If You Like Harry Potter, Read The Paper Magician


If You Like... feature at Vampire Book ClubFrom VBC/Chelsea: We are having fun with our If You Like… series. If there’s a recommendation you’d like, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll see if we can add a post for you! For now, though, let VBC’s Margaret convince you to read
The Paper Magician.

In Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician, 19-year-old Ceony Twill has just graduated from magic school, not Hogwarts but The Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, and is about to begin her apprenticeship. At school she studied magic history and theory, but in this world one cannot perform magic until they’ve bonded with a material. Any man-made material like glass, plastic or paper can hold magic, but once the magician has bonded to one that will be the only material they’re able to spell.

Ceony has always wanted to be a Smelter, a magician who works with metal. But there aren’t enough Folders (paper magicians) in England and so the Magician’s Council has decided she’ll become one. She doesn’t know much about paper and doesn’t really want to be there, so she shares that sense of trepidation with Harry Potter arriving at school.

As she starts to learn and practice with the paper, she also shares his sense of wonder. My favorite things about J.K. Rowling’s world are the magical gadgets and items like the paintings that come to life. Ceony is able to make the images in books come to life like a movie. She has a very lifelike dog made entirely of folded paper. And instead of a flying car, she steals a giant paper airplane. Ceony also spends a good portion of the book literally inside her mentor’s heart, which is made up of his memories, hopes and fears and reminded me of Harry’s journeys through the pensieve.

The Paper Magician Ceony, like Harry, finds she has enemies who practice the Dark Arts. Someone realized that people are also man made and started using blood and body parts for spells. These dark magic users are called Excisioners. They can reanimate dead animals and body parts and disappear in clouds of blood. They leave a trail of bodies, minus their blood and some of their parts, in their wake. They’re also hunted by a covert band of operatives under the direction of the Magician’s Council, and Ceony, like Harry gets drawn in to their fight.

Just to be clear, I’m not claiming that The Paper Magician is the epic that the Harry Potter series has become. It just hits a lot of the same notes for me. And here’s the other thing I took away from this book: Paper holds magic and books are made of paper. Therefore books are made of magic. I know a lot of people whose love of reading began with the Harry Potter series would agree with that.

One Response to “If You Like Harry Potter, Read The Paper Magician”

  1. Amy says:

    I just finished reading The Paper Magician this week. I never would have thought to make comparisons between it and Harry Potter, but your post really hits on a lot of good points. I loved the whole feeling of wonder as Ceony learns all about Folding. I honestly never thought someone could make paper so interesting! Thinking back it does remind me of the wonder of Harry stepping into the magical world for the first time.

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