Title: The Paper Magician
(The Paper Magician Trilogy #1)
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
First published: September 1st 2014
Finished reading: October 29th 2015
Pages: 224
Rating 2,5qqq

“Faith is a very personal thing, really. Just because you don’t meet with a group of people once a week who believe everything exactly the way you do doesn’t mean you don’t believe in something.”


I admit I mostly picked up my copy of The Paper Magician because of the beautiful cover. The blurb of this novel sounds really interesting as well, but this promise lacks proper execution. I had a love/hate relationship with both Charlie N. Holmberg‘s prose and the characters. I really enjoyed the paper folding descriptions and some of the historical references, but somehow the fact that half of the story literally took place inside the heart of Magician Emery Thane just didn’t do it for me. Both his character and Ceony Twill switched between being interesting, cliche and acceptable so many times that it became annoying… And the Excisioner as a character felt mostly flat. The paper folding magic in itself is a really original idea and I really wanted to enjoy The Paper Magician, but overall it just didn’t do it for me. I ended up giving it the benefit of the doubt with a 2,5 star rating, but I don’t think I will continue the series at this point.


Ceony Twill graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, but somehow she never got to pick her own element for her apprenticeship. Paper is the weakest element, and Ceony is quite upset she is forced to learn paper magic instead of bespelling metal. Once she is bonded to paper, that will be her only magic for as long as she lives… But Magician Emery Thane turns out to be a more than interesting teacher and Ceony soon finds herself being quite interested in paper magic. She also learns more about the dangers of forbidden magic when an Excisioner rips Thane’s heart from his chest with dark flesh magic… Ceony is still an apprentice with only the weakest element at her side, but she is determined to face the evil magician anyway. Will Ceony be able to beat her and save her teacher’s life?


Even when I’m writing my summary, I keep thinking of how promising The Paper Magician sounds. The idea of paper magic is really original and it has all the signs this could be a great read, but the final product simply didn’t convince me. The plot didn’t feel as strong and the scenes inside Thane’s heart were just plain weird. I liked the paper folding descriptions (and most of the other descriptions for that matter), but both characters and prose felt a bit weak at points. All in all it was unfortunately mostly a disappointment…