The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Master Magician Charlie Holmberg

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

Ceony, wearing her red apprentice’s apron over a ruffled blouse and plain brown skirt, stood on her tiptoes on a three-legged stool and stuck a square of white paper against the east wall of the Holloways’ living room, right where the wall met the ceiling.


Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own — an ability long thought impossible.

While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. To avoid favoritism, Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. To make matters worse, a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined.


Ceony has battled her tutor’s ex-wife in the Paper Magician and walked his heart. In the Glass Magician, she battled more Excisioners, magicians who use blood and body parts, and discovered the secret to bond to other materials. Now she faces another challenge: her magician’s test is coming up and the Excisioner who threatened her family has escaped.

Pyre magic was the last materials magic Ceony had tested for herself, for one slip could injure her or burn down the house. She had tried out her first spell with her feet submerged in the bathtub. Fortunately, she had only suffered a rather nasty blister. Now she confined herself to small, novice spells.

She used the tiny flame to caramelize the tops of her crème brûlée.

I always liked that Ceony is curious about magic and wants to find out as much as she can about it. Instead of pushing the knowledge of how to bind to different materials to the back of her head as her love, Emery Thane would like her to, she experiments with it, testing spells on different materials.

I also liked that she’s not content to wait on the sidelines when Saraj the excisioner escapes. He threatened her and her family, of course she wants to find out more. She needs to find him and bring him to justice before he can hurt anyone else.

Bile rose up in Ceony’s throat and she barely managed to swallow it down. Her sinuses burned from the effort.

Intestines. And they couldn’t be from a pig or cow. Only humans were man-made. Excisioners could do spells with only humans.

This book is a perfect ending to the trilogy in many ways. Sure, it has some flaws (Ceony is a bit too perfect, you know, being able to control all materials and the final fight was a bit low-key) but overall, I really enjoyed it. The magic system is awesome. The characters are great and the romance between Emery and Ceony is really sweet.


A sweet ending to a great trilogy.


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