I am so happy to share my review of The Paper Magician, because Charlie N. Holmberg is none other than my cousin! Like, her dad and my mom are siblings and we share a set of grandparents and it's just cool that I'm related to a published author!
This story takes place in a world of magic, but it's unique from any other fantastical magical world I've read about. There are different types of magic and to become skilled in a certain branch of magic you undergo an apprenticeship under an experienced magician. Ceony Twill just graduated Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, which was an experience she never dreamed she could have because of past mistakes and financial set-backs.
The different kinds of magic in the story are rubber, glass, paper, and metal. Ceony dreamed of becoming a Smelter--a magician bonded with metal--but supply and demand dictated she be assigned to work under Magician Emory Thane, a Paper magician. She's downcast and disappointed. But becoming a Paper magician is better than not becoming any kind of magician, so she accepts the assignment.
Emory Thane is a curious man, older than Ceony but not by too many years. She learns to see the beauty in being a Folder.
But Thane has a muddled past. A dark magician, an Excisioner who practices the dark and forbidden flesh magic, comes to the cottage where Coeny learns under Thane. Thane's heart is ripped out and the dark magician vanishes. Ceony sets off to save her mentor and learn the truths of his heart.
I loved the premise of the story and the curious new way this story of magic is presented. My ten-year-old daughter also read it and liked it quite a bit. When I asked her if she wanted to share any thoughts about The Paper Magician in my review, she answered, "It was really gory." Which made me laugh. Yeah, there's a bit of blood and flesh through the story, but it wasn't upsetting to me. She also liked the simple and direct story line and appreciated there weren't dozens of characters to keep straight in her mind. I liked Coeny's passion for persevering over a magician far stronger and experienced than herself. I think it's a wonderful first novel from my cuz.
You should read The Paper Magician before this upcoming November, when its sequel, The Glass Magician will become available.