Cover Image: The Plastic Magician

The Plastic Magician

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Member Reviews

After reading all of her paper magician novels, this one just feels like a bit of a slog through a similar road in the same old country.
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If you enjoyed the other books in the Paper Magician series, do yourself a favor and check out this spin-off as well. Alvie is a worthwhile successor to Ceony (who herself has a delightful cameo in this book, alongside Emery), and Bennet is just too sweet. A light-hearted story about the magic of science and discovery.
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I had the same issue with this book as I did with the first three in the Paper Magician series: the overwhelming wasted potential. It is such a shame because I wanted so much to like this book. The author is creative - the ideas, the world, the magic, it all has so much potential but seems to be wasted away. The protagonist is lacking something I can't quite define. I just wish more time was spent on the amazing world and this awesome creative idea of magic being tied to one sort of element. I think I just expected more plot wise. Still, the world is so creative that I'll probably continue to read anything Holmberg writes with the hope of her exploring more of the parts that are of interest to me. Maybe one day.
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An enjoyable story with the same charm as the original series. However, I did enjoy the original series more. But it was fun to revisit this world and this will be a great read for fans of this author and this world.
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I would first like to thank The Author, the Publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read this great book in exchange for an honest unbiased review

In this book we meet Alvie Brechenmacher who has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the newest magical discipline which involves the bespelling plastic. 

This was the fourth book in what is shaping up to be an amazing and well written series. As dissapointed as I was at first that the original characters weren't the main influence in this story,.... For my full review please follow the link below
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This book was the perfect companion to the rest of his series. It’s set in such a unique world that kept me intrigued, and the plot had me hooked from page one. Loved it!
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I tried to read this several times.  This book just isn't for me.  It did not hook me at the very beginning, so I couldn't continue reading it.  I kept forgetting that I had even began.  Sorry for the trouble.
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There was something missing in the book, although I'm not quite sure what it was. Alvie and Praff made for interesting characters by themselves, but I couldn't quite buy the chemistry and romance between the two. The suspense portion of the book fell a little flat as well. Having said that, I did enjoy the book and finished it without any problems. Maybe it would have been better if I had read the other books in the series.
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Thanks to Netgalley and 47North for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!

The Plastic Magician, a spin-off of the Paper Magician was a fun and light read! I wish I had known that it was a spin-off series prior to reading but that's my own fault. The good news is that it does not have to be read in conjunction with the other books in the series and makes total sense having read it as a standalone! 
Reading this book made me want to dive more into the series. The characters were loveable and there was a whimsical feel to the book, very similar to what I felt while reading Caraval. 

Would definitely recommend!
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I thoroughly enjoyed all of The Paper Magician novels, so I was super excited to see The Plastic Magician pop up on NetGalley. There was even a fun little cameo by our beloved Paper Magician characters! The story begins with our leading lady Alvie and we  follow along on her journey to becoming a plastic magician. She was such a fun character and she had a lot of spunk and personality that slowly showed itself throughout the novel. 

Alvie had the tendency of getting herself into a little trouble from time to time because she was constantly wrapped up in her work and learning her craft. She was such an interesting character and I loved getting to know her. There were a few portions of the novel that were pretty predictable but I don't think it took away from the story. All in all, it was an entertaining read and I would recommend picking it up if you were a fan of The Paper Magician series. Thank you to NetGalley for sending this copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3/5
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I can't say with 100% certainty that this one was my favorite from this realm, because I really did enjoy The Master Magician, but I did really enjoy this story. The to the plot was great and flowed well. There was good tension leading up to the climax of the story and a reasonably good resolution and conclusion of the conflict. I saw many of the events coming before they did, but I wasn't as disappointed in that as you might think. (I am good at guessing plots and endings, and sometimes even the intended "plot twists", to come. It happens often enough that it's not necessarily a "death sentence" (bad rating) for the book, it just means the story had better have a lot more to offer me if it wants a good rating!)

Although this one is a spin off from The Paper Magician series, the previous characters really don't show up but a handful of times and not from their perspective. This book has a whole new character set and I think that's really what I liked the most out of this story. Alvie is just such a wonderful character, I can't help but love her. She's smart and full of thoughts and wonder about the world that it makes things like a love interest a sweet, albeit naive, element to this story. I could feel her genuine sweet and innocent demeanor through the story. The other characters are good support to her character, but I'm already getting weary with writing this review so I'm curtailing this here. *shrugs*

The writing was on par for Holmberg's other books. We still had some inconsistency with time period and modern slang terms being used, but as I've mentioned before; I think I've come to expect it in this series and am now glossing over it. Overall, her writing is decent at least from a grammar and flow of the story standpoint.

This narrator was much better than the one who did the other three books. I liked that the narrator changed since the character perspective changed from Ceony to Alvie. It was a nice choice. Sarah Zimmerman isn't super adept at changing character voices but she did a decent job of making the story come alive as she narrated it.

So the short of it is; I enjoyed this one; perhaps more than the other three books. I feel like Holmberg does a little bit better with each consecutive book in this realm and that makes me happy. If you're looking for something different, this isn't a bad choice at all. Oh, and you needn't have read the other three in order to enjoy and make sense of this one; the story lines really don't tie in.
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4.5 stars

Plastic - and magic? Surprisingly it works. 

I love this world, and I have since I read The Paper Magician (I love their little cameos in this!) so I had a feeling I'd like this. And I did. Alvie is a sturdy, serious sort of girl with thick glasses, trousers in a time where dresses are the norm, and a very studious mind. I fricking love her. There's some romance in this (it's okay, but I accidentally fell for her tutor, Marion Praff, whoops) but mostly, this is a fun magical mystery that's full of heart, excitement, and feminism. Oh, and a villain with an evil lair, a magic comic con, and prosthetic limbs! There is nothing by Charlie N. Holmberg that I won't read.
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This book was such a fun ride. Pretty prose and a gripping plot. I love reading about clever characters, and Alvie is so smart--a great narrator to explore this world with. Not to mention the magic system was A+ fascinating and so unique.
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Many thanks go Charlie Holmberg, 47North, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. I’m was so excited to see the Magician series was given new life! Such a great series, but I kinda love magic. But now we have new categories to manipulate, which just gives those sneaky, manipulative mages new ways to break the law. Our new heroine is adorable and brilliant and American! YAY! I just adore how dorky and intelligent she is (and she still gets a smoking hot boyfriend). The plot wasn’t over the top; it was almost whimsical in parts. This book wasn’t nearly as cruel as the first set of books. Holmberg is quickly becoming one of my favorite fantasy authors. I can’t wait for her next release.
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I've been quite a fan of the Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg.  I've recommended the series to many people and every one has come back to tell me how much they've enjoyed it. Now Holmberg is keeping the series alive with what is part sequel and part spin-off.  There's still plenty of magic afoot and we're still following an apprentice, but instead of the erstwhile Ceony, we are now following American, Alvie, as she arrives in England to apprentice with a master plastics magician.

It's quite a new adventure of Alvie, learning new customs as well as trying to grow in her chosen magic art. Fortunately she is apprenticed to a magician who is as dedicated as she is to improving and finding ways to accomplish her goals.  This magician, Marion Praff, couldn't be more charming and welcoming to Alvie (and fortunately he's married!), but not everyone is enthralled by Praff and his continued showings of new magic at the annual conference, which is not too far away.

Alvie is an inventor at heart and when she presents an idea to Praff, and he encourages her and takes it on in order to help develop it for the next conference, Alvie is thrilled.  But a number of magicians in the area are reporting burglaries and Alvie worries that her and Praff's remarkable invention - which should revolutionize Polymaking - is at risk.  She has no idea just how much at risk her invention - and her life - really is!

I'm thrilled to be back in this world of Holmberg's.  It's a great, rather unique, world that she's created, and while both her leading characters (Ceony and Alvie) are similar in many regards, it's not surprising since they should be about the same age, being apprentices.  The mentors are different enough (if you've read The Paper Magician series, you'll understand - if not ... you should correct that right now!) but both appealing as mentors. (Though it will be delicious when she sometime chooses to write of an apprentice with one of the villainous magicians!)

I did feel that things went a little too smoothly for lucky Alvie. She doesn't seem to have to work too hard for her glory. Even when things go terribly wrong, she manages to get away and run into good people who trust and believe her immediately. Though the climax scenes during her trouble is well written and quite exciting.

It will be interesting to see what Holmberg comes up with next for the series, and I will continue to count myself as a fan, though this book didn't quite live up to the excitement and thrill of the first series.

Looking for a good book? The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg, is a follow-up/spin-off to the Paper Magician series and while it doesn't have quite the excitement, it is still an enjoyable story.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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My absolute go-to author when I need a perk in my reading list.  I have yet to be disappointed by a single story she has written.

The Plastic Magician is a continuation to "The Paper Magician" trilogy.  Ceony's story was wrapped up wonderfully at the end of The Master Magician, but the world still exists and time keeps on ticking.

We are now a few years along when we meet our new protagonist, Alvie Brechenmacher.  She is a character near and dear to my heart as we are identical twins.  

Alvie is an American girl heading across the pond to take an internship in Polymaking--plastic magic.  In England, she meets an incredible new cast of characters along with some excellent cameos from our favorite Folders.

The new characters are a delight and interact as well as the original cast.  While reading "The Paper Magician" trilogy will help you understand the magic system, The Plastic Magician needs to remain a story read on its own merits.  They are not the same characters and should not be compared with the originals.  This is a continuation not a copy.

Their is conspiracy and intrigue as Magicians deal with the harsh reality of inventions and intellectual protection.  Holmberg once again gives us quite a large concept to consider on progress and what does "for the greater good" really mean.  That's why I love her writing so much.
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The Plastic Magician is a spin-off standalone of Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician series. I actually haven’t read any of the books in the original series but after being intrigued by the blurb for the book and seeing that it was perfectly okay to read without reading the others, I thought, why not give it a go?

Who, What, Where?
TPM is about a young, American, apprentice magician named Alvie Brechenmacher. Alvie is fascinated by Polymaking – a newly discovered branch of magic which deals with the manipulation of plastics. When she’s offered the opportunity to apprentice under the famous magician, Marion Praff, she packs her bags and heads to London. Here, she comes up with an innovative idea for a new polymaking project which she and Mg. Praff believe will help them to win the annual convention. The only problem is that Mg. Praff’s rival, Mg. Ezzell is determined to come out on top this year and may be directly trying to sabotage them.

Why You Should Read It
It’s Short & Light
If you’re on the lookout for something quick, straightforward and light in tone, TPM is a good pick. The book itself is only around 230 pages long and the writing is very easy to follow. There’s no heavy, dark undertones to the story –  what you see is essentially what you get. This means it’s a good way to break up other more dense and emotionally draining reads. The book almost reminds me of a Disney movie in that the characters are either good or bad and the plot follows the path you’d expect.

Sweet Characters
All of the “good” characters in this book are sweet and likeable. Alvie, herself, is smart, a little bit awkward, resourceful, and very hardworking. She can be scatterbrained at times but she has big dreams and is easy to relate to, especially in her preference for pants, bad hair days, and confusion regarding boys (girl, we’ve all been there). Aside from our lead, we also have Alvie’s romantic interest, Bennett, his sister and the inspiration behind Alvie’s project, Ethel, and Mg. Praff himself. All three of these characters have some nice interactions with Alvie and serve to add social elements to her London world.

Science & Magic
One of the most interesting parts of TPM is Holmberg’s magic system. It relies on language, the use of specific materials, and has a scientific feel to it which goes very well with the industrial era setting. Here, magic isn’t just about power or fun, it’s about blending it with technology to make things that advance society in some way or have a real 'wow' factor. We have paper messenger birds, mirror portals, universal keys, plastic that changes to reflect real-life images, and a whole bunch of other things.

I appreciated the fact that magic was more of a process in this book. You have to think about the effect certain words will have on your base materials and layer spells over each other in sequence using correct timing to achieve your desired result. Magic in this world is also still in progress, with magicians learning new words/spells as they go.

Why You Might Want to Skip It
Surface Level
I mentioned above that TPM was a very easy and straightforward read. The problem with this was, for me, it often translated to boring. While the characters are lovely, they’re also a bit two-dimensional and I have difficulty trying to find words to describe them other than “sweet” or “nice” or simply by their role in the book. The villain, Mg. Ezzell suffers from the same problem – he’s simply the “bad guy” who wants to beat Mg. Praff. There’s no real development there and he feels largely like the moustache-twirling villain of old cartoons.

For most of the book I kept hoping there’d be some kind of twist or deviation from the obvious plot path laid out for us early on: Alvie goes to England, Alvie studies and comes up with an idea, idea to be presented at convention, bad guy attempts to steal idea, plot foiled, happily ever after. It didn’t have to be an extremely shocking variation, just something to grab my attention. Unfortunately, I was left wanting, with the plot moving from point A to B to C exactly as expected and somehow making those 233 pages feel like a slog at times. Even the romance between Alvie & Bennett, whilst having its cute moments, overall felt unengaging, making me almost wish that Bennett would somehow do a Hans from Frozen and turn out to be working with Ezzell. Alas, no such luck.
As a light, fluffy, and brief fantasy read, The Plastic Magician succeeds. However, if you go into this book looking for richness and depth with regards to characters, plot or themes, you’re likely to be disappointed. Those seeking something fun, easy-going, with an interesting approach to magic and a fairly endearing heroine, will probably leave fairly satisfied. For my part, unfortunately, as much as I wanted to love this one, I found myself wishing it would hurry up and finish so I could move on to something more interesting.

2.5 Stars 

**Thank you to 47North and Netgalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I received a copy of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the other three books in this series so I anticipated a quick, entertaining read. The Plastic Magician fell slightly short of that mark for me, unfortunately. The characters were not as compelling and the story felt very basic. Also, plastic as a material magic didn't interest me as much as paper or glass because the things that can be done with plastic are so common in real life.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it. It's easy and accessible. It's technically sound. And I'd be curious to see what else Alvie gets up to if her story continues. But it wasn't quite what I was hoping for.

I would recommend this (and the whole series, really) to a younger audience. They'd probably find it very enjoyable.
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Alvie Brechenmacher arrives in London to begin her training in Polymaking, or the magical applications of plastic. 
She makes new friends and new discoveries in Polymaking-but comes up against some enemies, meets some familiar faces (from the Paper Magician series), and makes magical discoveries. Hoping for a sequel!
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Charlie Holmberg is a treasure and so is this book. I sincerely hope that this isn't the last we see of this world. I didn't want to start this book since I'm in the middle of another series because I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down until I was done and that's exactly what happened.

I'm putting both the author and this series on my auto-buy list.
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