review: the plastic magician

The Plastic Magician is the standalone followup to the Paper Magician trilogy and was just as much a delight as the first three. One reader has described this series as “cozy fantasy”, which I find to be particularly apt!

In this story, Alvie migrates from the United States to the UK in pursuit of her apprenticeship with a master Polymaker, Marion Praff. She finds adventure, love, and all of the polymaking her heart could desire as she at Mg. Praff explore new techniques and strive to find the next groundbreaking invention. Unfortunately for Alvie, a rival magician conspires against her to not only steal her designs, but also to deport her back to the US and out of her apprenticeship.

Luckily for me, this novel totally lived up to the cozy fantasy genre, where the good guys are generally good and the bad guys generally stay bad, and there’s not a whole lot of extraneous fuss about double crosses and such. I find that in recent literature, the “double cross” plot device has been so overplayed that I no longer find it interesting and instead, find the lovely interaction between Alvie and Bennett to be refreshing and delightful.

My only small issue is Alvie’s glasses. As someone with a very high prescription, I thought that I would find a great font of representation in Alvie, but instead I found yet another story that let her more or less toss her glasses aside when it was convenient. The most egregious moment was when (spoilers!) Alvie and Bennett kiss and Bennett lifts her glasses up prior to the kiss. Boo! Most of us who are that blind consider our glasses to be a part of our face, not something to be easily brushed aside in the heat of the moment.

Aside from that irritation, which was admittedly minor, this novel was a delight! Charlie N. Holmberg did a fabulous job of writing an entertaining, standalone novel that lifted my spirits and entertained me for the afternoon! I recommend reading this and, of course, reading the original trilogy!

Thank you to NetGalley and 47North for the ARC; The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg will be published on May 15th, 2018. 


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