Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Glass Magician

The Glass Magician
by Charlie N. Holmberg
Recommended Ages: 13+

Ceony Twill, an apprentice to the paper magician (commonly known as a Folder) Emery Thane, has fallen in love with her master. She can hardly help it, after actually traveling through his heart in an adventure to save him from a blood magician who used to be his wife. But in a magical U.K. on a similar technological level to our world’s early 20th century, an intimate relationship between a master and apprentice would be highly scandalous. And anyway, he doesn’t act like he reciprocates her feelings.

And anyway anyway, they may not live to exchange passionate endearments, because evil magicians are after them again. Rather, they’re after Ceony, because they think she might be able to reverse what she did to freeze the female bad guy in the previous book. One of the new bad guys is another blood magician (Excisioner), who only needs to touch you once to gain the power to kill you with a flick of his wrist. About as bad is the other bad guy, a glass magician (Gaffer) like Ceony’s best friend Delilah, who can do amazing things (for example) with mirrors.

But don’t count a mere Folder out of the fight. Ceony manages to use folding paper to fly, build a bomb, shield objects from magical detection, and even create a moving, two-dimensional copy of herself. All these skills may not be enough, however, against fiends who are willing to blow up a factory, murder people indiscriminately, and do things that would make most people shudder. Worse still, one of them has discovered a secret that could alter the relationship between magicians and the materials they are bound to.

This novel has a powerful charge of danger, action, horror and magic in it, and romance is never far behind. Ceony sends many other emotions across just as powerfully – including, I’m afraid, guilt and grief. I find the combination irresistible, and the shape of magic in Ceony's world is fascinating and unique. This series, which started with The Paper Magician, continues after this book with two more, so far – The Master Magician and The Plastic Magician. I look forward to reading them both.

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