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The Plastic Magician

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Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician. Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician. Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery. Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is. Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself. To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…


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Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician. Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician. Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery. Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is. Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself. To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

30 review for The Plastic Magician

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stacee

    I had really enjoyed the Paper Magician series, so I was pretty excited to see there was a spin off. I liked Alvie well enough. She’s super smart and passionate and I enjoyed reading her dedication to her magic. Ethel and Bennet were fantastic and supportive secondary characters and I could have read a million more scenes with them. Oh and the brief scene of Ceony and Emery was just perfection. Plot wise it was just okay. I didn’t get caught up in this branch of magic. And while the idea of gett I had really enjoyed the Paper Magician series, so I was pretty excited to see there was a spin off. I liked Alvie well enough. She’s super smart and passionate and I enjoyed reading her dedication to her magic. Ethel and Bennet were fantastic and supportive secondary characters and I could have read a million more scenes with them. Oh and the brief scene of Ceony and Emery was just perfection. Plot wise it was just okay. I didn’t get caught up in this branch of magic. And while the idea of getting a discovery stolen made for a good {but quite mild} villain, there wasn’t a sense of urgency. The build up was slow and the confrontation was fairly lackluster. Overall, it was a quick read and an interesting start to a spin off. I did like it, yet I’m not sure I will be reading any of the others. **Huge thanks to 47North for providing the arc free of charge**

  2. 5 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    Netgalley #65 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 sm Netgalley #65 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Real Rating: 3.5* of five This read was very cute. These Paper-Magician series books are meant to be YAs, I found out; not my natural grazing grounds. I assure you it is so, but it doesn't seem to be explicitly stated anywhere that Author Holmberg is very much a Mormon and very committed to its Manichean dualism. Good girls aren't simpering idiots, but they sure as heck aren't going to third base, still less all the way; I think there's exactly no one QUILTBAG in this universe. I don't think I'm d Real Rating: 3.5* of five This read was very cute. These Paper-Magician series books are meant to be YAs, I found out; not my natural grazing grounds. I assure you it is so, but it doesn't seem to be explicitly stated anywhere that Author Holmberg is very much a Mormon and very committed to its Manichean dualism. Good girls aren't simpering idiots, but they sure as heck aren't going to third base, still less all the way; I think there's exactly no one QUILTBAG in this universe. I don't think I'm drawn to read the others in the series, but wouldn't say that anyone else shouldn't. Of course, I'm not warbling my fool lungs out to encourage you to do so. It's just fine. Really fun, fairly obvious, very predictable, and pleasantly dense in its magical world. So much fun to imagine Magician Praff's "The Imaginarium", a key plot point that doesn't feel freshly invented but rather like something Author Holmberg developed earlier in the series. And I like the way the author uses the honorific "Magician" without gender reference. In this book, Alvie refers to her mentor as "Mg. Praff" which also gave me a happy smile. Pretty much perfect for today's sensibilities, as witness the film option that Disney+ took out in 2016. It's still in pre-production, but that's not surprising when there's this much f/x work to do. I hope they stay with Allison Shearmur as producer, she of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, to get the women's point of view right. This is a series I'd encourage parents of tween daughters to casually mention. I read Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet a few years ago. Like this read, it was just fine...not superb, but certainly not sub-par, and pretty much perfect for light, undemanding, yet involving reading. It suited me well for my LT group's Fantasy February shared read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Thanks to Netgalley and 47North for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review! Holmberg's Paper Magician series did something really cool: it introduced a very unique and very fun magic system. This standalone follow-up/spin-off book follows the adventures of Ceony in the first three books and this time, it's through the very poor-sighted eyes of Alvie, a fledgling Polymaker (plastic magician) who is taking an apprenticeship in England, far across the sea from her home in the US. Thanks to Netgalley and 47North for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review! Holmberg's Paper Magician series did something really cool: it introduced a very unique and very fun magic system. This standalone follow-up/spin-off book follows the adventures of Ceony in the first three books and this time, it's through the very poor-sighted eyes of Alvie, a fledgling Polymaker (plastic magician) who is taking an apprenticeship in England, far across the sea from her home in the US. She's smart as a whip, and she's strong in her own way, but she doesn't suffer from the same quick-to-jump-into-trouble nature as Ceony did. She's logical and methodical, and a very good protagonist. While the twist wasn't all that shocking (I mean, we'd figured out the twists pretty early on, hadn't we? *wink*), the magic was a fun ride, and the story had some cool ideas. All in all, I enjoyed it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    The Paper Magician trilogy holds a very special place in my heart - and I'm only too pleased to add this next book into their illustrious company! Alvie is a complete departure from Ceony (who has a very satisfying cameo!) - she's logical, mathematical, quite the overthinker and very much in the scatterbrained genius mold when she's working. (view spoiler)[ One of my favourite lines happened to be the last and it sums her up perfectly; After all, ,it wasn't about the magic. It was about the disco The Paper Magician trilogy holds a very special place in my heart - and I'm only too pleased to add this next book into their illustrious company! Alvie is a complete departure from Ceony (who has a very satisfying cameo!) - she's logical, mathematical, quite the overthinker and very much in the scatterbrained genius mold when she's working. (view spoiler)[ One of my favourite lines happened to be the last and it sums her up perfectly; After all, ,it wasn't about the magic. It was about the discovery. (hide spoiler)] . She's an American too, brought to the UK as part of a program to encourage foreign students to take their apprenticeships there. Expanding the world like that allowed us further glimpses into how this world fits magic alongside technology - and though one character dismisses technology as "the uneducated man's magic", Alvie is quick to correct her. Her own father is a co-creator of the light bulb, a purely technological marvel even in this world. But things like long range travel and communication by mirror, left mostly unexplored in the last three books, were an absolute delight in this one. An absolute delight is probably the best way I could ever describe this book. Alvie's sense of discovery and marvel at the possibilities afforded by the chance to study and learn were absolutely contagious to me as the reader. The wait for the next book is going to be a long one! I received a free digital copy in return for an honest review

  6. 5 out of 5

    booksNpenguins

    Little did I know that this author and this particular series would become an obsession, and yet, here I am💁🏼‍♀️ Little did I know that this author and this particular series would become an obsession, and yet, here I am💁🏼‍♀️

  7. 4 out of 5

    HBalikov

    I suspect that I am not the target audience for this book. I think this quote about the subject of The Plastic Magician, makes it clear who is. "“I think you can do it, Alvie,” the injured woman said. A smile touched her lips. “I really do. We don’t know each other terribly well, but I see your drive. People with drive do amazing things.”" This is a “coming of age” story and it is meant to be encouraging to its readers. Alvie Brechenmacher is a young adult, from a hundred years ago, who lives in I suspect that I am not the target audience for this book. I think this quote about the subject of The Plastic Magician, makes it clear who is. "“I think you can do it, Alvie,” the injured woman said. A smile touched her lips. “I really do. We don’t know each other terribly well, but I see your drive. People with drive do amazing things.”" This is a “coming of age” story and it is meant to be encouraging to its readers. Alvie Brechenmacher is a young adult, from a hundred years ago, who lives in a world quite like the one we live in, but with magic developed and, in some cases, perfected. She has a firm idea of what she wants out of life: no surprise, it is to become a plastic magician, a “polymaker.” Plastic magic is only one of many specific disciplines and I don’t want to diminish your potential delight in discovering how well author Holmberg has thought this all through. Alvie is a very near-sighted “wallflower.” That is brought home when she goes to England to enter an apprenticeship with a well-known polymaker. He is rich and she lives and studies at his estate. "Our youngest, Martha, is recently married and has moved to the country. She’s just a couple years your junior.” Eighteen and already married. Not that it was uncommon; it was just that Alvie had only been on one “date” her entire life, to a dance after graduating from secondary school, and she’d never so much as kissed a man, let alone been proposed to. She had the nagging feeling she and the Polymaker’s daughter were very different vegetables." In addition, it seems intended to be inspirational. "“It has been a long road for these men and women, but they have prevailed. They have overcome difficulties of all kinds to be sitting here today, representing their disciplines. I give them the highest praise.” He turned and cleared his throat. “To you magicians, I give you the admonition to continue to persevere. Make your mark on this world. Expand your gifts. Reach out to those in need, and reach high to your Maker. Treat your magic with respect and loyalty, and it will do likewise. Leave this world a better place than it was when you entered it. The future calls to you. Now is the time to answer.”" Rather than encouraging any cynicism that I might possess, I found that I enjoyed the positive messages and magical world-making. If this is too sweet for you, I will understand but who knows what might have happened if I had read this when younger. Thanks to my GR friends Fiona and BAM for showing me this pathway. 3.5*

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Lee

    Thank you Charlie Holmberg and NetGalley for the opportunity to dive back into this magical world. This is truly one of my favorite series, and I am so happy I was able to read another story. The Plastic Magician is a spin off, which takes place after the events of The Plastic Magician trilogy. I believe that you could read this as a stand alone, but wholeheartedly recommended doing the trilogy first. We meet a brand new character ( Alvie ) who is leaving her home in Ohio to travel across seas t Thank you Charlie Holmberg and NetGalley for the opportunity to dive back into this magical world. This is truly one of my favorite series, and I am so happy I was able to read another story. The Plastic Magician is a spin off, which takes place after the events of The Plastic Magician trilogy. I believe that you could read this as a stand alone, but wholeheartedly recommended doing the trilogy first. We meet a brand new character ( Alvie ) who is leaving her home in Ohio to travel across seas to apprentice under the prestigious Magician Praff. Magician Praff is a prior attendee of the Discovery Convention, where he gained lots of attention with his last creation. He's been stumped for something to showcase this year, but as luck would have it, it seems like Alvie was just the person he needed to make things happen. Together they work on an invention that will shake the magical and medical world. However, there are issues that arise that no one anticipated, and Alvie's got to find a way out of a very tough situation. Alvie is an absolutely wonderful character. She's smart, ambitious, confident (except when it comes to cute boys) and is a giant clutz. She's adorable and everything you'd expect from a main character in this series. Magician Praff also amazed me. He is so supportive and attentive to Alvie, and I loved their dynamic together. The supporting characters that Alvie builds relationships with are adorable, I love her interactions with them. For fans of the trilogy, this has everything you love about the series. There is magic, there is love, and there is mischief. There's also the painful feeling at the end that this simply wasn't enough, and you need more!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Oh dear...this was somewhat disappointng. It lacked the sparkle, the flirtatious fun and the thrill that made up The Paper Magician series. Alvie and Bennet weren’t a patch on Ceony and Emery. Not sure whether I will continue with this series now.

  10. 5 out of 5

    The Librarian Witch

    I have to admit, I enjoyed this installment the most out of all the books in the series thus far. Alvie was such a great character and I found her so much easier to connect and relate to than the character of Ceony in the other books. Ceony seemed to mostly annoy and frustrate me, whereas Alvie was delightful! She’s smart (like, really really smart), clumsy, bold, adventurous, hardworking, plucky, brave, curious, and most of all - she really, REALLY likes to wear trousers *gasp* I loved that she w I have to admit, I enjoyed this installment the most out of all the books in the series thus far. Alvie was such a great character and I found her so much easier to connect and relate to than the character of Ceony in the other books. Ceony seemed to mostly annoy and frustrate me, whereas Alvie was delightful! She’s smart (like, really really smart), clumsy, bold, adventurous, hardworking, plucky, brave, curious, and most of all - she really, REALLY likes to wear trousers *gasp* I loved that she was a little bit different and didn’t really care what people thought about her. She was wonderful. I also enjoyed being able to take a break from paper magic and folding for a while (though there is a sweet little cameo appearance hidden in here which was lovely). I found Polymaking and plastic magic to be fascinating and it was refreshing to learn about something so completely different from the paper magic we’ve had in the other books. The Polymaking gave this book more of a sciencey edge and almost gave it a kind of steampunk vibe somehow. The story was also lovely, if a little obvious and predictable. It’s a lovely little adventure to carry you away for a few hours, just don’t expect any Earth-shattering plot twists along the way. All in all this was a very enjoyable book and I’m looking forward to seeing what Alvie gets up to next!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    I liked this one but didn't love it like I thought I would. Maybe it was because I'd been gone from the world too long - if there were any repeat characters, I did not recognize them (and I'm sure I would have loved it if I had remembered more). But as a story, it was a cute love story and an interesting idea of the plastic magicians. I loved how they went about creating and collaborating their idea for the entry into the super magical competition. But I hated that the bad guy was so over-the-to I liked this one but didn't love it like I thought I would. Maybe it was because I'd been gone from the world too long - if there were any repeat characters, I did not recognize them (and I'm sure I would have loved it if I had remembered more). But as a story, it was a cute love story and an interesting idea of the plastic magicians. I loved how they went about creating and collaborating their idea for the entry into the super magical competition. But I hated that the bad guy was so over-the-top bad and there wasn't a lot of mystery as to what was going on. It was cute and interesting but it just didn't grab me and hold me like I'd hoped.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kate (BloggingwithDragons)

    I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This review does contain marked spoiler. However, the book has not been released yet, so read at your own risk. I really enjoyed revisiting the much beloved world of the Paper Magician in this triumphant sequel to the original trilogy. In the Plastic Magician, main character American-German Alvie Brechenmacher, delves into the newly discovered magi I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This review does contain marked spoiler. However, the book has not been released yet, so read at your own risk. I really enjoyed revisiting the much beloved world of the Paper Magician in this triumphant sequel to the original trilogy. In the Plastic Magician, main character American-German Alvie Brechenmacher, delves into the newly discovered magic of Polymaking, the magical discipline of plastic, and finds herself across the pond in England, apprenticing with world-renowned Magician Marion Praff in what is another quirky and dear adventure. This book has everything, a marvelous heroine, romance, magic, creative world-building, action and mystery, and an all-around positive message. I love that Alvie is a sensible slacks-wearing American, complete with an accent, face-eating glasses and untamable hair. She is clearly a genius, adding large sums in her head, but is helplessly clumsy and so devoted to her new magic that she forgets what time it is. Alvie also has a heart of gold, choosing to volunteer in a hospital and using her new magic to create a prototype plastic arm for a friend who lost her arm in a factory accident. She is truly every bit as lovable and feels just as authentic and relatable as her Paper Magician counterpart, Ceony Twill, (view spoiler)[ who even makes a wonderful surprise cameo or two that fans of the series will just love (hide spoiler)] . I also adore her romance with Paper Magician, and all around cutie, Bennet. The very description of the two’s developing romance makes the reader feel butterflies! “His eyes [find] hers and he smile[s] a bright smile that made Alvie feel like a magician already or perhaps something even better.” It is purely delightful that Alvie found an Englishman who loves her for all of the things that make her Alvie, something that didn’t get her many suitors back home. He forgives her for missing their dates due to working on her Magic, doesn’t blame her for running off mid-conversation to jot down a new idea or for wanting to take apart his Benz’s engine to simply appreciate it, and genuinely cares for her just as she is. Bennet even informs her early on that he had a feeling he’d never be bored with her. I thought it was utterly adorable that he told her not to wear a skirt to his (view spoiler)[graduation ceremony (hide spoiler)] because “it just [isn’t] Alvie.” Alvie’s relationship with his sister, Ethel, the one for whom Alvie is inventing the Plastic arm prototype, is just as precious. As a reader with multiple disabilities, this scene between these two really touched me: “Ethel took her hand. ‘You’re a good friend Alvie. Even without all the magic.’ Alvie squeezed back. “’You are too, Ethel. Even without the arm.’ The older woman’s eyes watered just a bit. “I think that, today that’s something I needed to hear.” This exchange demonstrates how magic touches all of the relationships in the book, but isn’t defined by it. In the magical world of this book and the others in the series, people travel by mirrors, send mail via Folded mail birds, text each other via Mimic spells, and see their imaginations come to life not on movie screens, but through Imagidomes. I love how Alvie’s growing up in America, showed the different laws traditions, and attitudes towards magic throughout different countries. For example, in England public transportation via mirrors is not allowed, but in the United States it is quite the norm. And as Alvie grew up as the daughter of the true inventor of the light bulb, she has a unique and grounded viewpoint on how technological advances may affect magic. But these are just two of the many ways author Charlie N. Holmberg builds a complex and immersive world that I would personally love to inhabit. Though the book emphasizes that all Magicians should, “Treat [their] magic with respect and loyalty and it will do likewise. Leave this world a better place than it was when you entered it,” Alvie soon finds that not all Magicians uphold this creed.  There is intense competition for new discovery, especially in the newest magic—Polymaking—leading to violence, and the stealing of ideas. I love that in the face of danger, Alvie is able to use her intelligence to stay quick on her feet, rescue herself repeatedly, and is able to put together the pieces to solve a crime even before the Police. She’s not even traumatized by her brushes with danger, but instead uses her experiences to hypothesize an entirely new field of magic, which I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of in future installments. After all she says, “It [isn’t] about the magic. It [is] about the discovery.” And if you haven’t yet discovered the magic of the Paper Magician series, I urge you to do so at once. Book Review Policy Connect with Me:

  13. 4 out of 5

    ℨαrα

    Plot ~ Concept: ★★★★☆ ~ Execution: ★★☆☆☆½ Pacing: ★★★☆☆ Writing style: ★★★☆☆½ Characters: ★★★☆☆ World: ★★★★☆ Enjoyment: ★★★☆☆ Cover: ★★★★☆ Pros: ○ Much like the original trilogy, The Plastic Magician was a fun, quick, easy and lighthearted read. ○ The disability representation. ○ Ethel’s character as a whole was brilliant and I loved her. ○ Bennet is a proper Hufflepuff. ○ Alvie’s quirky and unconventional personality was good fun. ○ It was interesting seeing the parallels between the magical practice of Plot ~ Concept: ★★★★☆ ~ Execution: ★★☆☆☆½ Pacing: ★★★☆☆ Writing style: ★★★☆☆½ Characters: ★★★☆☆ World: ★★★★☆ Enjoyment: ★★★☆☆ Cover: ★★★★☆ Pros: ○ Much like the original trilogy, The Plastic Magician was a fun, quick, easy and lighthearted read. ○ The disability representation. ○ Ethel’s character as a whole was brilliant and I loved her. ○ Bennet is a proper Hufflepuff. ○ Alvie’s quirky and unconventional personality was good fun. ○ It was interesting seeing the parallels between the magical practice of polymaking and other new industries that have emerged in real life. ○ (view spoiler)[I didn’t suspect Emma until it was mentioned that she reported the footman. (hide spoiler)] Cons: ○ I wish that the antagonist had more depth, and that their motives ran deeper. ○The infamous “villainous monologue” — and a comical one at that. ○ I found that the plot lacked substance —more so than even the original trilogy— and left me desiring more after completing the book. ○ As a result of the above point, naturally the story was a bit predictable. ○ I found myself nodding off at some points. Overall rating: ★★☆☆☆½

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I adored the world created in The Paper Magician Trilogy and am super excited to be able to return to it. Alvie is adorable and believable as the heroine and new plastic magician apprentice and her brain and smart thinking are admirable. Bennet was also cute and his and Alvie's interactions had me cheering for them from the start. Love, love, love this edition to the series. I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I adored the world created in The Paper Magician Trilogy and am super excited to be able to return to it. Alvie is adorable and believable as the heroine and new plastic magician apprentice and her brain and smart thinking are admirable. Bennet was also cute and his and Alvie's interactions had me cheering for them from the start. Love, love, love this edition to the series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    Nice extra book adding to the original trilogy. Good story and characters and an interesting magic system and world. Recommended

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    These stories are delightful. I was cheered to return to the world of The Paper Magician in this spin off that follows a Plastic Magician on her adventures in magic and love. The bad guys conspiracy was weak but I’m hopeful that this will become a series with stronger plot. It makes me want to reread the previous books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie Lockhart

    I practically screeched for joy when I got an email from Netgalley saying that my ARC request was accepted for The Plastic Magician (in return for an honest review). Charlie N. Holmberg is one of my favourite authors, and the first book I read by her was The Paper Magician, so to see her continue one of my all time favourite series was a huge thing for me :) Where The Paper Magician was delicate and dainty and easily likened to an origami rose, The Plastic Magician arises from the ashes to belch I practically screeched for joy when I got an email from Netgalley saying that my ARC request was accepted for The Plastic Magician (in return for an honest review). Charlie N. Holmberg is one of my favourite authors, and the first book I read by her was The Paper Magician, so to see her continue one of my all time favourite series was a huge thing for me :) Where The Paper Magician was delicate and dainty and easily likened to an origami rose, The Plastic Magician arises from the ashes to belch smoke and oil at us in a whimsical tottering of chaotic artistry. The rules of magic from the first three books remain, but now we're splattered into the fresh field of polymaking with the rare plastic magicians. Given the recent discovery of polymaking (compared to the older fields of the folders, pyres, smelters, etc), the rules of magic governing plastic material are yet to be fully unveiled, and the scientific border between known and unknown is a frontier of fast-paced and dangerous discoveries. Here we meet Alvie Brechenmacher, a newly declared polymerist, and her famous mentor Mg Marion Praff. Together they embark on a journey to find something new...but will they and their hard work survive the evil machinations of a mysterious villain intent on destroying everything? You'll have to read the book to find out :) {x} Goodies: Steampunk vibes (yess). Polymakers and folders. Women's trousers in the late Victorian era <3. Clutziness. Non-stereotypical female protagonist (<3 <3 <3). Unique magical rules. Villainous villains. Grumpy butlers. Actual references to the true scientific process (i.e. abstracts & paper publications & conferences). Practical medical application. {x} Character Development: (4/5) Alvie showed the most development and change over the book, as to be expected of the lead character. I was hoping Mg. Praff would show a little change alongside several other individuals (whom you'll discover quite darling if you read the book), but they were somewhat static. However, my understanding is that this is the first of several more books (?yes please?!) so I'm only taking 1 point off because I'm certain there will be more gloriousness to come! {x} Content Snatchery: (5/5) Exceptional. I was snatched from the start (that sounds cringy right? sorry, too late). Alvie is a girl after my own heart. While Ceony (from The Paper Magician) is the girl I wish I could be, Alvie is probably the girl I actually am. She's clumsy, a little nervous but otherwise bold and brave. She knows she lacks the feminine wiles other girls typically have, but that makes her more dear to my heart. Needless to say, it was refreshing to read a story from what appears to be late-Victorian or early 1900s, where social boundaries are toed very strongly. While I admit I was able to predict most of the plot twists, it was still a very exciting read. {x} Boring Parts: (minimal to non-existant) Charlie doesn't dilly-dally on telling us about the floral wallpaper when there's other business to discuss. She wrote deeply and beautifully about the unique magic of her world and I didn't find myself bored one iota. Not to mention the overall plot was tied to a very practical problem that, to this very day in our current world, needs to be solved. I loved her ingenious and magical approach to it. {x} Romance: (some kissy scenes) ... but they aren't awkward or poorly placed. The romance develops slowly and doesn't come across as overly dominant to the plot. Therefore, I am a happy gooseling. {x} My eyes are sweating: (1/5) I think, in this case, it would be more along the lines of, my-fingers-are-about-to-snap-the-edges-of-my-kindle-off :P While there were some endearing moments, I didn't shed any tears (who knows what the future holds); however, there were some anxiety-inducing scenes that resolved (thankfully) and so let that be a forewarning as you read :) Overall, I truly adored Alvie and Mg. Praff, Bennet and the rest of the characters. They work really well together, and the rise and fall of tension was perfectly honed to the story arc. I applaud Charlie on another gorgeous tale that I'm adding to my list of favourites :) Not to mention my science-buried self truly was thankful for an accurate representation of the discovery process in the world of research. I almost cried tears of joy (okay, I exaggerate, but I was thrilled). Highly recommend, dear readers - go devour everything she's ever written <3 {Rating} - 5/5 Stars ---- Signed with frosted sugar cookies, Squeaks.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Augustine

    Thanks to Netgalley, 47North and Charlie Holmberg for a chance to read and review this book! What a story!!! This was such a great addition to an already amazing series. The Paper Magician series was fast pace and full of action. Holmberg took a different approach with this novel which was very rewarding. Alvie moves from Ohio to London to study under Magician Marion Praff, a well known Polymaker. The story more concentrates on Alvie and Mg. Praff working close together to make a new discovery. Thanks to Netgalley, 47North and Charlie Holmberg for a chance to read and review this book! What a story!!! This was such a great addition to an already amazing series. The Paper Magician series was fast pace and full of action. Holmberg took a different approach with this novel which was very rewarding. Alvie moves from Ohio to London to study under Magician Marion Praff, a well known Polymaker. The story more concentrates on Alvie and Mg. Praff working close together to make a new discovery. Being a plastic magician is new to this world and many spells have not been discovered. Praff is known for an invention he created and introduced at the previous Discovery Convention. Mg. Praff is hoping that Alvie's enthusiasm will inspire him to invent something groundbreaking. I was worried that The Plastic Magician wouldn't be as loved as The Paper Magician due to a completely different story and characters. However, there was no need to worry. This story compliments The Paper Magician so well. You continue reading because you want to know if Alive and Praff succeed in their invention. It did not take long for me to invest myself in the story. I am happy that Holmberg went with the material of plastic, since the material is not well practiced, I enjoyed reading on how they are finding new spells and different ways they can manipulate the plastic. Alvie. I love Alvie. She was such a fun character to read. She is smart, quirky, clumsy, and everything you'd want in a main character. Her curiosity is what led her to want to bind to the material of plastic. Being inside of Alvie's head was such an experience. She is so smart and trying to follow her thinking sometimes was difficult. I also loved how clumsy she was. Alvie is so imperfect that it makes her perfect. Alvie's relationship with Magician Praff was amazing. I love how dedicated they both are and how Mg. Praff treated Alvie as an equal. He never underestimated her and always listened to what she has to say. All of the other characters made this book wonderful. As I was reading it I found myself laughing and smiling throughout the whole book because of each character. Holmberg was very successful in creating an individual voice for each character. Final Thoughts Overall, The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg was an amazing read. I loved the story and how it was so different than her first three books in the series. While the plot was different, you knew it belonged within the same world. I absolutely adore the characters. Alvie will always have a place in my book heart. I highly recommend this book if you enjoyed The Paper Magician and books about magic.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aaliyah

    just realized i never wrote a review for this book but omg i loved it! the book was nothing special but i love most books relating magic! will definitely be reading the rest of the series and more from Charlie N. Holmberg!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    I just adore this series! I love Alvie as well, she is a quirky character who is super awkward, clutzy, half blind, and has no clue about boys...man can I relate to that😂 It was fun to learn about plastic magic as well, although there wasn't as much to see as from the Folders. Speaking of Folders, I LOVED the Thane's cameo 😍 The book has an interesting storyline as Alvie is caught up in a nefarious plot that she thinks is originating from a rival Magician. As he ran out of ideas, the rival seemed I just adore this series! I love Alvie as well, she is a quirky character who is super awkward, clutzy, half blind, and has no clue about boys...man can I relate to that😂 It was fun to learn about plastic magic as well, although there wasn't as much to see as from the Folders. Speaking of Folders, I LOVED the Thane's cameo 😍 The book has an interesting storyline as Alvie is caught up in a nefarious plot that she thinks is originating from a rival Magician. As he ran out of ideas, the rival seemed to want to steal ideas from her mentor, Marion Praff, the famous polymaker. The invention they were working on was also a huge step for medicine at the time, which I always love reading about. These are shorter reads, fast paced and cute, not too in depth and just the right amount of magic and awkward romance. (Aww grand gestures)😍 and Bennett!! Fully recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of the magic/magic school/low fantasy genre!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    The Plastic Magician is set in the same world as the Paper Magician, but with a new lead character. Alvie is an American girl, who dreams of becoming a polymaker, a plastic magician. We follow her as she gets her position as an apprentice in London and as she begins to make discoveries and come to grips with her new powers. The book is written in third person and in much the same manner as the plastic magician trilogy. Although, the book is an American writing about London and England, all in the The Plastic Magician is set in the same world as the Paper Magician, but with a new lead character. Alvie is an American girl, who dreams of becoming a polymaker, a plastic magician. We follow her as she gets her position as an apprentice in London and as she begins to make discoveries and come to grips with her new powers. The book is written in third person and in much the same manner as the plastic magician trilogy. Although, the book is an American writing about London and England, all in the American style, so it can be a bit jarring for a native. But other than that, the style is easy and readable. I liked this book, it was an easy read and I found the characters enjoyable. It was interesting to see London and the magical world from a different perspective than we did in the first book. Alvie is also very geeky and clumsy, which was a nice touch I think, she was definitely a completely different character from Ceony of the first novel - although, she does appear! Sadly though, I don't think this book lives up the original trilogy. The pacing was bad! It felt like nothing really happened until about the 70% mark on my Kindle, which is a LOT of build up and filler. But that being said, I never wanted to stop reading and I was invested enough to want the story to end well. I will definitely be liking onto what other books the author has written.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marjolein

    Polymaking, the magic that deals with plastic, is still a relatively new field in The Plastic Magician. Alvie arrives for her apprenticeship and with the help of some convenient meetings, she soon has impressed her teacher and is working on a spectacular groundbreaking technology. It has been a while since I read the original trilogy, but this books has new characters so that didn't cause any problems. Alvie however, was once again the super smart main character who seemed to be the only one who Polymaking, the magic that deals with plastic, is still a relatively new field in The Plastic Magician. Alvie arrives for her apprenticeship and with the help of some convenient meetings, she soon has impressed her teacher and is working on a spectacular groundbreaking technology. It has been a while since I read the original trilogy, but this books has new characters so that didn't cause any problems. Alvie however, was once again the super smart main character who seemed to be the only one who could do things - even though officially she hadn't graduated yet. The villain - if you would call it that - might not be as big as expected, but I thought it fitted the tale rather well. Another quick read without too much thinking. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Find this and other reviews on my blog https://www.urlphantomhive.com

  23. 5 out of 5

    Magen

    Note: While this is listed as part of The Paper Magician Series, this novel can stand on its own. While the world-building isn't as extensive in this novel, there is still enough information that one could start with this book not having read the full Paper Magician series. Characters from that series do pop up in this book, but none of the main characters have major roles in this book. Probably more like 3.5 stars. Full review to come. I received this eARC from Netgalley in exchange for a honest Note: While this is listed as part of The Paper Magician Series, this novel can stand on its own. While the world-building isn't as extensive in this novel, there is still enough information that one could start with this book not having read the full Paper Magician series. Characters from that series do pop up in this book, but none of the main characters have major roles in this book. Probably more like 3.5 stars. Full review to come. I received this eARC from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. Thank you 47North and Charlie Holmberg for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this novel

  24. 4 out of 5

    retro

    Potentially interesting world building let down by a weak and predictable plot, a very low stakes love story, an irritating protagonist, a generally shallow cast, and a cartoonish villain. There are no twists and the conflict revolves around who gets to present what magi-science invention at a big, important magi-science fair. Also, the author appears to think Heart of Darkness is a gothic romance, which is weird.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I love Alvie. She's weird (I'm weird too) perhaps that is why I loved her so much. I can't express how much I truly love this series. I love Alvie. She's weird (I'm weird too) perhaps that is why I loved her so much. I can't express how much I truly love this series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura..devouring books like crumpets

    This was brilliant and i loved the glimpse we got of the "Thanes" Brillliant word was lovely to revist through new eyes!!!! This was brilliant and i loved the glimpse we got of the "Thanes" Brillliant word was lovely to revist through new eyes!!!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    sophie.connects.the.dots (on hiatus)

    This book had so many pros to it that overall, it was a fast-paced, fun read! I liked ALL the characters. Unfortunately, it was predictable early on and I had a reasonable guess about who was behind the robberies from the get-go. That aside, I enjoyed The Plastic Magician as I enjoyed the The Paper Magician series. This book had so many pros to it that overall, it was a fast-paced, fun read! I liked ALL the characters. Unfortunately, it was predictable early on and I had a reasonable guess about who was behind the robberies from the get-go. That aside, I enjoyed The Plastic Magician as I enjoyed the The Paper Magician series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elysa

    I received this book through Netgalley and am providing my honest review. I haven't read the Paper Magician trilogy before reading this book, but I feel like the book was separate enough from the trilogy that I could easily read it and understand the world. The first 10% or so of the book I was confused (mostly curious) about what the magic system was like and I think that reading the other books would have helped with that, but I learned quickly enough. Alvie, who dreams of becoming a great plas I received this book through Netgalley and am providing my honest review. I haven't read the Paper Magician trilogy before reading this book, but I feel like the book was separate enough from the trilogy that I could easily read it and understand the world. The first 10% or so of the book I was confused (mostly curious) about what the magic system was like and I think that reading the other books would have helped with that, but I learned quickly enough. Alvie, who dreams of becoming a great plastic magician, travels to London from America to study plastic magic under Magician Praff, one of plastic's leading magicians. While there, they work on a ground-breaking discovery to show at a magician convention. She makes friends, finds romance, and gets into some trouble. I did appreciate that the main character is 20 years old. While I enjoy YA, sometimes it's nice to read about characters closer to my age. It could be considered a "New adult" book in that way, as the main character, Alvie, is 20 years old and moves away from home to further her studies (not unlike the typical college experience). Speaking of Alvie, she is absolutely adorable. She's highly logical; she thinks in numbers, math, and equations. She knows she's very intelligent, but this is usually a turn-off for guys, who she doesn't have much luck with. She doesn't like her appearance and her appearance is often described as being a bit drab and unkempt. This sort of sucked for me because I too have plain brown hair, brown eyes, and large glasses. So, thanks, Alvie. Thanks for that. The writing was nice and adorable, just like Alvie. Although one small thing bothered me. She called her parents "mater" and "pater" and I had no idea why. I thought she may have a German accent, but she's been described as having an American accent. Also, she was able to say other "th" words clearly. When I looked up the words, I found that they were British slang, but she had been using those words before she lived in Britain, so it confused me. It wasn't a big deal or anything, just something which distracted me a bit as I read. Ultimately, it was a sweet, cozy book. There are some parts of the book which are a little dark (view spoiler)[ guns, abduction, and violence (hide spoiler)] , but for the most part, it was a fun read. Definitely more so than what I typically read. I did predict much of the mystery and small twists, but I didn't mind. I wasn't reading it for its mystery. I was reading for its unique magic system.

  29. 4 out of 5

    nixitN

    { 4.5 stars } It was a lovable story with a little crime and a great invention. It wasn't as exciting as Ceony and Emery's story. But the characters were nice in it and I was glad to read about them. Unfortunately the plot was predictable, but I enjoyed story anyway. I think Alvie is a very smart girl. She isn't perfect, which isn't a problem at all. She and Bennet were very cute together, it was a pity that they had little in common scene. I still liked Mg. Praff and Ethel (the young woman who { 4.5 stars } It was a lovable story with a little crime and a great invention. It wasn't as exciting as Ceony and Emery's story. But the characters were nice in it and I was glad to read about them. Unfortunately the plot was predictable, but I enjoyed story anyway. I think Alvie is a very smart girl. She isn't perfect, which isn't a problem at all. She and Bennet were very cute together, it was a pity that they had little in common scene. I still liked Mg. Praff and Ethel (the young woman who inspires Alvie and so they will be good friends). There are many more opportunities in this series, so I hope I can read more stories. Even with these characters or with others. “Once you become a leader in your field, there's an enormous amount of pressure to stay that way, and an increasing number of people who want to take the lead from you.”

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kushnuma

    I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Plastic Magician is a spinoff of The Paper Magician Trilogy. I really enjoyed reading Alvie's story and the discoveries being made, and learning new things about the different forms of magic. I loved seeing characters from the Paper Magician trilogy, which made it even better. When I finished the book, I wanted more and was hoping that maybe there will be. I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Plastic Magician is a spinoff of The Paper Magician Trilogy. I really enjoyed reading Alvie's story and the discoveries being made, and learning new things about the different forms of magic. I loved seeing characters from the Paper Magician trilogy, which made it even better. When I finished the book, I wanted more and was hoping that maybe there will be.

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