Monday, November 17, 2014

Beating Paper Heart

Hello all, I've finally gotten a bit of sleep and feel a bit more coherent, so I thought I would ramble about a book I finished while on duty the other night.  The book is called The Paper Magician by Charlie Holberg and is the first book in a series.  I had picked it up after reading about it in some random place and decided to read it 'cause I was in the mood for a little magic. Was the book magic?  First as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Ceony is a little pissed off because she wanted to be a Smelter.  What is a Smelter you ask, good question.  A Smelter is a person who works with metal in a magical way.  You see in this world (which is set in Victorianish England) people who posses the gift of magic can bond to a man made object (glass, metal, paper, plastic ect.) and either manipulate or enchant it.  A person can bond to any man made medium, but once bonded a person cannot change mediums.  Ceony, who has finished her year of arduous magic training had her heart set on becoming a Smelter, but do to a balance being needed was assigned to learn the art of Folding, which is the enchanting of paper.  Ceony feels that paper does not give a person much substance to work with and is feeling quit petulant about being stuck as the apprentice of one of the few Folders left.  She is nominally impressed when Magician
Thane (who turns out to be much younger then expected) demonstrates some of the more interesting things that can be done with paper, such as bringing origami birds and frogs to life, making it snow paper snow that is actually cold and producing a whole garden of flowers.  Ceony (who also cooks) starts to realize there might be more to Folding then she first realized.  Mg. Thane starts her training right away and Ceony takes to it quit readily.  Mg. Thane secures her affections when he makes her a little paper dog that looks like the one she had to leave behind.  One day after coming home from a mysterious trip, Mg. Thane is attacked by his ex-wife Lira who is an Excisor, which a person who uses human flesh to do magic (the thinking that a human is technically made by another human being and therefore a "man made" material).  This type of magic is seen as dangerous and criminal as it usually involves the maiming and/or killing of another human being.  Lira takes the magicians heart and Ceony saves him temporarily by replacing it with a Folded Heart. Ceony follows Lira and gets stuck inside Mg. Thane's heart.  As she tries to find her way out she goes through the four chambers and literally gets to see everything inside Mg. Thane's heart.  At the end of her journey, a figment of Mg. Thane teaches her some extra magic and she uses it to defeat Lira.  Upon returning home with Mg. Thanes heart, she saves him and asks to stay on as his apprentice.  She realizes that after her journey through his heart she not only knows him better then any other person, but realizes she loves him.  He agrees to keep her on and realizes it may go further then that, but they take it one day at a time.
This was a solid little book that gave a good story, an interesting premise and a bit of magic.  The plus's to this book are mostly in it's characters.  Ceony is a very believable girl, who has had her share of ups and downs, but understands she needs to work to overcome them.  She is not perfect, but she is not dramatically flawed either, just a normal young woman, who happens to have magic.  Mg. Thane is a quiet, concise man who has just enough of a sense of humor to make him a likable human being.  There are other characters who also hit the non-extreme spot quit perfectly, making this an almost homey read when you are not battling flesh using magicians.  I liked all the examples of the magic one could use paper for, everything from the delicate origami birds to the precise cutting and folding of a chain of protection.  I think that my favorite part of paper magic was the ability to read a book with enough emotion to make the words form pictures above the book!  How cool would that be if it
was real!!!!!  I do wish that the rules of this magic world were a bit more explained.  For instance I understood that magic could only be done with man made objects and materials, but at what point is something man made?  Flowers for example are natural...but what about a bouquet of flowers?  Is that man made?  If pulping wood into paper counts, or humans being man made counts...then pretty much everything should be on the table right?  A few of the other magics were touched on briefly, but not in any real detail.  I enjoyed Ceony's journey through Mg. Thanes heart, the various chambers that housed his loves, his wants, his doubts, it all made a wonderful sort of sense.  Over all the story was good, the characters were great, but I wanted much more world building.  The book was less about the magic and more about the immediate story, which was well done, but I wanted more world building. I love stories about using ordinary things as magic and really wanted more of that in this book.   I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series and hopefully the world will start to flesh out.  I give this book 7 out of 10 origami frogs and recommend it to anybody looking for a quick feel good story with a little magic.
What medium would you work with?  Do you find origami as magical as I do?  Do you find it ironic that humans are considered 'manmade"?

1 comment:

  1. I love origami !i will put this on my list for easy reading. I would love to paint 3d!