News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

December 30, 2017

{A Review} - The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

I practically screeched for joy when I got an email from Netgalley saying that my ARC request was accepted for The Plastic Magician (in return for an honest review). Charlie N. Holmberg is one of my favourite authors, and the first book I read by her was The Paper Magician, so to see her continue one of my all time favourite series was a huge thing for me :) 

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...     {excerpt from Goodreads}

Where The Paper Magician was delicate and dainty and easily likened to an origami rose, The Plastic Magician arises from the ashes to belch smoke and oil at us in a whimsical tottering of chaotic artistry. The rules of magic from the first three books remain, but now we're splattered into the fresh field of polymaking with the rare plastic magicians. Given the recent discovery of polymaking (compared to the older fields of the folders, pyres, smelters, etc), the rules of magic governing plastic material are yet to be fully unveiled, and the scientific border between known and unknown is a frontier of fast-paced and dangerous discoveries. Here we meet Alvie Brechenmacher, a newly declared polymerist, and her famous mentor Mg Marion Praff. Together they embark on a journey to find something new...but will they and their hard work survive the evil machinations of a mysterious villain intent on destroying everything? You'll have to read the book to find out :)

  • Goodies: Steampunk vibes (yess). Polymakers and folders. Women's trousers in the late Victorian era <3. Clutziness. Non-stereotypical female protagonist (<3 <3 <3). Unique magical rules. Villainous villains. Grumpy butlers. Actual references to the true scientific process (i.e. abstracts & paper publications & conferences). Practical medical application.
  • Character Development: (4/5) Alvie showed the most development and change over the book, as to be expected of the lead character. I was hoping Mg. Praff would show a little change alongside several other individuals (whom you'll discover quite darling if you read the book), but they were somewhat static. However, my understanding is that this is the first of several more books (?yes please?!) so I'm only taking 1 point off because I'm certain there will be more gloriousness to come!
  • Content Snatchery: (5/5) Exceptional. I was snatched from the start (that sounds cringy right? sorry, too late). Alvie is a girl after my own heart. While Ceony (from The Paper Magician) is the girl I wish I could be, Alvie is probably the girl I actually am. She's clumsy, a little nervous but otherwise bold and brave. She knows she lacks the feminine wiles other girls typically have, but that makes her more dear to my heart. Needless to say, it was refreshing to read a story from what appears to be late-Victorian or early 1900s, where social boundaries are toed very strongly. While I admit I was able to predict most of the plot twists, it was still a very exciting read.
  • Boring Parts: (minimal to non-existant) Charlie doesn't dilly-dally on telling us about the floral wallpaper when there's other business to discuss. She wrote deeply and beautifully about the unique magic of her world and I didn't find myself bored one iota. Not to mention the overall plot was tied to a very practical problem that, to this very day in our current world, needs to be solved. I loved her ingenious and magical approach to it.
  • Romance: (some kissy scenes) ... but they aren't awkward or poorly placed. The romance develops slowly and doesn't come across as overly dominant to the plot. Therefore, I am a happy gooseling.
  • My eyes are sweating: (1/5) I think, in this case, it would be more along the lines of, my-fingers-are-about-to-snap-the-edges-of-my-kindle-off :P While there were some endearing moments, I didn't shed any tears (who knows what the future holds); however, there were some anxiety-inducing scenes that resolved (thankfully) and so let that be a forewarning as you read :) 

Overall, I truly adored Alvie and Mg. Praff, Bennet and the rest of the characters. They work really well together, and the rise and fall of tension was perfectly honed to the story arc. I applaud Charlie on another gorgeous tale that I'm adding to my list of favourites :) Not to mention my science-buried self truly was thankful for an accurate representation of the discovery process in the world of research. I almost cried tears of joy (okay, I exaggerate, but I was thrilled). Highly recommend, dear readers - go devour everything she's ever written <3

{Rating} - 5/5 Stars

Now, if this review has won your heart over and you're totally convinced you need to read the series, I do highly recommend you start with The Paper Magician, which I've linked to Amazon, but given that this is a review for The Plastic Magician, the main pre-order links for it are listed below :) It will be released on May 15th, 2018!!


Now just a few things about Charlie, because she's amazing and I can't help myself. So first, cakes...she makes delightful looking cakes and she even wrote a book about baking and cakery stuff (that also included stabby scenes and icing and was purely fantastic --> see Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet). She owns a huge number of fancy frames for glasses, and (in my opinion) is a very fashionable individual. Brandon Sanderson apparently knows her quite well, and while I've seen his books plastered over every store in town, I still regretfully must inform you I have yet to read one...

And last but not least, she's a supremely talented writer (heck guys, Disney optioned the rights of her Paper Magician Trilogy....). I truly love that she shares her gift with us :) because we need more beautiful stories like hers in this world <3

Go follow her on Twitter :)

Here are links to Charlie's social media places in case you want to dig on your own for more about this magical author:

Twitter  ||  Official Website  ||  Facebook  ||  Pinterest  ||  Instagram


Signed with frosted sugar cookies,


1 comment:

  1. Ooooh, this sounds fascinating. I'll have to check it out!


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