Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.
I received this book from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review.
I saw this cover on NetGalley and fell in love. Seriously, how amazing is that cover? I just think it’s amazing! Sadly, this is one of those times that the book did not live up to the cover. It’s not a bad book, it just wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be.
So why didn’t I like this book as much as I was hoping too? Well, the story was pretty slow. To begin with, it was a lot of Ceony and Emery just getting to know each other. This isn’t a bad thing, but there was a lot of it. Then, the other half of the book is just Ceony journeying through Emery’s heart (that’s mentioned in the blurb, and it makes far more sense if you do read the book). I got pretty bored at times in that part – why should I care so much about Emery’s past?
The characters’ themselves didn’t grab me either, especially the main character Ceony. She was nice enough, yeah, and I liked the fact that she was willing to go out and do things herself despite the fact that she wasn’t sure she could do it. She had a lot of courage, I’ll give her that. But she seemed a bit too perfect sometimes.
But, the magic system, oh, that magic system. I loved it. In this book, each magician bonds with a certain man-made element, and then they can only use that element to do their magic. So, in this case, paper is used by folding it in various ways and then enchanting it. Some of the spells were really clever, and I like the imagery a lot. That magic system definitely increased my enjoyment of the whole story.
So, I definitely have mixed feelings about this book. Sadly, a great magic system doesn’t quite make up for the characters and slow plot. However, this is just my opinion. Go check out the book if you fancy some magic combined with historical fiction.