The Paper Magician

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet By: Charlie N. Holmberg


Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet By: Charlie N. Holmberg


Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.


I’m not a fan of first person present as a writing style and it takes me a while to get into when I actually do read it. I liked Holmberg’s series The Paper Magician, there were things I didn’t like but overall it was an interesting world so after reading the blurb for Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet I thought why not. The idea was very interesting at the very least.

Maire was not a very compelling lead and since the story was in her voice that’s not a good thing. She has amnesia and can’t remember anything before the last four years. All she knows is baking and that when people eat what she bakes she can make them feel certain ways.

Stuff happens, she still knows nothing, but she starts learning little clues. There isn’t much world building and Maire is about as interesting as a damp rag. The most compelling part of the story is when you find out why she lost her memory and that is at the end and I wouldn’t say worth it.

Disappointed overall.


The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #1) By: Charlie N. Holmberg


The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #1) By: Charlie N. Holmberg


Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.


I love this cover a lot, I’m apparently drawn to simple covers.

Really enjoyed the world that was created here. The way magic worked was interesting. Magicians were tied to one type and once bonded that was it. You could only work magic with manmade materials, so paper, plastic, smelting metals, stuff like that. The thing is man is man made so this creates an Excisioner, which is bad. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have used their magic for good like healing, but they all appear to be evil.

Ceony and Thane were compelling and I was so not expecting what happened in the last act. There was a lot of character and world building in this book, but it never got boring it was too interesting.

I did think Ceony bonded very quickly with Thane, especially after her attitude about the whole being bonded to paper thing. She also seemed to be a planner but didn’t do hardly any of that in her rescue attempt. I guess heat of the moment thing, but still seemed slightly out of character.

I’m really excited that the rest of the series is already written and I get to visit the world immediately.