The Glass Magician by Charlie N Holmberg
I read The Glass Magician not necessarily because I really wanted to, but only because I had previously read The Paper Magician and I was really pulling for the series to get better. Unfortunately, for me, it didn't.

I still really liked the magic system where the characters bond to one man-made material and then work their spells over just that one thing. Such as plastic, rubber, metal, glass, paper, etc. Interestingly, this seemingly simple, straight-forward system has some quirks and variations which we learn more about in this second novel. Ms. Holmberg does a great job describing her magic system and she has some really neat, creative spells for her characters to cast. I also appreciate her descriptions of the careful folds and cuts Ceony and Emery, the main paper magicians, have to make so as to ensure their enchantments work. And we read about how other spell casting characters have to take certain careful steps with their materials as well. I always enjoyed these subtle, thoughtful details.

In The Glass Magician, there is some cool action and some cleverly described fight scenes. Particularly when the actual glass magicians are involved (both good ones and bad ones) because the characters jump in and out of mirrors to their advantage. And they work some other cool spells with their bonded material. Many of these elements would be great in a movie.

However, throughout The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician, I could never get fully invested in the characters. Ceony Twill, the female main character, just never moved me. Which is a problem because both books are told from her perspective. Except for one chapter of The Glass Magician, but more on that in a moment. I like Emery Thane, Ceony's paper magic mentor, but not enough for him to drive the whole series for me. None of the secondary characters and bad guys grabbed my attention either.

The biggest problem I had with The Glass Magician is when Ms. Holmberg switched perspectives towards the end of the book to tell us a whole chapter from Emery's point of view. Or, well, it may have even been from a more omniscient point of view, I'm not exactly sure. Either way, it felt a little bit wedged in there and it seemed the author wasn't quite sure how to tackle this certain part of the plot so she just jumped perspective. And it was pretty important too - Emery goes off to fight one of the main bad guys and Ceony is not around so we suddenly get a chapter about just Emery. And I have to say that Emery’s chapter was written really well with plenty of excitement and some great combat action! But it felt a little like a bit of a cheap way out to look at this part of the book and go 'Ugh...I have to get through this fight between Emery and a villain and Ceony is all the way back in London fighting the OTHER bad guy, so I'll just switch up and do an Emery chapter'. I wish the author would have kept it real, so to speak, and determined a way to consistently follow the format of the book.

Obviously this is just my opinion. Ms. Holmberg clearly snagged herself a nifty three book deal with this series. Plus she has another new novel on the market, so she's clearly doing great. Her writing in this series is good, the stories are creative, and I find a lot of the small elements very enjoyable. But not being able to connect to the characters unfortunately creates a pretty big problem for me.

Based on the Amazon reviews, I don't plan to close out the series by reading "The Master Magician". However, I really don't like to leave things incomplete so if I catch it on a Kindle cheap price deal, I'll probably grab it and reluctantly read it. How about that for a weirdly mixed review! I have read two installments in the series and will possibly read the third, which should point to all things being good. Yet I haven't truly liked either of them, I'm just wanting to close the circle to see how things turn out. And that’s not enough for me to recommend either of these books because the characters just haven’t grabbed hold of me enough to make their stories worthwhile.

My thoughts on The Paper Magician