Serial books with heavy magic themes can feel so dark and involved.
Even if I love them, I have to be willing to enter their worlds: the dark vs light, shifting alliances and constant twists, the angst of having magical abilities, detailed characters and multiple plotlines. Sometimes I don’t want to go so far in. Sometimes I want less darkness, fewer details to keep track of. I can appreciate a shorter, lighter series on magic, with a healthy dash of steampunk and an appeal to adult and YA audiences.
Enter The Paper Magician series by Charlie N Holmberg.
The magicians in this trilogy animate and make uses of manmade objects instead of making things manifest out of thin air. I like that the protagonist, the talented aspiring magician Ceony Twill got an element that at first seems boring that she isn’t sure she really wants.
Not only is the magic unique with its own set of clear rules, though, there were other unique elements:
The Paper Magician: very unique exposition for the background of Emery Thane, the master magician that Ceony has been sent to as an apprentice.
The Glass Magician: Ceony learns that she can break one of the thought to be unbreakable rules of magicianship, which I also thought was unique. Many of the books I have encountered on magic are a battle between dark and light, not about manipulating some of the laws of the magic itself. If you like well behaved characters, Ceony Twill might not be for you. She is competent and loving and has many good qualities but she loves taking matters into her own hands, like, all the time.
The Master Magician: This one combines both her personal story reaching a resolution as well as the last remaining threads of the conflict with the dark magicians. Yes, there is dark vs. light but it is more than that. There is a decent twist when Ceony’s rule breaking discovery is revealed.
These books are also pretty short, fewer than 300 pages. I used these as a break from heavier tomes. One of my other reader friends who generally prefers lighter reads blew through these long before I did. I read The Paper Magician and then I wandered off for awhile and then I finished the last two as a break from getting through my Reading Challenge reads. It was not so forgettable or involved to not be able to pick up after a break.
Also, there is romance, but I think it is well done. I don’t always like when characters have to get paired off in books, but I felt that the pairing here is tasteful and makes sense based on what we know of the characters. I did not feel that the pairing was forced or unnatural.
These books started out priced more indie but are published by an Amazon Publishing company that does not accept unsolicited submissions. So I guess this is not an indie series, but it is not one of the big five either. It was a really poor idea researching this for this post because now I see she has other books and I can’t buy more books this year. This month. Something. No new books. I hate January.
Do you have any lighter magic series that you like to read? I have some cozy mysteries with magic that I have not delved into yet. They could also make the cut for breaks from the heavier reads.
Comments/likes/shares are always appreciated.