“The Paper Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg

This novel was bizarre. I debated on whether or not I wanted to review it.

I don’t like writing negative reviews, saving those only for books I find truly terrible. This novel does not fit my criteria for a negative review.
I also didn’t love it. I wouldn’t really recommend it personally as I did not enjoy it.
This left me a bit at odds as to how to properly portray my thoughts.
Let’s just dive in.
The Paper Magician is the first of a trilogy.
My feelings for it changed from what they were in the beginning to how I felt toward the end.
I will include my impression notes here to help illustrate:

30.0% “Riveting! I like the very refreshing idea here of paper magic!”

51.0% “A little bizarre with the whole “being in his heart”, but definitely a creative way to work in flashback scenes.

55.0% “This hand scene thing is gross. *shudders*”

74.0%”This has a little bit more gore and horror to it than I like in my books. I am five chapters from finishing, but it is a struggle to get there right now.  Urgh. “

77.0% “This is getting really dumb. I don’t care at all about the characters. The novel is trying way too hard to be emotional, but isn’t getting there. The only thing I really cared about was the paper dog and now he is gone. Sigh. It started out so great… hmph.”

80.0%”Okay, well at least the doggie is back.”
87.0% “Glad this is almost over. The writing isn’t bad, the story just is not interesting to me.”
This is in a nutshell how I felt while reading this.
The writing was not bad at all; quite detailed and mature.
The story I found was the lacking element here, which made it a sloggy read. (Sloggy is a term I use when I have gotten to a point in a book where I am too far to stop now, but have to force myself to reach the end. Variant: “Slog, slog, slog”)
I won’t be seeking out the additional two in this series, however, I did skim over some quick impressions of others who had read them and by the third book, the series gets sloggy even to people who rated the first two very highly.
The premise was great, the idea behind-the-story was original.
The characterization did not do enough to make me care about these characters and that’s what I think helps to drive the plot too for most tales. So really, there were two essential elements missing here.
The cover is beautiful and quite fitting considering the story itself. I like that it took place during a Victorian-esque time.
Overall, this book was mediocre to me. This isn’t to say that others won’t love it. I am not trying to dissuade anyone from at least checking it out if it sounds appealing to them.
My Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
I am being nice and letting that hit the three-star mark for the writing style alone. It was very well-written. I can not stress that part enough. Even with that achievement going for it, it lacked well heart.
For these reasons, I give the middle of the road star rating to a book that started out so grand but fell oh so short.

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