This book concludes the trilogy that started with “The Paper Magician”. Ceony is about to take the final exam that will make her a magician instead of apprentice, but her mind is on other things. Saraj, the murderous Excisioner who killed one of Ceony’s friends, has escaped from prison and Ceony fears he will seek revenge for his imprisonment.
Magician Thane, Ceony’s mentor and intense love interest, has made the decision to have another Folder administer Ceony’s examination so that there can be no accusations of favoritism. Ceony makes it her mission to track Saraj as he moves across England to try and safe guard her family and herself; this is actually made easier by her move to another magician’s dwelling. She can use the talent she’s discovered- to use all sorts of magic rather than just Folding- with less fear of discovery. But is this new talent enough to defeat an Excisioner?
The story has a lot of things happening, but it doesn’t all hang together well. The bit with her sister didn’t really fit in. Ceony acts very rashly, more like the girl she was earlier than the almost-Magician she is. She still has her “only I can save this situation” attitude that puts her in danger- and threatens to reveal to Saraj how she performs her new magic abilities. I had a lot of trouble seeing her as a mature person! The action seems all in a rush, too, without good connection. The book has its moments – the magic is very inventive and I still love it. My favorite scene, though, isn’t a battle scene but at the very front of the book where Ceony decorates for a client’s party by bespelling paper to portray a living jungle!
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