Review: The Paper Magician-Charlie N. Holmberg

This is one of the very few books I have actually read on my kindle, generally preferring a solid copy, but when I read the description of this book I couldn’t resist, I mean she can read out words on paper and the images appear in front of her!? I must learn more of this magic.

Obviously I found the plot of this book instantly fascinating, and something I hadn’t heard of before, magicians bonding themselves to certain materials was a new form of magic to me and I loved the idea of it. As well as the intriguing plot, this book also offers quite interesting characters. So often I complain about 2 dimensional characters that are totally void of personality, and that sometimes when the plot is strong all focus goes to that and the author forgets about the character. However Holmberg managed to make both equally fascinating, both main characters are set up with a wonderful air of mystery and their secrets are slowly revealed quite well.

Unfortunately (now we get to the bad stuff) in spite of this fabulous plot and multi- dimensional characters, throughout this book you can’t help but feel like something is constantly missing. And that is because so much is! The idea is that Ceony graduated Tagis Praff and is starting her apprenticeship with Thane. Now I don’t know about anyone else but when I started at this point in Ceony’s story I had to go back and check I was definitely reading the first book in the series, as it seems like Ceony’s time at school should have been included, and also would have given readers a much better insight into the world which the book is set. I mean I know the whole magic school thing has been done before, but hey it works right? (Also if I am wrong about this plot being original please correct me as I’d love to read something similar!)

In general the setting of this book is not built on enough. I only discovered this book was set in the 20th century from reading someone else’s review of it. There are so many things that were not described in this setting and should have been, I mean Lira, a female, was wearing tight trousers? Is that historically accurate? Point being: if you are going to go historical fiction, put a lot of time and research into it. Don’t have it where it could set anywhere, commit to the world you have selected. Another thing disappointing about the setting is that it is set only on the outskirts of London? I use a question mark on this statement as I personally can not understand how you can set a book right beside one of the most vibrant cities in the world and not use it. Do you even need more inspiration for a story than ’20th century London’?

Overall my biggest criticism to Charlie N. Holmberg is technically a compliment, as I’m in love with the plot and characters of this book, but I want SO MUCH more of it! More research, more setting, more background and also not meaning to spoil but more romance in your romance.Of course due to my wildly romantic hopes I have every intention of reading the follow up ‘The Glass Magician’ to see if Holmberg can deliver, and to catch up with Ceony and Thane of course.



Jenny Han Book Review

Generally I’m not massively into the romance genre but I have been exploring a lot of different things lately, so when I kept seeing ‘To all the boys I’ve loved before’ all over ‘Bookstagram’ I thought I would give it a go.

Not the most complex books, story or characters, but there is something compellingly endearing about Lara Jean Song and her story.

Peter describes her as ‘Quirky’ and this sums her up perfectly, although not the most exciting person when it comes to social life, Lara Jean is by far boring and definitely not your average 16 year old. One of the things I liked best about Jenny Han’s writing style was how consistent she kept Lara Jean and her voice. She had just the right amount of development yet still felt like the same charming character in the sequel, ‘P.S. I still love you’.

The general plot involves Lara Jean having written secret letters to boys after she stopped loving them as a way of letting go, never intending for them to be read by anyone else, however they manage to be sent out and Lara Jeans feelings for these boys resurface.

The characters in these books are mostly well thought out and as consistent as Lara Jean, even if some aren’t as lovable (I know I can’t be the only Margot hater). However at times names are thrown in at random and are slightly irrelevant, like Allie, is there a purpose to Allie? I personally can’t see it if there is.

Top favourite characters:

  • Chris- She’s a fabulous bad girl and perfect counterpart to Lara Jean and although she isn’t always present, she is when Lara Jean needs her and that’s the most important thing in a friend
  • Kitty- In the US Office Micheal once says that Andy’s mom is his favourite character in Toy Story because without her there is no plot and without a plot there is no movie. Well without Kitty, there is no book
  • Stormy- If you have read these books I don’t need to explain, if you haven’t, think sassy grandma. Also is anyone else desperate for a Stormy Weather spin off?

Of course the boys themselves have their own significance to the plot,(basically are the plot…) but I think Lara Jean has some terrible judgement and throws around the term ‘love’ way too loosely. Like sure I see the attraction to Peter, Josh and John, but really was she in love with Lucas? And the 5th name seems so irrelevant to me I cant even remember who it was now. That being said, the main three boys are pretty great, I get it, I totally get it. Also #teamjohn.

Overall Lara Jean’s life and slight misadventure make a rather sweet read which I would recommend. Her family life and background add further interest and make her a very well rounded character. I look forward to joining her story again in the final installment of Jenny Han’s trilogy next year.