help her.

The writing is sublime. Simple enough to digest for younger readers and complex enough for hold overs like myself. You could scoff at some of the well-worn metaphors and over-reaching analogies, but, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be too engaged to manage it. This is a hearty, heartfelt recommendation. Do you like books? Books about magic? Books that are awesome? Read this book!

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