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December 3, 2017

Charlie Holmberg’s Paper Magician series has a lot going for it. The magic system is great: magicians have to bond to a specific manmade material, and can then perform spells only by manipulating that material. I also like the early-twentieth-century-England setting. And the characters are strong: Ceony Twill, the protagonist, is distinct and likable, as is Emery Thane, her love interest and mentor in the art of Folding paper.

But I’m mixed about the books' lengths. They all run about...

September 29, 2016

Like its predecessor The Paper Magician, Charlie Holmberg’s The Glass Magician is crisp, creative, and vaguely unsatisfying.

Ceony, the heroine of both books, is still lovesick over Emery, her mentor in the art of Folding (using paper to cast spells). The story moves just as quickly, starting with a bombing in Chapter Three and resolving in a little over 200 pages. And the materials-based magic system remains fun.

But what had the makings of a mystery turned out to be merely an exten...

July 25, 2016

For a book that clocks in at only 226 pages, Charlie Holmberg’s The Paper Magician sure delves into a lot of backstory. Stranger still, most of the history lessons aren’t about the main character.

That would be Ceony Twill, a recent graduate of the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. Ceony wants to be a Smelter, a magician who works with metal. But because Folders are in short supply in Holmberg’s version of early twentieth-century Britain, she’s apprenticed to Emery Thane,...

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I write mostly speculative fiction. Usually fantasy, with historical elements mixed in. Sometimes there's a bit of mystery too, or (shhh!) even a little romance.


But it's weird—it's always weird. Consider yourself warned.