Book Review: The Plastic Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg

4 stars


Title: The Plastic Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Publisher: 47North
Release date: May 15th 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.

Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.

Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.

To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…


Before I start this review I want to make some things clear:

  • This is a spin-off of The Paper Magician trilogy. So, you better read those books first if you want the full package.
  • For me, this book was much better than the other three book. So, actually, it’s completely fine if you decide to not read the other three books, or read them afterwards or only read the first book or whatever floats your boat.
  • Because it’s not really necessary to read the trilogy before this book I won’t spoil anything that happened in the first three books. I’ll only compare them on some overall things that aren’t spoilers.


This had everything I missed in the original Paper Magician trilogy
I read the first two books of The Paper Magician Trilogy and sadly DNFed the third book, so I’ll never know how Ceony’s (main character in the trilogy) adventure ended. I wasn’t a fan and I couldn’t really take it anymore. That series had so much potential but lacked many details to make it work. This book started of so much better.

We follow Alvie, she’s an American girl who goes to study in London. She’s a real sweet heart and a feminist avant la lettre. Over all, the feminism doesn’t go much father than her deciding to wear slacks instead of the skirts, society wants her to wear. I don’t think I read a book that mentioned the word “slacks” as many times as this book did! What I’m trying to say is that it saddened me just a little bit that Alvie clearly was meant to be very futuristic and very modern for her time, but it never came through because it just stopped at her wearing slacks.


I loved the relaxed paced of the book compared to the hectic and neurotic feel of the trilogy.

The Plastic Magician was way more relaxed and the story itself overall was less over dramatic. It was just a good story with the right amount of magic and a tiny bit of tension. I really liked that the plot wasn’t only about “catching the bad guy”, but more about doing good. It was also the first time I really saw the full potential of the amazing magic system Charlie N. Holmberg created. In the first three books I was always a little bit disappointed with it, it looked like a cool idea but never really delivered for me. This book was much more fun and magical.

I liked all the character, I loved the little references to the characters from the trilogy. Alvie is a really adorable nerd and she is such a cutie. She had an adorable romance going on that was perfectly integrated in the story. I loved how some of the more insecure characters really developed into a more secure person. It made the book very reliable. I think that’s what I liked best about The Plastic Magician. It’s a magical story that is reliable at all times.


Tell me what you think!