Title: The Paper Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: The Paper Magician, book one
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book was given to me by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I'll start off this review by saying that it was a Read-Now featured title on Netgalley, and, after skimming a Goodreads review that Khanh posted last week, I decided to go for it. And I'm so very glad I did! The Paper Magician opens with the main character, Ceony Twill, meeting her master, Magician Thane. And the story goes on with a very reluctant Ceony learning the craft of Folding, that is, until her master's heart--literally--is stolen. Forced to go inside her master's heart, she must learn what exactly makes the mysterious Emery Thane tick, because if she doesn't, they might not get out alive..
First off, I want to say that I loved the premise of this novel--it was absolutely magical. The only problem was, the world-building itself was very vague. How, exactly, was the world structured by magicians? How were Excisioners formed? At times it was all I could think about: I need more world-building here!
But I digress. I loved the characters, Thane and Ceony in particular. Thane was so nuanced and complex, and I loved that, but I couldn't exactly follow what was going on during the later part of the novel. How did Ceony get into Thane's heart? How was that even possible, even in a world rife with both kinds of magic, good and bad? Ceony was the shining light of this lovely novel for me--I loved the way that she grew throughout the novel, from an inexperienced young woman to a magician in her own right. But as the novel went on, it was miraculous to see Ceony learn, and grow, in turn from Thane's own mistakes.
The ending was wonderful too, satisfying and sweet but not overly sappy.
The bottom line: Good start to a fun series, but the world-building needs serious work.