Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.
Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking-the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.
Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries-in as short a time frame-as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.
Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking-and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.
To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…
The Plastic Magician is the newest book in The Paper Magician series. Holmberg is back, writing the story of this crazy unique book world, but with all new characters. A few months ago I read the first three in the series and fell in love. Holmberg does a wonderful job building this unique world. The story is based in London in the early 1900s, so it’s mostly seated in the real world. I liked this because the author found a way to insert magic into the real world making it realistic instead of creating a fantasy place for these magicians. Being from the United States, I really enjoyed reading the story taking place in Alvie’s point of view. She’s also from the U.S. and getting to travel to London (somewhere I have always wanted to travel) for the first time. So the reader gets to see the world from the fresh perspective of someone coming to London for the first time.
In The Plastic Magician, the world is full of ‘material magics’ with plastic being newly discovered. With the discovery of a new material comes enthusiastic and creative magicians. Elvie and her teacher, Magician Praff, are two people that are both incredibly excited about Polymaking and the things still to be learned. Our main character, Alvie, was someone that I really enjoyed reading about. She’s excited about this new adventure, moving across the world to study a new kind of magic with the goal of making new discoveries to better the world. Alvie is super intelligent and really tries to think outside of the box, this out of the box thinking helps her in so many ways throughout the story. She seems to be a strong independent woman that doesn’t let what others think to determine her path in life. For example, she hates wearing skirts, which is what most women wear daily because it’s the early 1900s, so she wears trousers and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone has to say about it. She’s a little awkward and a lot nerdy and I absolutely adore it. I love reading about a nerdy main character, it just makes me happy. She’s creative, with Polymaking, but also with any situation that is thrown her way. She’s also so clever which’s helps her in a few different situations that could have gone way worse had she not been a quick thinker. The only thing I didn’t like about Alvie was that she has a bit of low self-esteem when it comes to her relationship with a guy that she meets at the train station. He’s a perfect gentleman to her and gives her more chances than most would, and she can’t seem to stop doubting what they have. It’s a little bit annoying. But their whole relationship was a little annoying. Even at the end of the book, they hadn’t actually talked about their relationship or anything. They were sweet and innocent which I think it what was trying to be portrayed, but it was a smidge on the irritating side.
I liked the dynamic with Alvie and her mentor Magician Praff. I hope Holmberg is going to continue this series with our new character Alvie and her training. I like that this apprenticeship isn’t the typical one. Alvie’s traveled across the world to study under one of the leading minds in Polymaking. They work incredibly well together and I liked Praff because he’s a great teacher. Praff makes sure to take time to listen to what Alvie is thinking. They end up being a really great team and I think they could have more adventures for sure.
There is a little bit of mystery here and there throughout the story but in an obvious way. We meet our villain at the beginning of the story and to me, it was pretty obvious that he was the villain from the moment we met him. This was only reinforced every time we saw him. I thought the villain totally could have been done a bit better, maybe just made a little less obvious that he’s the villain. I actually have some suggestions that I’m not going to make because they would be spoilers. Aside from the lame villain, I liked the mystery. There were break-ins all over London, but only at the houses of Polymakers, it was an interesting feature that definitely added to the story.
The one last thing I want to mention is the question I had from the very first page, “But do we get to see the characters from the first three books?” The answer is yes. I won’t say where or when, but yes. And yes, I did squeal a little when they appeared.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this story. It was fun to read and I enjoyed getting to know these new characters in a world that I already love. I’m going to end this review a little differently than most. The Plastic Magician ended with a sentence that I really just found delightful, so I’m going to leave it here for you all.
“After all, it wasn’t about the magic it was about the discovery.”
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
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