Fantasy · historical fiction

The Plastic Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg

4 stars

Is there such a thing as cozy fantasy? If so, The Plastic Magician would be a shining example of the genre. The book is so cozy, heartwarming and wonderfully written.


Cover from Goodreads

The synopsis from Goodreads:

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…

The Plastic Magician is a standalone spin-off from Holmberg’s Paper Magician series and is totally readable by itself. Even if you’ve never read the Paper Magician series (you should though, it’s great!) you’ll still be able to enjoy The Plastic Magician.  

I love stories with interesting magic systems. I really love when they’re set in the time of the Industrial Revolution and the revolution is in part magical. The Plastic Magician is just such a book. The system of magic is based on materials. A magician bonds to glass, fire, plastic, rubber, metal or paper and from then on, their career is based on that material.

Alvie is a delightful character. She is often lost in her own thoughts, self-conscious, and dedicated to her craft. She’s genuine, positive and genuinely lovely to read. The Plastic Magician is a light, lovely story. It’s an easy read and a heartwarming adventure. I did knock a star off for predictability. The villain and some major parts of the plot were obvious. In this case, however, it wasn’t something that made me want to quit reading. Sometimes it’s really satisfying to read something that goes more or less exactly as you expect it to – that’s what makes it cozy.

The Plastic Magician comes out May 15, 2018. There’s plenty of time to read The Paper Magician series beforehand if you want. I really hope more books in this universe are forthcoming.

I received an eARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.