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The Paper Magician

(The Paper Magician #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  78,396 ratings  ·  7,993 reviews
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 s
Paperback, 222 pages
Published September 1st 2014 by 47North
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Elisa As this series seems to be set in an era somewhere between the Victorian and the 20's , the romance element is more....wholesome. There are a few kiss…moreAs this series seems to be set in an era somewhere between the Victorian and the 20's , the romance element is more....wholesome. There are a few kisses and one thought of the heroine "wishing he were less a gentleman and more a rogue" (which honestly made me snicker). The whole series was a delightful spin on a gentler age with more "light" magic than "dark".(less)

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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  78,396 ratings  ·  7,993 reviews

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Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: wont-touch-again
Have you ever had someone try to tell you a story. Because they are excited you get excited and can't wait to hear it! But they are speaking so fast that they are leaving out important details which makes it impossible to follow the story. So you politely nod your head and pretend to listen even though you are zoning out and thinking of other things... Did I bring in all the groceries? What was the name of my high school math teacher? At the same time your friend really wants to emphasize her st ...more
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
“One more,” she promised herself. “One more until the end. And even if there’s no door to freedom, at least you know you tried. One more, Ceony.”
This was a good book. At the beginning, I was getting solid heavy magical Daddy Long Legs feels...which descended solidly into Dickensian feels, more specifically, A Christmas Carol. Then it became nigh unbearable, because constant flashbacks are not for me, no, sir. Excellent premise. A heroine that I liked. It was just a shame that this turned out
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This book was sweet and magical 😊

Ceony was hoping to apprentice to become a smelter or chef, but Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined had something different in mind when they set her up with Mg. Thane.

Ceony wasn't happy with this at all as she didn't see any use to being a paper magician. But she was wrong, wrong indeed.

Mg. Thane had a paper skeleton as a butler! How freaking cool, but Ceony didn't like it at all. Mg. Thane got on her good side though when he made her a paper dog sin
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Oct 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, read-2014, netgalley
I give up. I tried I really did. DNF'd at 51%..I just can not make myself continue. I always feel bad when I don't finish a book but this one just has not captured my interest in the least.

The premise is good. The story however, just bobbles along and I'm soooooo pooped from reading it that I want to smash small china doll heads into the wall.
I don't care for the main characters..don't care for the story..just don't care..STOP judging me!

The only part I liked was the paper folding.

I receive
booksnpenguins (wingspan matters)
“A heart that’s known love is stronger than one that hasn’t, did you know that?”


Mood: currently punching myself in the face for forgetting just how good The Paper Magician actually is.
Also, I didn't remember the second part of this book to be so dark and creepy. Damn, I loved every second of it. And, if possible, I love Ceony and Thane (and Jonto and Parsley) and the writing and the setting and the whole magic system even more, now.

Can't wait to finally start book 2!


on the tune of ba
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book honestly has A LOT of promise. The writing isn't bad, even if there were many times I didn't feel the author was true to time period or location. The subject matter was interesting and I liked the idea of the world of magic being split this way, bonding to a specific medium. It was also interesting that the world of magic was generally an accepted part of life in this realm of reality. But there were some big flaws I couldn't overlook, including a desperately dragging second half that ...more
I'm pretty picky about my historical fiction. I want it to be, well, historical. If it's set in the early 1900's, I don't want the characters to use modern slang, like something being "shot to hell." I want them to talk and relate to each other as people of the period did. Granted, it does make it tricky for the authors sometimes - to make characters that fit in with historical social conventions but that are still appealing to contemporary audiences. If all you do is take characters who talk an ...more
Maria V. Snyder
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The magical system in the book and series, is very unique as magicians bond to certain man-made materials like paper, glass, steel, etc... and once bonded they can use them. For example the main protagonist, Ceony can make a paper bird and it will then "come to life" and she can use it to scout for danger or find a person.

The setting is England around Victorian times, but doesn't have that "woman can't do [fill in the blank]" vibe. Ceony is very likable and the story
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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So this week I decided to read a whole bunch of books I've been anticipating for a while because I am really bad at reading the books I already own. One of these is THE PAPER MAGICIAN, which has been on my Kindle for several years. The mixed reviews kind of put me off. People were saying it didn't make good use of its world-building and, I guess, had an unnecessary romance (one of my peeves). But I was still really curious about the idea
Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)
"For the past five years, Ceony had wanted to be a Smelter. However, while most graduates… got to choose what material they dedicated their craft to, Ceony had been assigned."

This book was very, very frustrating.

Have you ever read a book and wished another author would steal the premise and write a much better book?

The premise was fascinating, original and clever. A recent graduate of the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony had her heart set on becoming a smelter. You can
Doug Warren
Sep 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
A note before I start the review. If the author ever happens to read this, or anyone considering writing a book based in a different time or place--just saying it is set in England at the turn of the 20th Century doesn't make it so. It is very hard to get into it when everything sounds like modern day language and dialogue. It sounds exactly how people speak today. Even when the story told me the year and the place, I had a hard time feeling it. Read D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers. That's how ...more
I was trying to think of what was wrong with this book and the only thing I could come up with is that is too wishy-washy. When all the details, from the magic rules to the setting to the time to the characterisation, are as so vague it's impossible to get invested in a book.

First up, the positives. The imagery was pretty and impressive. The first third or so of the book had all these cool paper things coming to life and it was so nice. It had a similar quality to The Night Circus. It had the gu
R.K. Gold
At the moment I'm saying 3 but it's possibly 3.5

As usual, my reviews contain spoilers so if that bothers you stop reading now.

So, I wasn't bored reading this book but it did leave me questioning the point of it all. Let me begin this by saying I think it was an interesting concept, I have faith it is going to be an entertaining series, and the writing was fine. That being said, it was a short book and a substantial amount of it took place through sort of flashbacks. What I mean is they weren't f
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Full Review

Liked the beginning and the end, but the middle was sloooow

What I liked
- I liked the unique concept of the story. Before reading, I thought ‘The Paper Magician’ was some sort of metaphor but it’s actually about a magician that can manipulate paper. It may seem boring (and the MC thought that at first) but the manipulations were actually quite interesting. There are also other magical affinities such as fire, glass and metal. There is also the dark affinity which is the manipulatio
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
How many others had she judged and set aside like that, thinking them no more than a one-sided piece of paper?

In The Paper Magician, Ceony, a new graduate of Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined she has been forced to study a part of magic no one else will - paper. Upset about not being able to choose to go into the medium of her choice, she is surprised to discover Mg. Thane is nothing like she expected. When he is attacked by a Excisioner, a magician using flesh as a medium, who then
The paper magic was really fun, but literally half the book is spent in someone's memories, which started to drag, and didn't seem to serve much of a purpose besides fostering a one-sided infatuation that I didn't care for much.

Then there's the blood magician threat, which an entire force of magicians and police have been fighting - but (view spoiler)
5 "exactly what I needed right now" stars.

The Paper Magician turned out to be a quick and delightful read. Set in 1901 London, it gave me a distinct magic-y feeling I love so much. The atmosphere reminded me of Howl's Moving Castle somehow.

It can easily be read as a standalone - the ending is well-rounded in a way that allows but does not require a sequel.

Even though the MCs are 19 and 30 years old, the book itself and the world depicted in it are a little naive, as if the book is meant for you
Mostly, this was just badly paced. I liked the beginning of this SO MUCH. The slow unfolding of the world, Ceony learning about paper, the dynamic between the characters.

But then the plotty stuff happened! And, first of all, I think it happened too quickly. I wasn't invested enough in the world and characters yet. And I didn't think Ceony knew enough yet.

And then the plotty stuff dragged ON AND ON. I was so frustrated with it, but had read enough that I didn't want to DNF it.

And I was all ready
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
3 Stars:


I finished this book 17 days ago and I’m just now actually writing this review…


Oh well, better late than never right?

Charlie Holmberg's book The Paper Magician takes place in a fictionalized Victorian era where magicians are bound to one element—meaning they can only preform magic using that component. The story begins with the reluctant Ceony beginning her apprenticeship in the arts of paper magic, under the care of one Emery Thane.


I love, love, love this idea. Everyth
Oct 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
DNF 51%

Another book that was just not for me. I honestly try not to make a habit of binning books, however life is too short for bad books and I can only put up with so much. I feel like my lack of enjoyment of this book was my penance for picking a book based on its cover ( which is awesome btw).

I loved the concept but the execution just didn't work for me. The main character was alright but nothing special. I had no real investment to anyone or anything in this story. Hardly anything happened
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Amazon Publishing and NetGalley.)

“Material made by man, your creator summons you. Link to me as I link to you through my years until the day I die and become earth.”

This book started out quite promising, but unfortunately took a big turn for the worse.

I found Ceony quite a rude person, and she was also really, really nosey! She was rude to her new employer, rude about his house, and whenever given t
In this story, a magically inclined individual versed in the art of Folding can create 'living' creatures, braided belts that protect and vitalize the body, and even beating hearts - all out of Folded paper. This is not your mama's origami.

I was hoping for something a bit darker with this Kindle-First freebie, but its fairytale air was charming in its own way. Although there are some semi-wicked sections, there is an overriding innocence to it. The writing was fine, the paper magic was differen
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh, ya, fantasy
1.5 Stars.

Can you hear that?

That is the sound of all my hopes and dreams being crushed.

This book looked so good at the beginning; the characters were likeable and the magic idea was amazing. Magical animated origami sounds like something that was written just for me.

Can you image animating this?

Because I totally can. I'd be folding and animating random things all day long.

Then the problems start: the magical system has no specified set of rules and limitations. This of course means that at
Aisling Zena
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I have a feeling I read this at the right time and mood. I quite enjoyed it. For me, a sign of a good fantasy book is it's ability to transport you. And this one certainly did that for me.


I know that several of my GR friends couldn't get into this but I fell into it effortlessly. The setting is in the UK, in the early 1900s but magic exists. There's Smelters who bewitch metal, Polymorphs that manipulate Plastic, Gaffers who enchant glass and so on. Ceony has her heart set on being a Sm
Jamie Dacyczyn
Jan 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
2016: I was really looking forward to this one...But alas, it just didn't pan out. The author had a really interesting, whimsical concept: magicians are "bonded" to one particular "man-made" substance such as paper, plastic, metal (nevermind that metal is naturally occurring), rubber (also naturally occurring) etc. Our protagonist, Ceony, wanted to be bonded to metal, but was instead assigned to apprentice as a paper Folder (apparently for no reason other than there just weren't enough Folders, ...more
Jo (The Book Geek)
This book came along at just the right time for me. I needed something light and magical, and this book did what I expected. I loved the magic system. It was different, and I think it worked well. I particularly liked Ceony, the main character. She was interesting and bold, and I particularly loved the relationship that she formed with the dog. I liked her independence, and the the way that she wasn't treated like a second class citizen, just because she is female.
It isn't relevant, but the fro
Sylvia Mercedes
So, I DID like this one. I'm only giving it three stars because it was problematic in some ways. But once the action really hit, I was definitely caught up in the adventure! This was a late-into-the-night read for me because I couldn't stop turning those pages. The magic system was utterly unique and fascinating, and I loved watching the clever ways in which Ceony used her "useless" magic against such a formidable opponent. Epic!

Anyway, probably a 3.5 for me when all is said and done. It had it'
Ova - Excuse My Reading
This was a short and sweet read, I like Ceony and would love to read more of her adventures!

I loved the way Paper Magic works, although there are lots of books about magic, Holmberg still was able to create an imaginative and original way in magical world.

My only criticism would be that the actions developed a bit too quickly, but this seems like a trait in YA fiction so I am bypassing this and giving this book a 4 stars for the nice company.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I went into this one blind. It popped up on my kindle unlimited list and as I was looking for something different and had seen good reviews, I thought I'd give it a go.

I got a lot more than I expected.
I have to say I really enjoyed it and was spellbound by it.

I'm so glad i tried it, and can't wait to read the next in the series .
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This book is the first in a series; it is written in third person and is very easy to read. There is not any or very few cases of explicit language in this book. There are however several descriptions of body parts and blood, so if you are a bit squeamish, i wouldn't recommended this. But the book does have multiple flash backs - which I know some people do find off putting, I didn't mind then in this case as they moved the story along and helped me to understand the characters and world better. ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Paper Magician 3 stars 3 12 Aug 08, 2021 06:40PM  
Challenge Corner: The Paper Magician series by Charlie N Holmberg --> Starting January 9th 2020 2 7 Jan 21, 2020 04:17AM  
It Just Gets Stra...: Paper Magician 9 24 Apr 16, 2019 09:37AM  
Play Book Tag: The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg - four stars 2 13 Mar 12, 2019 01:11PM  
What did you think? 19 126 Feb 17, 2019 05:34AM  

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Charlie N. Holmberg is an award-winning, best-selling, and internationally published author of fantasy and romantic fiction. She was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters, who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. She currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at

Amazon: amzn

Other books in the series

The Paper Magician (4 books)
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