Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.
This book is one that pulls you into its story. The premise unfolding as the characters and plot feed an ever expanding story line; in much the same way that the sun, rain, and soil work together to nurture a new rose.
While Ceony makes no bones about her reluctance to become a student of paper magic, she does show herself to be a greatful and apt pupil.
Much to the delight of readers there is a marked absence of the dreaded instas in this read.
There is no:
Characters are given the time to feel each other out. In some cases, more literally than others.
The author writes her characters from a very emotional and profound place. A technique which imbues her story with a maturity that comes as a very unexpected and welcome surprise.
When your life journey puts you on a path that not only allows you to change the path of another, but to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the person in question...wow!
The world building!
Miss Holmberg is very cognoscente of her action/setting ratio when writing this book. She remains very aware that she is striving to be able to concentrate on keeping the flow of action at a steady pace throughout this tale. As such, she keeps the scope of her world very small so that she is able to make it very detailed without disrupting the before mentioned flow of action.
The villain here is also very detailed. But just as with the protagonists in the story, we as readers have to discover her layers and their importance to the story as a whole as we read.
In short, nothing about this wonderfully magical read can be taken a face value.
This is a mature look at the nature of magic, life, love, good, and evil. A reminder that there can be strength and beauty in the most mundane things; when said things are called to a higher purpose. A reminder that there is no magic truer or more enduring than that of love.