The Paper Magician

The Paper Magician

by Charlie N. Holmberg


$13.46 $14.95 Save 10% Current price is $13.46, Original price is $14.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 25


“Charlie is a vibrant writer with an excellent voice and great world building. I thoroughly enjoyed the Paper Magician.” —Brandon Sanderson, author of Mistborn and The Way of Kings

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.

From the imaginative mind of debut author Charlie N. Holmberg, The Paper Magician is an extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight readers of all ages.

Short-Listed for the 2015 ALA Fantasy Reading List

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477823835
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 07/08/2014
Pages: 214
Sales rank: 65,669
Product dimensions: 7.12(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. In addition to writing fantasy novels, she is also a freelance editor. She graduated from BYU, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and hopes to one day own a dog. The Paper Magician is her debut novel and the first in a whimsical series exploring a world of magicians who animate manmade materials. She currently lives with her family in Utah.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Paper Magician 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
Quite remarkable, especially as a first book. A fresh idea (with several nods to Harry Potter) filled with charming characters and interesting situations. I look forward to the following books.
Valerian70 More than 1 year ago
This is a book of anachronisms and I was slightly disappointed in it truth be told. I love a good fantasy tale and was really looking forward to this one - sadly I really couldn't settle in to the story or become particularly interested in any of the characters. Our heroine, Ceony, is an annoying brat on the whole who gave me the impression that she expected to get exactly what she wanted to the detriment of all others. I also found her feelings towards her Master, Emery Thane, to be rather uncomfortable and misplaced. The Magical Systems devised for the novel do work well and this is the only reason I gave this book 3 Stars. I really liked the premise that a Magician could only have power over manmade objects and that they had to specialise in a particular material. Of course, there is the "dark side" to be considered where manipulation of humans is the only way but you have to have a foil for the good don't you? In the case of this particular book I really don't think you do - I can see how this was used as a device to tell us more than we ever needed to know about Mg. Thane (yes the constant abbreviation to Mg. throughout the book did annoy me) but I would have been more interested in the larger world being created. There is much that doesn't marry up in this book, not least the sense of time and place. From the snippets of information given I am guessing this is supposedly Victorian London, or a version thereof but much of the dialogue is very Americanised - my pet peeve is the use of Mom, it would have been Mother or Ma. The geography doesn't stack up or the time it would take to travel between Solihull and London by carriage. For some reason the paper dog also irritated me - probably because the enchantment meant that he was very robust and seemed to scamper about quite well in exceedingly damp conditions. I have books 2 and 3 in the series already and I am slightly regretting their hasty purchase. I will get around to reading them eventually but it is very definitely an eventually!
authorjmivie More than 1 year ago
This book series is AMAZING! I read all three within a week... I couldn't stop. The writing is fantastic and the characters are so lovable and believable!
SunshineRising2 More than 1 year ago
This novel was bizarre. I debated on whether or not I wanted to review it. I didn't love it. I wouldn't really recommend it personally as I did not enjoy it. This left me a bit at odds as to how to properly portray my thoughts. Let's just dive in. The Paper Magician is the first of a trilogy. My feelings for it changed from what they were in the beginning to how I felt toward the end. The writing was not bad at all; quite detailed and mature. The story I found was the lacking element here, which made it a sloggy read. (Sloggy is a term I use when I have gotten to a point in a book where I am too far to stop now, but have to force myself to reach the end. Variant: "Slog, slog, slog") I won't be seeking out the additional two in this series. The premise was great, the idea behind-the-story was original. The characterization did not do enough to make me care about these characters and that's what I think helps to drive the plot too for most tales. So really, there were two essential elements missing here. The cover is beautiful and quite fitting considering the story itself. I like that it took place during a Victorian-esque time. Overall, this book was mediocre to me. This isn't to say that others won't love it. I am not trying to dissuade anyone from at least checking it out if it sounds appealing to them. I am being nice and letting that hit the three star mark for the writing style alone. It was very well-written. I can not stress that part enough. Even with that achievement going for it, it lacked, well heart. For these reasons, I give the middle of the road star rating to a book that started out so grand but fell oh so short. Read about other books I have reviewed here:
KittyTheVicariousBookworm More than 1 year ago
The Paper Magician is the first book of The Paper Magician Series. The story is set in 1902 in London. Nineteen year old Ceony Twill has just graduated from Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined and is excited to begin her apprenticeship as a Smelter, a magician who controls metal. However, she is informed that due to a shortage of Folders, magicians who control paper, she will be assigned to apprentice in this field instead. As the only Folder in the London area, Magician Emery Thane accepts Ceony as his apprentice. The eccentric magician’s past quickly catches up with them, leading to an attack by Lira the Excisioner. Excisioners operate outside the law because the material they are able to control is human flesh. Ceony must do whatever she can in order to save Magician Thane, including following a dangerous Excisioner and being trapped inside a human heart. I feel like most of this story flowed well and it was an enjoyable read. There were quite a few things that had me confused, such as the use of contemporary speech in a story set in the early 20th century and Ceony’s varying skill level. The book ends with the finality of a standalone but left me with quite a few questions, which I am hoping the next book of the series will answer for me. Also, it seemed to me like the romance in this story came out of nowhere. I did very much enjoy reading this book and devoured it in a matter of hours. For this review and more, please visit my blog at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book this whimsical and adventure was thrilling it was an outstanding book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
19269684 More than 1 year ago
Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of this lovely book. The Paper magician attracted me so, with it's fusion of My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins, with just a teaspoon of Harry Potter! Sadly, the pages within are not as classy or as enchanting. A young, obstinate apprentice of paper magic sets herself onto a quest to save her master, Magician Thane from death. He was attacked by a women, his heart stolen before his apprentice's eyes! So young Ceony sets out to save him and stop the evil woman who used blood magic called Excision. Deadly... Don't get me wrong, the story was entertaining. I loved envisioning the origami birds and I especially love Fennel- the paper pooch, but it wasn't enough. The story was boring, the characters were one-dimensional, and it all felt forcefully fast. The admiration that developed between the two was barely there- for her to run off that way, to exact her revenge was off to me.... For the rest of the review: *This book is from my personal library.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
3.5 for this one. I guess I can add this to books I started off reading, liking even but wanted to take a short break, thus coming to it later…later on. Finally of course, read where I left off and enjoyed this book. Thanks to a friend’s review, this sounded interesting. And it was. I mean, right from the start you like the two main characters, Ceony and Emery. Then there’s Lira, who I couldn’t help but be reminded of Regina from Once Upon a Time. With Emery Thane, how he’s described in the book, I was reminded of Eddie Redmayne for some reason. I don’t know it made sense to me I guess. Anyway, what I liked about this was while the pace was slow, it kind of fit with this. Even though I did wanted the story to move along. I get what it was going for but still. I didn’t mind it that much. That and the writing style was really good, especially the paper folding. Moment with Emery and Ceony are adorable, the dog too. It added a bit of character development to them in a way. I appreciate that book. And the romance while light is hinted at but the focus is all on the story. Basically a good start to a new series and already want to read the next book.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Long before her admission to the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony Twill wanted to be a Smelter. Instead, the nineteen-year-old is told that she will be a Folder apprenticed to Magician Emery Thane. Worse, once Ceony bonds to paper her fate will be sealed. She will never be able to manipulate any other magic. Nothing about Ceony's apprenticeship with Magician Thane is quite what she expected. Instead of a cold and disinterested teacher, Mg. Thane is kind and keen to show Ceony that even lowly paper magic can have its wonders. Ceony also learns, firsthand, that there is a darker side to magic when an Excisioner--a magician who manipulates flesh--rips Emery's heart from his chest. Desperate to save her teacher, Ceony sets out after the Excisioner on a journey that will lead Ceony far from the safety of her apprenticeship and deep into the secret chambers of Emery's heart in The Paper Magician (2014) by Charlie N. Holmberg. The Paper Magician is Holmberg's first novel and the start of her Magician trilogy which continues with The Glass Magician and The Master Magician. The Paper Magician is a charming fantasy with strong crossover appeal. Elements of alternate history and steampunk aesthetics comes together to create a frothy and engrossing novel. Ceony is a thoughtful and pragmatic heroine. Although she is decidedly unenthused about her future as a Folder, Ceony is smart enough to know an opportunity to wield magic--any magic--is not one to be taken lightly. When her circumstances abruptly change after Emery's heart is stolen, Ceony also demonstrates pluck and resolve as she sets out to rescue it and save her teacher's life. Although outlandish at times (particularly while Ceony is inside Emery's heart) and not always perfectly paced, The Paper Magician remains a strong debut and a solid series starter. Ideal for readers of all ages. Recommended for fans of historical fantasy, steampunk and Victorian sensibilities. Possible Pairings: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Sabriel by Garth Nix, His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, The Other Teddy Roosevelts by Mike Resnick, The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud, Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
AzureStrawberry More than 1 year ago
Well well well…ok, sorry for the Maleficent introduction but, you know, with magic and all this stuff XD… anyway, what a really nice story! Today (and it’s monday) I started in a really good mood because of it. So thanks thanks thanks to the author. ¿ The Paper Magician is original and funny, with dark moods but light at the end of the tunnel. It reminded me a bit of those old Disney movies I loved watching as a child and still look when I get the chance (see Bedknobs and Broomsticks) mixed with a Goosebumps short novel, you know. It’s not a children’s novel, it’s for adults (and maybe YA) which has some good elements that bring you a little in the past. The magic of paper is, in my opinion, the great idea of this author. Ceony must learn what this entails and the reader with her. Therefore, while we follow Thane’s lessons it seem to see an origami master at work, teaching his protege the art of paper folds… but with the power to animate his creations. Simply fabulous! A beautiful creation that will accompany the hero in her adventure is a little dog that Thane gives her when she arrives at his home, to make her feel less alone. A dog that folds out when needed and can be tucked in your purse. Convenient, isn’t it?! :) Despite a small slip of the author when Ceony first clash with her nemesis …it seemed to me a forced scene for the purposes of the story… the book manages to keep the reader intrigued and amused. And there are also some gruesome scenes that might make a good read for Halloween, because when the story says that “the dark magician 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” well, it’s literally true. Ceony’s journey will unfold in the very heart of Thane with really great description and a really good imagination from the author. Finally, there is also a romantic side that is only at the beginning and will develope in the second novel “The Glass Magician”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
“The Paper Magician”, by Charlie N. Holmberg, is a fun fantasy novel with some steampunk leanings mixed in for good measure. The story itself, about a young magician’s apprentice named Ceony training under, well, a paper magician, is imaginative and a new take on magic.  I, for one, would never have considered paper to be used as a form of magic, but with the parallels to the art of origami explored within the novel, it all comes alive. The world is complex and whimsical, with just the right touch of evil lurking in the shadows.  The characters are well-developed, and their histories are revealed in what has to be the most unique way I have ever read.  Which, while being a high point of the novel, is unfortunately also its biggest flaw. In the revelation, which is most of the second half of the story, it becomes muddled and bogged down, leading to a sluggish read.  A bit of editing and clarification here and there would have done wonders for the flow.  As it stands, what could have been wonderful became somewhat mediocre by the stilted narrative often throwing me out of the story altogether. That being said, the ending left me wanting to read the next book in the series, and I am hoping the issues in “The Paper Magician” do not reoccur, as it really does hold the promise of a fun and engaging series that can be read by middle readers on up through adults. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
FletcherR More than 1 year ago
A really inventive take on magic After Harry Potter, magic seems a bit overdone, but this is a really unusual take on magic. In this world, magicians are tied to particular materials--glass, metal, paper, etc. They can manipulate only that medium. This is a unique presentation of the magic genre, and really inventive! That device helps pull the story along, and really kept me engaged. The only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 stars was that I felt the book was a bit rushed at times. This makes sense because it's the first book in a series, and like Harry Potter the first book is short and somewhat fast, and built to see if there is an audience. I've yet to read the second book, but I am hoping the author slows things down a bit and expands on the details as this series grows. It's a really good book to read, and I'd love to see the whole series expand and become richer and more complex. Very much worth a read!
itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
This was a very interesting concept. I was intrigued. The book started out slowly, but I found that I was interested in what was happening. While the book ended up being just okay, I found that it was interesting enough to at least keep me reading. Ceony is a magician, who completed the magician school in just one year, with hopes of being bonded to metal. But instead, she is assigned to paper, because there are so few left in the world. She is sure that Folding is the most boring and useless kind of magic, so she heads to her apprenticeship with a heavy heart. Ceony was an interesting character, but I still don't know how I feel about her. I mean, she seemed nice, seemingly, but annoyingly so. It grated on my nerves. Like, of course she is such a good cook, and is so smart and is selfless enough to give up her dreams of being a Smelter and has no fault. She definitely has a holier-than-thou attitude. But she was brave (or stupid) enough to go after the Excisioner when no one else could to save Magician Thane, so that must count for something. Magician Thane himself was quite the mystery. He seemed very absent-minded, but still kind and fun. I do think we should have gotten to know him better, seeing as how we did go traipsing through his heart and all. That was really the part that sold it to me, was the magic. It was a unique take, and the being trapped in Thane's heart was interesting. The different chambers, what they all meant, and how everything connected together. Ceony actually fighting Lira seemed a bit unbelievable, however.  Although I had a few problems, ultimately I was taken in by the story, and feel that this has the potential to be a really good series.
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
The Paper Magician, Charlie N. Holmberg Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA One of the things about reading a debut book is that it’s a leap into the unknown, you’ve no idea of the writing style of the author. I love books about magic though, and this sounded such fun I couldn’t resist it. I’m really glad I did as it’s a fabulous, magical read. Its classed as Teens and YA, but it’s one of those that really has enough appeal, and is written strongly enough to appeal to all ages. Its not a dumbed down language type of novel either – so many YA reads are potentially interesting to older readers but I find the language so simplistic and bland that I switch off. Not here, I was interested right from the first page. Ceony is a great character, she’s done magical school on a scholarship and now is apprenticed to Mg Thane as a Folder, a magician that works in paper. She really wanted to work with metals, as a Smelter but there’s a huge shortage of Folders with only 12 remaining, so she accepts her fate though inside she’s still a little chagrined, paper seems so boring. Its not though, and soon she’s learning how to create animated creatures and bring story books to life. Everything is going well and then...along comes someone from Mg Thane’s past and disaster strikes. Ceony by now is halfway in love with Emory Thane, and can’t just sit back and let him die, but uses what she’s learned to try to save him. That takes us on a magical ( literally and mentally ) journey, where we learn about some of both Ceony’s and Emory’s history though I’m sure we’ve still lots more to learn. At first, when Ceony was – how can I put it without spoilers – when she’s on a special journey, I thought it was a bit dull but then it took me on a ride though Emory’s memories, and the things she saw and learned were fascinating. I’ve always had a secret admiration of magic and wished it was real. I recall age 4 when I asked dad for a magic wand for Christmas, entranced by the things Sooty ( a UK childrens TV prog hand puppet ) did with his. Dad said they were very expensive and he’d not be able to afford anything for everyone else – my reply was I could just magic it...didn’t get one though! There’s still a part of me that has a hankering for it to be real, and the way its created here, by use of spells alongside physical substances is so entrancing – I just fell right into the world alongside Ceony, and that's what I really want in a story, to be taken away from the real world into an imaginary one. There are two more books to come, and I’m looking forward to where the story goes next. Its not a cliff-hanger, in fact you could read this as a standalone, but I think once into it like me you’ll want more. Stars: Five, fabulous read. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
Birdflower More than 1 year ago
Elegantly written, fresh and imaginative, this is the magical book I've been looking for this fall season. The ending managed to be satisfying and complete but open to new possibilities. I've just ordered the sequel, The Glass Magician, and can hardly wait to see where this series goes.
Bloggabook More than 1 year ago
A very entertaining read with so much potential. When I read a fantasy story I want it to have something outside the standard dragon/maiden/wizard formula and this one delivers. A very unique world set inside out real world. Magicians can animate, shape, and bend items created by man. Paper, Glass, Rubber, and Flesh are all examples we are presented with in this installment.  The story is well written and the language and prose pulls the reader into this new world. The characters are rounded enough to begin to give us a picture of what motivates them, but leaves plenty open for the following installments.  The story itself was more of a letdown. A huge climb up the rollercoaster hill and back into the station without the big dropoff. There just wasn't that release moment I was hoping for. The story moves with such a bright pace for half the book then hits a wall when the main character is faced with a huge obstacle.  That obstacle becomes so repetitious that it drags the pace way down. Yes, there is some character background in this section, but not enough to push through this quagmire.