Release-Day Review: The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (Paper Magician #4)


The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg // VBC ReviewThe Plastic Magician (The Paper Magician #4)
Charlie N. Holmberg
Published: May 15, 2018 (47North)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Alvie Bechenmacher is headed to London to start her apprenticeship as a Polymaker—a magical trade learning how to bespell plastic. With Polymaking being a relatively newly discovered magic it’s a pretty competitive field. Alvie gets to study under world-renowned magician Marion Praff, and dives headfirst into her studies. With Alvie’s valuable insight, Praff’s creative juices start flowing again, and soon Alvie and Praff make a discovery that will not only change Polymaking but has the potential to change the world. They plan to present their new find at the Discovery Convention, but when their lab is broken into, it’s clear that someone wants to keep them from going to the Convention. It’ll be up to Alvie to find the culprit and make sure justice is served.

Having read The Plastic Magician I can definitely say that you in no way need to read the previous book(s) in order to enjoy this one. I would just recommend it because they are a pretty good read, but not having read them in quite a while I found myself falling right back into this world of magic quite easily.

I think it helps that Alvie is studying polymaking. While I felt like the paper magic (Folding) felt a bit more artistic, polymaking felt very practical. I liked the distinction between the two, and I think it speaks to the nature of the characters.

Alvie can be considered, I think it’s safe to say, an awkward person. She quite frequently pauses in the middle of a conversation with someone to mentally count the number of steps she’s taken, or to ruminate on the history of a person or place for example, but once you move past these little quirks, you see Alvie as the kind and brilliant person she is. She’s also practical, just like polymaking.

Toward the end I got a big Nancy Drew vibe from Alvie, just because the story veers so much into mystery territory as you figure out who keeps sabotaging their work. It’s actually not too difficult to figure out, and Alvie has the person pretty much pegged from the start, but I liked the way things played out.

If you’ve read the first trilogy, you might notice some similarities between Ceony and Alvie’s story arcs. I’m wondering if this is intentional and if it means the previous characters will play a bigger part in any future books as Alvie continues her studies in Polymaking. Ceony and Emery Thane do make a brief cameo which I loved.

The Plastic Magician was a great, light read. I love the magics Charlie N. Holmberg created in the original trilogy and I’m equally excited that, through this spin-off, we get to broaden the world. No word yet on if there’s more books featuring Alvie, but with the way things end, I would be surprised if there weren’t.

Sexual content: kissing

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