A short one this month, I’ve not been well – The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician and The Master Magician. (There’s a sequel story, The Plastic Magician, in the same world but with different characters; I haven’t got around to it yet but I will someday.) Holmberg has written other things that sound good and that are on my ever-lengthening list, but these were the first of hers I picked up and I was utterly charmed by them.
Our protagonist is Ceony, a young woman recently graduated from magic school and apprenticed to a senior magician. The magic system in these books is original and interesting – every magician bonds to a single element (you can guess three of the possibilities from the titles above but they may well literally be endless) and can only use that single element. Within that apparently narrow restriction Holmberg finds lots of really creative ways for her characters to do some very cool things, which is always a favourite for me where magic is concerned. You wouldn’t think paper was all that useful, but…
I suppose these count as young adult. The setting is carefully unspecified but feels Victorian-ish (I believe the fourth book is set a few years later). I’m not going to say much more because you really should go into these unspoiled if possible. The characters are funny and sweet and the story is clever and they’re just happy, well thought out books. In trying to describe them to Mitchell I said they felt like a fluffier Tamora Pierce, if that helps anyone, though there’s a solid and action-filled plot under the cute.
(…it’s also going to be pretty obvious for anyone who knows me even slightly to pick out why I like them long before the end of the first book. But that’s neither here nor there.)