The Plastic Magician

The Paper Magician, Book #4 [spin-off]

By Charlie N. Holmberg

ISBN13:  9781542047913

Author’s Website: charlienholmberg(.)com


Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar             


Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.

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 takes places in a world where humans can perform magic using specific man-made materials. There are magicians who have been bound to a material and been tested by older magicians, and there are Apprentices that after having studied for a couple of years at schools for the magic adapt are sent to live with a Magician to learn the craft of a material they are bound to. In this world, there are the following Magicians: Smelter (metal), Pyre (fire), Folder (paper), Gaffer (glass), Siper (rubber), and Polymaker (plastic). There is also an illegal practice of magician called Excisioner (flesh and blood) who must bind to a human, which dies in the process.

The Plastic Magician is the story of Alvie Brechenmacher, the daughter of the co-creator of the light bulb, who has a brilliant mind and wants to study the craft of Polymaking, plastic. In 1906 Alvie has graduated from the Jefferson School of Material Mechanics and is living in Columbus, Ohio with her parents, as she looks for a place for her apprenticeship she is accepted by Magician Marion Praff in London, who is the nephew of the founder of Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. She travels to England to start her apprenticeship and when she arrives in London she meets a fellow polymaker Magician Ezzell, who once he learns that she is the apprentice of Magician Praff he gives her wrong information and Alvie gets lost. Fearing that she doesn’t have a way to contact Magician Praff and it’s getting late, Alive is saved by a folder Apprentice Bennet Copper who helps her get to the correct place to meet her chauffeur. Alvie meets the Praff’s and the next morning she binds to plastic and starts her new life as a polymaker apprentice.    

“I’m Bennet, by the way,” he said, extending a hand. Alvie tried to sneakily wipe her own hand off on the back of her slacks before shaking it. “Bennet Cooper.” He released her hand and glanced to the map. “Are you lost?”

During the course of her studies and apprenticeship, Alvie and Magician Praff come up with a new use to polymaking and start working on a prosthetic arm for a girl that Alvie meets. They plan to show the new prosthetic at a Magician convention were new spells and ideas are promoted, but lately, Polymakers labs have been broken in and things have been stolen.

As they work to finalize their new project and have everything ready for the convention, strange things have started to happen around them, and their lab is almost broken in. Now is time for Alvie to protect her research and project, she will do anything she can to keep her and Magician Praff hard work safe while trying to get to know Bennet better and not try to lose herself in her work so much.

“Material made by man, your creator summons you. Link to me as I link to you through my years until the day I die and become earth.”

I liked the Plastic Magician, I read the previous books in this series and I liked that the author wrote a story which centers around a different material and worries for the magicians. I liked the character of Alvie because she is a blend of magic with new technology and uses both to her advantage. It was nice to read about a character who has an inquisitive mind and had new ideas to help advance the world around her.  I liked that she had the idea for the new project because Magician Praff made her volunteer in the hospital to keep her humble once she passes her test and becomes a magician.

This is a very interesting world, I liked that people have to be bond to a material to perform magic and it is a very interesting magic that these magic users do. Polymaker magic was something new that I haven’t read before and I think it was a good idea of the author to write about it. The Graffers and Smelters also looked interesting and I hope that the author will continue writing more stories in this world. I liked the scenes where the author explains the spells people have, some of them like the spells that Magician Praff has in his house using other materials, such as smelter floors tiles and graffer glass lights.

For those who are fans of the Paper Magician series, readers will be happy to know that we get to see familiar faces from the previous books, and we continue to look into the strange magic that is binding to a specific material. Alvie meets some Paper Magicians during this book.

“Soften. Pick. Open. Release. Un . . . bolt. Unlock. Undo. Unlatch.” The bolt was sucked into the plastic-filled chamber with a muffled click.

If you are a fan of Charlie N. Holmberg or some of her other works, then I recommend to you, The Plastic Magician. In this new story, we meet Alvie who travels across the sea to start her apprenticeship as a Polymaker and enters the world of new magical findings and rivalry, but she is determined to mark her name in the world and is not going to let anybody get in her path.