Book Review: The Plastic Magician

This month, I was thrilled to receive an advanced e-copy of Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Plastic Magian, set to release May 15, 2018. The blurb:

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…

My Review

DQPX5T-VAAAGEvE.jpg-largeI really enjoyed this book! It’s a light, fun read that will delight any fan of The Paper Magician series. It had my heart thumping in anxiety several times and made me laugh aloud more than once. I even teared up at the end over an unemotional scene because the magic system Holmberg creates within these books is absolutely beautiful.

I received an advanced copy of The Plastic Magician in exchange for an honest review, so I might as well mention the three things that annoyed me about the book:

  1. Coming off of reading Glass Sword and A Court of Mist and Fury, each with a very strong and sure-footed female protagonist, I wasn’t a fan of Alvie right away. It took me a while to “get” her, but when I did (by 30% in or sooner), I was in love. She’s clumsy but she’s not lacking in self-confidence, which is key. She’s not the typical nerd-protagonist that you’ve read before, though she may come across that way at first. So if she annoys you when you start reading, give her a chance. It’s not that you grow to love her so much as you grow to understand her complexity and strength. She’s never a weakling; she’s pragmatic.
  2. Certain things were too obvious. I won’t say what because it might not be obvious to others. But with such a small cast of characters, it was very easy to see right away who was who. I wanted more of a who-done-it. I wanted to be surprised.
  3. There were too many coincidences for my liking. I enjoyed all the tie-ins to the original series, but paired with point number 2, several events felt contrived. Oddly enough however, point 2 and 3 did not ruin the book. Even though I knew several things ahead of time, I still got caught up in the excitement of the story and was on the edge of my seat through the climax.

I really enjoyed the whole second half of the story in general. Not sure when the transition actually happened, but as I mentioned, my less than enthusiastic opinion of the protagonist and beginning chapters of the book may have had something to do with what I had just finished reading: Glass Sword and ACoMaF. Either way, I enjoyed this book much more than I did either of those two, and I HIGHLY recommend it! It could work as a stand alone too if you’ve yet to read The Paper Magician series. I really hope Holmberg continues to write stories within this world because it’s super fun and magical!


Want more book reviews? Check out The Fifth Doll, also by Charlie N. Holmberg, or The Princess Bride by William Goldman (yes, it was a book first!).

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Plastic Magician

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