The Glass Magician
by Charlie N Holmberg
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.
When a magician with a penchant for revenge believes that Ceony possesses a secret, he vows to discover it…even if it tears apart the very fabric of their magical world. After a series of attacks target Ceony and catch those she holds most dear in the crossfire, Ceony knows she must find the true limits of her powers…and keep her knowledge from falling into wayward hands…
Please be aware that this is a review of the second book in a series and as such will include spoilers for The Paper Magician.
By and large this is a book that doesn’t suffer from ‘difficult second album syndrome’. Holmberg builds on the ground that she laid in the first book in the series and we really start to see the larger world come to light. We get to experience much more of the world in the sequel, although it’s still very much an American’s imagining of the era and it doesn’t feel like any research has been done into the period in question. That said, the book is still a lot of fun and I was willing to suspend my disbelieve for a bit as it’s a pacy read.
Holmberg also gives us the opportunity to explore other types of magic by introducing us to Ceony’s fellow apprentices.in the opening trip to a paper mill. I enjoyed Ceony’s relationships with the other astudents, particularly her friendship with the glass magician’s apprentice, so the supporting cast was much more interesting this time around. Thane is given more of a personality and a purpose in this book, although the romance elements did seem to keep infringing on an interesting plot at times. There was also a rather jarring jump to Thane’s POV before the end which I struggled to reconcile the purpose of, as it didn’t seem to add anything to the novel.
Ceony is now a woman with secrets, her success at the end of the first novel has made her a target for revenge and she’s still hiding the truth from the authorities, her teacher and to some extent herself. Her success in saving her mentor has also made her quite arrogant whilst remaining naïve about a lot of the ongoing issues in her world. This stance definitely gets her in trouble and Ceony is ultimately responsible for a lot of the danger she gets herself and her friends into. The consequences of this are a good chance for character development and I hope that we see more of that in the next book.
I will definitely pick up the next book to see where this goes as it is an interesting concept, but I won’t be running to the library to search for it.