Book Reviews

Book Review: The Paper Magician

by Charlie N. Holmberg

publisher’s synopsis

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.

What I Liked:

-The magic system seemed really cool. I would have liked a little more explanation of how exactly it worked, but I’m assuming Holmberg did that more in further novels

-Fennel. Magical paper dogs are fun. 🙂

What I Struggled With:

-I should have seen this coming–with part of the story being set in a heart–but the descriptions were a little too bloody at times for my personal taste.

-The plot felt a little off-kilter. There really wasn’t a foundation for the budding romance between Ceony and Emery. Aside from the climax, Ceony really didn’t face any challenges in her quest to rescue Emery’s heart. It just didn’t quite click.


There is a brief scene where Ceony and Emery talk about religion. During their conversation, Ceony says that she pieces together what she likes from various religions and that what you believe should be a personal thing that you decide.

Final Thoughts:

A unique premise, but not for me.

Cautions: light-moderate romance; two instances of swearing; one instance of a swear word used for its original meaning; semi-graphic descriptions; semi-graphic violence; brief mention of a character finding a friend after they committed suicide; brief allusion to a man taking advantage of women; fortune reading; worldview (see Other)

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