Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg Review

"Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own — an ability long thought impossible.

While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. To avoid favoritism, Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. To make matters worse, a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined."

The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician are favorite books of mine. The Master Magician, which continues the crazy adventures of Ceony Twill, is the final installment in this amazing, entertaining, and lovely trilogy. If I have to choose between the three books of the series, I will pick The Master Magician and The Paper Magician. The two are tied for the same place. 

Set in England of the 1900s, The Master Magician starts normal and peaceful. The years have gone by with little problems or drama. (Quick reminder for those with short-term memory: The Paper Magician tells of Lira stealing Magician Emery Thane's heart and Ceony taking it back. Soon after, The Glass Magician happens, leading to a lot of drama, blood, death, and violence. The time between the events of The Glass Magician and The Master Magician is about a year and many months, from what I read.) But everything explodes when a high-risk prisoner breaks out and is on the loose. Ceony is on the move, as always. 

I'm impressed by how Charlie N. Holmberg is able to juggling three main plots. Ceony has to deal with her final magician's test and a spiteful test administrator, her long-distance relationship with her mentor (Magician Thane), and a hunt for a ruthless, insane killer. They are intertwined with each other, and Holmberg is capable of pacing them perfectly. Not a second, a word, a part, or a chapter falters. 

A little fact about the world building: I love it. The telegraph, the telephone, the magic, and the technology. Even though I don't know much about the 1900s, I can easily imagine it, and the alternative world of magic simply catches my breath. (Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter is hanging around in the backgrounds, of course.) 

Now older and much more skilled with her magic, Ceony is about to take her test, which will decide whether or not she becomes a master magician. Ceony's brilliance, intelligence, and resourcefulness is refreshing, and her character has most certainly changed in two years. Still, she is and is not the Ceony Twill from The Paper Magician. 

The ending, though it ends with a certain question, is very satisfying. It is a fitting end to the trilogy, but one could hope that the author will write short stories one day. 

In conclusion, The Master Magician is a wonderful and light ending to the trilogy. Ceony's adventures concludes with a HEA. Emery... Well, I already revealed too many spoilers. But I admit I reread The Master Magician at least twelve times. It is best recommended for those who love magic and paper. 

Rating: Five out of Five

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