“When one believes in oneself, even the extraordinary is possible.”
-Charlie N. Holmberg
“The Master Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg is the third and final instalment in “The Paper Magician” trilogy. With her enemies either dead or in captivity, Ceony is finally able to focus on her magician test. Because of their romantic relationship with on another, Mg. Thane decides to send Ceony to another magician for testing to avoid suspicions of favoritism. However, the escape of the dangerous Excisioner, Saraj, puts a damper in their plans. Equipped with the secret of binding and unbinding one’s self to different materials, Ceony sets out to catch Saraj before he can take his revenge out on Mg. Thane or her family.
Though I found this book enjoyable, I expected more from it. Because there were no major catastrophes or excitements in the beginning of this book, I found myself struggling to get into it. Things got a bit more interesting when Ceony was sent away to another magician to prepare for her magician’s test. Being separated from Mg. Thane gave Ceony the space that she needed to sneak out in search of Saraj. However, I still felt that this part of the book could have been made a bit more interesting and exciting. The magician that Ceony is paired with is a man that Mg. Thane used to bully in school. The magician clearly holds a grudge against Mg. Thane AND Ceony. However, nothing really comes from the grudge except for some heated exchanges and some intercepted letters. I feel that the author could have done a bit more with this. For example, maybe the magician Ceony is sent to is in league with Saraj. Or maybe the magician she is sent to could have become significant in the plot to catch Saraj. As it was, I felt that the magician that Ceony served no major purpose aside from giving Ceony some space from Mg. Thane.
Additionally, Ceony only runs into Saraj once during her search for him (not including the final stand off.) Personally, I found this run in to be somewhat anticlimactic. She finally reveals her ability to use multiple materials, but she only gets one fire ball shot in before Saraj runs off. This seemed to be a bit out of character for a powerful Excisioner to run from anyone. Saraj had facedoff against magicians of all types, so why run from Ceony in that moment. Surely he couldn’t have been that fearful of her newfound ability to use fire magic.
Throughout this book, Ceony is the only magician in the world who can use all of the materials. She makes herself a charm necklace which includes a charm for each material, allowing her to switch from one material to another with ease. I thought that this aspect of the book’s plot was really neat. Ceony utilized each material during her search for Saraj. I was excited to read about the different spells that each material could do. Honestly, her ability to work with all of the magic materials made Ceony kind of a bad ass. However, I found myself wanting more when it was all said and done. I feel that though Ceony used each of her new skills in battle, she had the potential to be portrayed as much more powerful. In the end, it was her own powers with the help of Mg. Thane that did Saraj in. I wasn’t entirely disappointed with the final battle in this book. However, I much preferred the final battle from “The Glass Magician,” where Ceony shattered a piece of glass inside of the glass magician, Grath.
Thankfully, the romance between Mg. Thane and Ceony was not the main focus of this book. However, the scandle of opposite sex apprenticeship pairings became a hot topic in society. Mg. Thane and Ceony got engaged as soon as Ceony passed her magician’s test. This didn’t bother me quite as much as I thought that it would. After all, Ceony was an adult at this point and he was no longer her instructor. Though Ceony and Mg. Thane kissed and were affectionate during their time as teacher and student, they never took their relationship any further.
As the last book in the series, I wanted it to be more exciting and action packed than the first two books. Unfortunately, I think I preferred the second book in the series to this one. I feel that this book was set up well and had a lot of potential that was not fulfilled as much as it could have been. However, I still enjoyed the book overall and feel that it is definitely worth reading.
Rating: 2 1/2
Next Up: “Serafina and the Black Cloak” by Robert Beatty (series) 🦄
Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Do you have any book recommendations for me? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this post, please shoot me a like, comment, or follow.
Love Always, AnxiouslyM