In the third book in Charlie N. Holmberg’s Paper Magician series, Ceony is wrapping up her studies. After being moved to study under a different magician than Emery (in order to avoid favoritism), she is working on everything she needs for her final exam in order to become The Master Magician. To make things even more interesting, Saraj has escaped from prison, and Ceony thinks he might come after her.
Of course, Ceony decides to take things into her own hands, rather than letting the magicians from Criminal Affairs take care of things (she is very headstrong, after all, as established in The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician). This results in all kinds of problems for her and those around her.
Holmberg did an excellent job with this third volume in the series. The pacing worked very well throughout The Master Magician. I think this was the strongest of the three. I could see things coming together, but there were still a few twists here and there.
Even though Ceony was still being knuckle-headed with some of her actions, I could see that she was starting to at least consider how her actions impacted others. So, she was growing a bit, and that’s always a good thing for the protagonist. I also found Magician Aviosky to finally be growing beyond a two-dimensional character. Where she had previously just been angry or frustrated most of the time, she started really expressing a regular range of emotions.
Emery also became more fleshed-out in The Master Magician. It was almost like floodgates were opened, and Holmberg finally allowed him to say the things he should have been saying previously. I don’t think the restraint was a bad thing, however, as it fit with the attitudes for the time period.
I really enjoyed this book, and the series as a whole. I think The Master Magician was my favorite book of the series, too. If you don’t mind a little romance mixed in with an interesting magic system and fun characters, I think you will like this book and the series. They are light, fun, and entertaining.
Release Date: June 2, 2015 (USA)
ISBNs: 1477828699 (9781477828694)
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (very occasional)
Violence: 2 (some torture, death, nothing too graphic)