Book Review: The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #1) – Charlie N. Holmberg

2 stars

Title: The Paper Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Publisher: 47North
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


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 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.


This book is a bit all over the place. It feels like this book didn’t really know where it wanted to go. I think the rest of the series has much potential and that this just is a not so good start to what can be a very good series.

I was a bit confused by the overall story. I’m going to explain this while trying to spoil nothing, so if I’m sounding a bit vague, that’s because I’m trying to save the story for everyone who wants to read this book. At one point Ceony gets locked up somewhere and she starts having visions of her teacher, Emery Thane. It weren’t the most interesting of visions and it got boring quite fast. Basically it was Emery’s vision in a nutshell. I thought that it would be 10 pages of quite confusing visions at the most. But it lasted a full 40%(!!!) of the complete book. Why?? Why would you do that? The book was basically quite good before the visions and quite good after the visions. But that means it’s 40% of totally not good at all.

Another thing that was a bit confusing was the world building. I really struggled with understanding in which day and age they were living. At one point she tells that in her previous school, the lights were kept on at night by students who were good with fire magic. So, I thought that it was situated before electricity. But later on in the book she mentioned that there was electricity. I’m completely confused. The whole world wasn’t very consistent and it made it a bit confusing at times.

Don’t get me wrong. There really are many things I did like about this book. The overall feel of the story was very pleasant. The magic was awesome. It took me some time to get used to the magic, because it’s a bit different from what I’m used of magic. But the concept itself is really cool.

Ceony wasn’t one of my favourite characters in this book. It’s mentioned all the time that she’s really bright and has a perfect memory and never forgets anything. But she acts quite dumb in many scenes, she makes the same mistakes 20 times and overall isn’t really good at making connections. She has 10000000 different visions and she learns in the first one that she can’t talk to the people in those visions. But, in every. Single. One of them she tries to communicate with them. Just stop communicating. Stop it, stop being completely stupid. She’s also a bit of a drama queen. In the beginning of the book when she just met her new teacher. She freaks out quite badly because he’s working in his office at 1am. Is it that strange that people are working at that time? Surely he must be a serial killer or something!!
I’m quite the Emery fan. Although I didn’t get the romance. It was a bit forced and to quick. There are so many books left in this series, why is it necessary that they fall in love right away? They’ve known each other for a month. As long as there won’t be a love triangle in the second book, I’m fine though!

I’m definitely going to read the other books in this series. As long as the number of visions are less than in this book, I’m sure I will quite like the rest of the series!

Tell me what you think!