The Paper Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg

tl;dr - |✭✭✭½✩|

I enjoyed this book. It had a few moments where it felt as though it was dragging, but overall I really liked the story.

Description: Ceony Twill has just finished at the top of her school - Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, which means she is about to be bonded to one type of magical element - paper, metal, glass, or plastic. Normally, a student gets to choose what material they bond with, but unfortunately for Ceony she is assigned to paper since so few people choose that material. Ceony is very disappointed, she wanted to bond with metal, and becomes very wary about the magic involved with folding paper when she meets the magician she’s been apprenticed to - Emery Thane. He seems mad, and the magic seems unimpressive and useless. But as he teachers her more and more spells, Ceony becomes intrigued by the magic. Her eidetic memory makes learning spells easy for her, and Magician Thane is impressed with her skills. But as she continues her learning, she also learns about Excisioners - people who practice dark, flesh magic. And when a vicious excisioner comes in and rips Mg. Thane’s heart from his chest, Ceony knows she must do something to save her teacher.

So, I found this book on NetGalley as a "Read Now" book, and I'm glad I decided to give it a try! It was a nice story, and I liked the take on magic and bonding to a single element. Ceony is less than thrilled to be bonding to paper, as she thinks its rather useless. Nothing more than party tricks and decorations. I loved going through the learning process with Ceony, of all the different things you could do with paper magic, because I, too, thought it would be a rather lackluster material to bond to. 


And Magician Thane... oh boy. Sparkling green eyes that give away all his thoughts, dark wavy hair, scattered and very particular about his things. Mmm. I really like him. I can't lie, I am quite smitten with him! ha. 


Though the interaction between Mg. Emery Thane and Ceony.... I'm a little shaky on that one. She clearly becomes smitten with him pretty early on (and really, the way I picture him... not a strange thing to happen), though it seems to be rather unrequited. He is 30, and her teacher, and she is 19 and fresh out of school. Still, who doesn't want an attractive teacher? 


Also, the first part of the book is Ceony constantly complaining about having to bond to paper, and comparing it to what her like would be like had she bonded with smelting like she wanted to. While yes, we have to learn with her how wonderful bonding with paper can be, it gets rather tedious. She can be slightly petulant about it, though luckily it doesn't last too long. 

Diva Kid Does Not Want

So then the second half of the book starts. I mean, Emery's heart is ripped out about half way through the book which was unexpected. She's hardly learned anything about folding, but she just up and leaves to retrieve his heart and save her teacher. I mean, right on lady. She shows a lot of fight and snark in the beginning half of the book, but as she goes to retrieve Emery's heart and realizes just how little she knows about her own magic - let alone an Excisioner magic, she loses quite a bit of her snark for a while. She loses a bit of her fighting spirit, but that doesn't last too long.


An issue I did have with this book was how Ceony was the main character, but she was almost a secondary character. I understand that we are bound to learn more about Emery because she has to literally walk through his heart and his memories, but the revelation of Ceony's major life moments felt like it was just blown through. She has some serious moments that she has lived through, and there was neither any build up to them, nor was there any real attention given to those moments. And thats not really fair to Ceony. Yes, Emery has had more time for those life events to happen.... and I enjoyed learning about him and his history. But I wish Ceony had been given adequate time and fleshing out of her own past, her ghosts. 


Also, the heart thing... it started dragging here. I feel as though all the events (for the most part) that were revealed were important, and yet the story seemed to drag on. Ceony seems to linger too much, even though she is well aware of the fact that she as a strict time limit to stick to. And the action wasn't very well written (when it happened). There wasn't much suspense or build up, there wasn't any tension. 

James Franco Shrug

Anyways. I rather enjoyed the story, despite its flaws, and wanted to delve deeper into the world that was created. So I downloaded the next book on NetGalley! Review to come :)