Despite the mixed reviews, I actually enjoyed Charlie Holmberg’s “The Paper Magicians”. The first in a series, which I believe is going to be a trilogy, iWt is by no means the “perfect” novel, but there is something incredibly charming about it, and I really liked the magic system/world that Holmberg creates.
Bonded to a magic that she is not passionate about, Ceony Twill, finds herself apprenticed to Emery Thane, a talented paper magician, who also happens to conveniently be attractive, mysterious and a total bachelor. But before she has a chance to embrace her new area of study, Thane’s past catches up with him and sets Ceony off on a mission to literally fight for his heart.
While the attraction between Thane and Ceony felt a little bit sudden (think Twilight fast forwarded a MILLION times), I liked the two characters together. Ceony is also a character I enjoyed getting to know, and I think she is written with a lot of heart. The best part of the novel, and where the magic truly lies (har har har), is in the world that Homberg builds. I loved his concept of paper magic, and also adored the characters like Jonce and Fennel that he populated the book with. There are flaws- the pacing is a bit rushed, and some passages are confusing, but overall it didn’t ruin my reading experience.
I think I’ll skip the next book in the series (the reviews aren’t great), but am not against revisiting this decision in the future. What’s nice is that the Paper Magician also works as a standalone novel as well. Overall, a nice, much needed, mental break during the crazy holidays!