• The Paper Magician

  • The Paper Magician, Book 1
  • By: Charlie N. Holmberg
  • Narrated by: Amy McFadden
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (5,953 ratings)

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The Paper Magician  By  cover art

The Paper Magician

By: Charlie N. Holmberg
Narrated by: Amy McFadden
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Publisher's summary

“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 fans of all ages.

Short-Listed for the 2015 ALA Fantasy Reading List 

©2014 Charlie N. Holmberg (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Paper Magician

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,442
  • 4 Stars
    1,989
  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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Performance
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Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The narrator needs to relax

What didn’t you like about Amy McFadden’s performance?

As soon as she started speaking I flinched. She sounds manic, as if she drank several cups of coffee before narrating. Her voice was so shaky and shrill I couldn't listen to the story

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107 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Excessive Discription Can't Hold Up A Poor Story

What disappointed you about The Paper Magician?

Someone needs to account for this terrible book being published. I have thus far never listen to a book, good or bad, that made me want to vent like this book has. It is probably the worst book I've read in a long time.
I was sucked in by others' reviews of this book, and the idea of materials magicians. I was quickly disappointed to learn that barely any of the book deals with magic. The main character Ceony has time to learn only paper animals, three paper animals, before going up against the antagonist.
The characters are so poorly written! The antagonist is obviously a bad horrible woman by her description of having long fingers red lips and a bigger breast size than Ceony. Granted she does dabble in blood magic but you hardly learn any thing about her besides that. Ceony herself is a 19 year old recent magic school graduate with a terrible knowitall superiority that makes no sense since she spends most of the book crying out for help after shooting her pistol that contained one bullet, and then getting trapped. She whines about everything, but thankfully she's a good cook.
The author describes everything painfully in as many color words as possible, even once describing how lonely and forlorn half a cow carcass looked. Ceony never shuts up about her mentor's eyes taking time out of being chased to ponder his emerald orbs, and if they will ever shine with light again. The author also seems confused about the time period the story is set in. Even in an alternate reality the anachronisms are jarring and insulting to anyone who knows anything about the early 1900's.
This is a terrible try at a romance with a completely unearned relationship. A love which Ceony admits to having formed less than a month into her apprenticeship Her mentor doesn't even seem aware of the fact that Ceony is in love with him, probably because he's a sane person.
I was so frustrated with this book, and I rolled my eyes hard most of my way through it. It could have been interesting, but it reads like the fanfiction I used to read when I was 14. Even then I could tell embarrassingly bad writing, but at least I hadn't paid for it.

What aspect of Amy McFadden’s performance would you have changed?

I give the reader props, she had horrible material to work with but she was into it. Please don't make her do any more accents though.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger, frustration, disgust deep disappointment

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79 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Valley girl reads book on faux British accent

I have seldom encountered a more annoying interpretation. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately the story is too compelling to quit.

It's maddening.

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77 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not worth the read

I would not recommend this book. While the ideas in the story have a lot of potential, the main character is entirely unlikeable - stuffy, pretentious, and often just obnoxious. I almost quit this book several times but hoped the ending would redeem...it did not.

The trope of independent strong female character who becomes mushy and lovesick over someone she barely knows is tired and boring.

This story is adolescent and shallow. Don't bother!

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45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Delightful Story Whose Magic Draws Us In

Charlie Holmber's The Paper Magician presents an astonishing level of polish, comedic timing and ability to generate poignant moments in a first novel. Early on in the book, I found myself alternately smiling and chuckling at the protagonist, Ceony Twill, and her interaction with Magician Emery Thane, the magician to whom she's apprenticed. Set in turn of the 20th century London, Ceony has just graduated from well-regarded school for magicians and now must take up her apprenticeship. In Ms. Holmberg's well-constructed world, magicians must bind themselves to a material such as glass, metal or paper and may practice magic only with it. Mg. Thane is a Folder (bound to Paper) and that's considered about as sexy as it sounds. Ceony did well at school and would normally have a choice of materials among which she may bind herself. There are, however, a dearth of Folders, primarily due to the aforementioned lack of sexiness, and so the school assigned her to Paper. She is less than thrilled.

Ceony can come across a bit haughty and more than a little forthright in her dealings with those in authority. She certainly doesn't back down. Mg. Thane keeps his cards close to the vest, betraying little except through his expressive eyes. Through her ties to Emery, Ceony becomes embroiled in an adventure, risking life and limb, against the nefarious Excisioners.

As is my typical practice, I went between the Kindle and Audible versions of the book. Amy McFadden did yeoman's work through her narration. I particularly like her Emery with a mostly calm voice often infused with a hint of amusement. Her Lira's syrupy condescension and self-satisfied humor as she is about to harm or kill is also brilliant. My only nit is that the tone of Ceony's voice seems to waiver from posh Etonian English to a much more common flavor from time to time, again without circumstance seeming to warrant a change. I don't believe Ms. McFadden is a native of the UK, so maintaining the dialect throughout was quite a feat. Anyway, the flips are rare and didn't distract from a good narration of the book. I'm delighted she is also the narrator for The Glass Magician and anticipate her narrating any other additions to the series.

To sum up, the comedic touch is perfect, the action and danger well executed, the relationships are believable, nicely developed and drove the narrative, and the actual writing is spot on. Simply put, it was a fun read that was over all too quickly (even though this did save me from multiple sleep deprived nights). I'm seriously looking forward to The Glass Magician which is out November 2nd and which I've pre-ordered. I highly commend The Paper Magician for your reading pleasure.

For full review: wp.me/p2XCwQ-X4

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37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great potential for a story but...

Audiobook Performance was grating. Too many tired details in story. I picked up this book hoping it would be similar to The Night Circus. However, the story was a more childish interpretation. The characters were strangely two dimensional, but the potential was there. It was almost as though i was reading parts of the main story while reading every insignificant footnote that accompanied each snippet.

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23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fun historical fantasy

Any additional comments?

Ceony Twil’s life changed forever when an anonymous donor paid for her tuition to Tagis Praff, an elite magician training school. She’s disappointed, however, when her dream job of becoming a Smelter comes to naught. Short on paper magician and a natural at most magics, Ceony is pushed into apprenticing with Emery Thane. Things get cut short, however, when a person from Thane’s past, his ex-wife Lira, excises his heart. Running against time, it’s up to Ceony to retrieve his heart and defeat the excisioner before Thane dies. With little practical knowledge of paper folding and combat, can Ceony defeat one of the most feared people?

Narrator, Amy McFadden does a great job of bringing to life Ceony's and the other character's voices with her unique, versatile narrative style. The plot is well developed, engaging, and keeps a fairly fast pace despite its historical setting. The characters are likable and humorous. The dynamics between them are enjoyable and McFadden easily navigates their dialogue. Readers who like to get to know the characters well will appreciate the mix of action adventure with the more serious matters of the heart. Although some of the battles with Lira drag on a bit, the humor and action mixed in make up for it. Recommended for those readers who like an action-packed, historical fantasy adventure.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Has Promise

It takes some time to get used to the narrator or at least it did for me . . . and the premise of different types of magic based on materials is not all that common for a magic based alternate world.

At times one wants to just instil some common sense, or some backbone and still other times cheer Ceony on.

The Author at times runs away with attention to such minute descriptive detail but it does not overly slow down the pacing.

There is a distinct lack of expletives which is heartening and refreshing.

I wont reveal the plot but you might want vet it first before recommending it to anyone who has a blood phobia, not that it is overly violent or even bloodthirsty (you have to read it to understand).

Whilst the book does not end on a cliff hanger it is nicely set up for the next one.

Some imaginative uses for Paper . . .

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The narrator grew on me

I didn't like her voice at first, but she grew on me as I got used to it. She talks with a perpetual pout in her voice. I did enjoy the story very much. The universe that Holmberg creates is unique and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the stories to find out more. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy.

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story, reader was dreadful

The reader spoke with such a snotty tone, it was almost unbearable, but as I hate to waste something I paid for, I endured. The story was a bit gory and gruesome at times, but it was interesting. Things that happened did not neatly reconnect to other bits in the story, so it felt more like an introduction to the characters, rather than a full story.

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7 people found this helpful