In a time when you could become a magician specialising in any man made product, Ceony is forced to be a boring paper magician (because no-one is choosing it), apprenticed to eccentric Magician Thane. Thing is, it’s not that boring. She is learning all kinds of spells with different uses; making flying birds, brining stories written on paper to life in elaborate illusions, and reading fortunes. And Thane is actually very sweet. But everything goes to hell when an excisioner (practitioner of the dark arts) woman (with a serious grudge against Thane) enters the house and steals Thane’s heart, leaving him for dead.
Ceony’s quick thinking stops him from dying straight away, folding a heart for him and going on the hunt to retrieve his real heart. If she can. And that’s when things start to get strange (I know, doesn’t seem right) because when she does find the heart, her and the execisioner end up trapped inside it. There Ceony sees what’s hidden in Emery Thane’s heart.
I loved it. It is pure magic. A little hard to explain what’s happening without sounding childish, I tried to do so to my work colleague about the oversized paper glider Ceony uses. It didn’t work. But it isn’t childish at all. It has the beautiful and vivid imagination and it’s told in a lovely mature way. The only way to explain how awesome this is, is to compare it to Howl’s Moving Castle. Great use of magic.
The language used is old fashioned. A little hard to fall into to begin with, but then you don’t notice it as different, in fact it makes it so beautiful to read; matching the time it’s set, the turn of the twentieth century.
I was a little afraid that I would find Ceony tiresome. She’s top of her class, has a perfect memory, and gets things right very quickly. Was surprised she was actually very nice and had depth to her character. And Thane… wow. He is an eccentric and very independent (not accepting Ceony’s take-over of meals, even though he seems to lack kitchen know how and could very well be missing out on vital vitamins). And he is so sweet, making Ceony a paper puppy because she couldn’t bring her old friend due to Thane’s allergies. And then he goes dark, but no spoilers here.
Well, there’s nothing more to say except to recommend this great book. Of course, if you also fall in love with Emery and Ceony then you will be happy to know this is only book one. There are four books. I think maybe it is time to go hunting through my library’s shelves and find the next one.