“I think life would be much . . . simpler . . . if a man could believe in one solid thing,” he answered, still not looking at her. “Bits and pieces here and there do no good for a man’s soul. Thinking all of it is right or all of it is wrong does no good, either. Just as a magician cannot work all materials. He must choose one. But how does he know? How do these people believe in this faith, but not the others? Yet they are happy.”
― Charlie N. Holmberg,
I started this book, not expecting a lot and knowing almost nothing about it but I was so wrong. I basically marathoned the whole trilogy in a day and it was amazing.
But first, the premise:
Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.
Now, this book was a very different one compared to other fantasy books. The fact that it dealt with magic made it more intriguing. And I honestly loved the world and the characters in this book. I always had to remind myself that the book played in an historical London back in the 1900s so I was a bit skeptical about Ceony and Emery but then I grew to love them together.
Emery is a very distant and isolated character which means that he won’t even go grocery shopping (yes, yes he does sound weird) but when Ceony, his new apprentice, arrives at the cottage, we see him smile (even if it’s just a hint of a smile) more and more and soon some things start to develop between those two.
I’ve read a lot of reviews about how the characters didn’t have any depth to them but I thought the characters were written well enough. The plot flowed fantastically in each book of the trilogy. It was fast-paced, entertaining and even swoon-worthy at times. I must admit that there could’ve been a lot more information and detail concerning the back story and all the old magic, etc. but nevertheless Holmberg managed to write an original and unique story.
If you enjoy escapism into historical London filled with magic, this is the perfect book for you.
Overall Rating: 4/5