Posted in Book Discussions, Book Review

Book Discussion: The Paper Magician

Ceony Twill is a recent graduate of the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. Hopeful and excited, her dreams are destroyed when her teacher tells her the magical world is lacking Paper Magicians and that she must become one. Magicians can only bond with one form of magic and Ceony is less than thrilled at the prospect of folding paper for the rest of her life.

Her new teacher, Magician Emery Thane, is a hermit living at the very edge of society. At first, Ceony sees him as just another eccentric freak, but she quickly learns that even hermits have dark secrets. Within weeks of meeting, Ceony must save her teacher’s heart, figuratively and literally, by harnessing the very magic she despises.

Is Paper Magic really just airplanes and origami? Ceony will have to look past her grievances if she wants to stay alive, especially in the face of forbidden magic called Excision, or the practice of controlling human flesh and blood.


Ceony Twill has a photographic memory, which is her “protagonist superpower”, and the ability to remember spoken instructions word-for-word. As an apprentice, she has real potential. As a person, she’s still immature. Her personality is difficult to sympathize with; she’s bullheaded, cowardly, and reckless. In her defense, she’s only nineteen and started to show signs of maturing in the last few chapters, but I still found her to be pretty annoying.

Emery Thane is a broken man still trying to heal from his past. I liked his character; he’s guilty of loving someone he probably shouldn’t have and is trying to right his wrongs.

Lira is a confusing antagonist. I still don’t understand exactly what her motives were and what happened to so drastically change her personality. I would’ve liked, as a reader, to see more of her backstory.


The Paper Magician is unique in that I haven’t read anything like it. Most magicians control natural elements, like water and air, so the concept of only being able to control man-made materials was a breath of fresh air. What I don’t understand is how Excision can even exist. Human flesh is a natural thing, not man-made in the same sense as glass or paper. The backstory, how things came to be, are overshadowed by Ceony’s quest.

Ceony’s falling in love with Thane as she explores his memories seemed strange to me. For the few weeks they lived together, she tolerated her eccentric teacher and then, at the flip of a page, he’s suddenly extremely attractive and lovable.

Writing Style:

  • For a book supposedly targeting a younger audience, The Paper Magician has a lot of blood, death, and just general darkness.
  • A bit wordy at times.
    • Ceony describes her heart rate about every other paragraph
    • Every conversation gives her a lump in her throat
    • She hesitates before she does anything
      • Are you seeing a pattern here?

My Overall Rating:

Image result for 3.5 stars



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