July 9th, 2015

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Book 63: The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Book 63: The Master Magician (Paper Magician Trilogy #3).
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg, 2015.
Genre: Fantasy. Magic. Period Fiction.
Other Details: ebook. 226 pages.

As with Book 2 the official synopsis is full of spoilers for the previous books, so will not quote. I will say that the third book takes place two years after those events and Ceony Twill is about to take her examinations to complete her apprenticeship. News reaches her that indicates that she and those she loves are once more under threat.

In both my reviews for The Paper Magician (2014 Book 196) and The Glass Magician (2014 Book 213), I had a lot to complain about and Book 3 was no different. In fact I gave up noting the number of anachronisms, Americanisms and overall lack of any period detail.

I usually rate a book on plot, characters and setting. I had expected these kind of setting corkers after the previous two books. I mean why would she pull her socks up now? Still, if plot and characterisation were good I could forgive a fair amount. Yet the characterisation was weaker than the previous books and the romance was lacklustre without chemistry. I found myself quite annoyed by Ceony, as she slid into Mary Sueness. She just seemed incapable of any kind of working with others. Holmberg also took the plot in a direction that undercut the main premise of the first novel and for me it just did not convince.

Again, this would have worked so much better set in 21st century with an American girl rather than this epic fail. I also wonder at Holmberg's fixation with Parliament Square? She even has Ceony cross the Thames after cycling from Beckenham in Kent (what no trains?) through Parliament Square and then cross back over the river to Lambeth - of course geography is not Holmberg's strong suit as previously noted.

During the time I read this novel I was finishing up with Mercedes Lackey's Phoenix and Ashes, which while set a few years later certainly does a much better job in capturing the social sensibilities of the period. Rather disappointed as Book 1, aside from the setting, had promise but it felt like it was wasted.