The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg – novel review

"The Glass Magician" by Charlie N. Holmberg.
“The Glass Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg.
The story in The Glass Magician, by Charlie N. Holmberg, begins only a few months after the end of The Paper Magician. Ceony finds herself the target of Lira’s partners, who want Lira unfrozen. As Lira was trying to kill both Ceony and her beloved Emery Thane, Ceony is not too motivated to help him.

The story was paced well—as in the first book—and there is quite a bit more happening this time, with a lot more characters involved. Ceony meets a number of additional magicians, both friendly and not. Delilah was a fun character, and I enjoyed the part she played in this book. As a glass magician (or “Gaffer”), she was able to show the reader a lot more about how glass magic worked. I am still enthralled by the depth of the magic system in this series.

I would have liked to see more of Saraj in The Glass Magician, since he seemed like an interesting character. He was mostly used in the background, however, with Grath getting the majority of the attention. Grath was scarier than Lira in some ways, but less so in others. Saraj was quite scary every time he appeared, and therefore it seemed like more involvement with the story should have happened. I guess everyone has their pet villains in the stories they read, though.

Most of the story is told from Ceony’s perspective, though one chapter near the end is told from Emery’s point of view. This was a little disconcerting, despite Holmberg subtly advising readers of the change at the beginning of the chapter. It is an unusual move for an author when it hasn’t been done previously in either book so far. It did help advance the story, however, and it only took a sentence or two for me to figure out what had happened with the perspective.

Ceony is a very willful character, and that really showed through in The Glass Magician. At twenty years old, however, I would have thought Ceony would be more willing to listen to those she knows and trusts. Rather, she constantly assumed far more on herself than she should have. Some of her actions made no sense based on her thought processes in the first book. It was as if she regressed to before the first book, as far as maturity.

Perhaps I am too far removed from that age to remember how irrational I may have been was at the time. As someone barely graduated from teenagehood, perhaps she just wasn’t up to all that “adulting” quite yet, and so subconsciously reverted to a “safer” time. It was rather inconvenient for the plot, though, as I generally like to see characters discernibly growing and learning as I progress through a book or series.

The two twitterpated love birds continue their dance around societal propriety, often with amusing results. I am hoping to get some sort of closure for that in the final book in the series. It is interesting to see how they act, especially when trying to hide their feelings from each other and those around them (not that it usually works very well).

Despite all the above, I still enjoyed The Glass Magician. It was a bit weaker than the first book, but it was still an enjoyable read. If you like a fun adventure with interesting magic set in Edwardian times, with a little light romance thrown in for good measure, I recommend reading these books. I’m already reading the final book in the series.

Release Date: November 4, 2014 (USA)
ISBNs: 1477825940 (9781477825945)
Publisher: 47North
Language: English

MySF Rating: Three point five stars
Family Friendliness: 95%


Alcohol/Drugs: 0
Language: 1 (extremely brief and mild)
Sexuality: 0
Violence: 2 (some mildly-graphic scenes, magical battles, death)

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