Delightfully whimsical, this is a tale of a London in which magicians animate man-made materials. Ceony Twill, having just graduated from Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic, despite it being her last choice. Unexpectedly, the Paper Magician Emery Thane introduces Ceony to an imaginative side of paper magic, from animating paper skeletons that serve as butlers, to bringing stories to life when read aloud. Soon after Ceony arrives to study under the Paper Magician, he leaves on an urgent errand, hinting at the dangerous magical world in which Ceony is now an integral part.
The paper magic is tactile, intimate, and detailed, and brings magic to the commonplace paper airplanes, fans, and snowflakes clumsily fashioned by my own hands so many years ago. Be prepared for a visually imaginative paper feast. The first book of the series hones in on only this one area of magic, which encourages me to continue reading in order to explore glass, rubber, plastic, and metal.
However, the plot is simple, the romantic crush is sappy, and the villain is flat. The conversations about faith seem misplaced and the budding relationship between Ceony and her 12-year-senior teacher is uncomfortable. But The Paper Magician is also a vivid, fun, and fast-paced story with zero obligations. Recommended for fantasy fans looking for a charming quick read.
“The ghostly images lasted only a moment longer before fading away, as all unread stories were wont to do.”