We’ve made it to the last installment of the book review series for The Paper Magician trilogy! If you haven’t been following along, or just arrived here, check out the review for book one, The Paper Magician, here, and the review for book two, The Glass Magician, here.
So, on to book three, The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg.
Ceony Twill has become a skilled Folder, and thanks to some secret knowledge, can also use any of the other material magics. Her relationship with Magician Emery Thane has deepened, so he sends her to be tested by Magician Pritwin Bailey, a fellow Folder who despises Emery and, by extension, his apprentice. When a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes custody, she decides to track and stop him before he can do any more damage. But all of her skills might not be enough to defeat the one magic she doesn’t have.
Once again, the world of magic gets expanded – to my delight. In addition to the paper and glass magic, we now get some insight into rubber, fire, metal, and plastic.
(Ceony is a twit! Okay, I feel better now.) With her new knowledge of the varied magics, Ceony seems to become impossibly full of herself in this volume. Instead of going after the villain because of immediate danger or threat to those close to her, this time she goes running headlong into danger simply because she thinks she’s better than everyone else. Her ability to switch between magics makes her cocky and reckless. Once again, Emery has the perfect description:
“It’s like you have a checklist for dangerous criminals tucked into your pocket, and you won’t be satisfied until you’ve had a personal encounter with each.”
I still love Emery, though there’s less of him in this novel. He’s the calm voice of reason that Coeny desperately needs, whether she listens or not. The villain, Saraj, was entertaining, though there wasn’t as much of him as I might have liked. Ceony’s pursuit of him did make him seem less like an evil villain and more of a man on the defensive, though.
The magicians test, while preformed by the unkind Magician Bailey, was witnessed by a panel of other magicians, so, while still understandable, the forced separation of Ceony and Emery felt just that – forced.
Overall, this book was entertaining and worth the read. The ending was sweet, and I did like the way it closed the trilogy.
3.5 out of 5. A good showing, but the events felt a bit more manufactured this time around.
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