The truth is, I don’t judge things by their cover, because that would be totally unfair and heaven knows how many good books I would have skipped out on.
I judge them by their synopsis.
This is definitely what I did for The Paper Magician. I needed a new book to read, and this happened to be free on my kindle. The first few chapters were dull- but I was determined to pull through.
The idea of the book is most definitely interesting. It takes place in London (which, I kept forgetting, except for the occasional use of “bloody” this or “wont”) in the early 1900s (which, again, I did not discover until the book was almost over). It focuses on the story of Ceony Twill, a girl who graduated at the top of her class at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. She goes to be an apprentice for Emery Thane, in order to be a *shudder* Folder. A Folder, or a paper magician, if you will, has the ability to fold paper into objects and then whisk it into existence by commanding, “Breathe.” This is not the only form of magic, as we are told, there are many different kinds, including the dark and forbidden magic, Excision. This is the ability to control human flesh. (Try not to think too much about that one, it’s very dark and morbid.) After Ceony has been with the magician for a few months, an Excisioner named Lila bursts in the door unexpectedly and yanks out Thane’s heart, right in front of Ceony. Now, it is up to Ceony to find Lila and get his heart back, before it’s too late. To do so, she must literally go into his heart and experience the memories hidden in his past. DUN DUN DUN. Except. The story is not actually- well, it’s not very intense. Possibly the biggest factor was that I didn’t like Ceony or her narrating. It was quite annoying.
Now, all Ceony does for most of the first half of the book is complain about being a Folder and what she could do “if she was a Smelter.”
I’m just saying, if I had any type of magic at ALL, especially if it involves turning PAPER into real things and having the power to make stories COME ALIVE, I would not be complaining. That is definitely an AWESOME power, and I don’t know why she takes such horrible offense to being a Folder. Not only that, she is extremely rude to Thane for the first part of the book, and then it’s like she completely switches personalities.
I am not even started with complaining about her, so buckle up. Perhaps the most annoying trait she had was her incredible scrutiny and detail. She would sit there and describe the sky in more depth than any. one. has ever described the sky. The sky is BLUE, people. News flash: you do not need to describe it as a type of dark azure that looks like it’s been kissed by the ocean or whatnot. I am not saying detail is not important in a story, because it is extremely important. But it’s like describing a tree by saying, “Its curved upward like a ballerina, reaching the sky with it’s twisted arms. The leaves were rough, each one carved with the uttermost delicacy, as if the placement of the veins were as unique as snowflakes. The leaves varied in color, from dark greens, to light greens, to normal greens, all a different shade, as if painted by paintbrush that was slowly running out of paint. The wind teased it, whispering through the leaves, as if the tree had a story to tell.”
This is all well and fine and might be a beautiful description once in a while, but imagine if every object someone ever described to you was in this fashion, you would get annoyed with it. That was one of my biggest problems with our darling Ceony.
Speaking of which, Ceony had NO flaws. She thought nobody should be bullied, she was a hard worker, she graduated at the top of her class, she had a photographic memory that allowed her to memorize all of her folds quickly and seemed to act 100% of the time on her perfect instincts rather than reason. SHOW ME SOME WEAKNESSES HERE. Another frustrating thing was the romance- she fell for her romantic teacher way too quickly, and even then, it was solely on his outward appearance. She risked her life to save his even though she barely knew him. All she could think about for most of the book is how much it would destroy her if he died. Maybe if they had some more relationship building experiences, it would have seemed much more believable, but he wasn’t even conscious for more than half of the story.
This book was not unbearable, despite the plethora of one and two star reviews that it has been receiving. The plot was unique and interesting, and the world of the Paper Magician was very well crafted. However, everything was extremely over-descriptive, and Ceony just seemed like a really basic, whiny character. If you are simply looking for a quick read with a good plot, The Paper Magician is for you.