Review: The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the plasticmagicianmagical 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…

This book is a sequel to the ‘Paper Magician Trilogy’, but features different characters and takes place a couple of years later. The setting is England, but our main character, Alvie, comes from America to start an internship in Polymaking (Plastic-magic^^) under one of the most successful magicians in the country.

First of all, I didn’t love this book. It’s not as good as the previous trilogy. I don’t know why exactly, but it’s missing some of the ‘colour’ and magic and overall ‘cuteness’, that made me like the Paper Magician books so much. I also didn’t really warm up to Alvie, although we should be buddies, as she is German.

Also: is it possible to NOT mention BRATWURST when German characters are involved?? 😀 WE EAT OTHER THINGS AS WELL!


Alvie is quirky. Very much so. She is super nerdy, driven, intelligent and loves mathematical equations, cars and engines. She often loses herself in her thoughts and daydreams. She is clumsy and almost blind & doesn’t consider herself to be very pretty. She definitely is a well-written character, but I don’t think she and I would have been friends. She’s too scattered and I hate people who forget or are late for appointments.

The story is pretty straight forward. Alvie starts her apprenticeship under Magician Praff and makes some friends in her free time. It’s an age of discoveries & inventions and as her field of magic is still very new, competition is high and everyone wants to present the best inventions to the world.

Alvie and her teacher are working on a potential ground-changing project, but there’s other jealous competitors who don’t want them to succeed.

It’s… okay. The story just wasn’t exciting enough to get me really invested. It does have a little bit of action in the end and a conclusion but everything felt kinda flat. I also wasn’t a fan of the art of Polymaking, it wasn’t as beautiful as Folding or other forms of magic that played a role in the previous books.

The love story was alright I guess, but not really necessary and Bennett stayed boring throughout and didn’t add anything to the story. He was just there. I liked Ethel and her friendship with Alvie more and think that this could have been the ‘main’ relationship of the story. I wanted to read more about Ethel but less about Bennett.

It’s one of those stories you read & liked overall, but that won’t stay in your head for long.



  1. That’s a bummer this turned out this way for you. It is one the reasons I’m always leery of sequels to an already finished series. What if it’s not as good? Well, sometimes we the reader win that gamble and others, like here, we lose out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It still sounds interesting, even if not a great book. Depending on how I like the Paper Magician trilogy, I might read this one too.

    And about the bratwurst: we mention it because once we’ve had true German bratwurst nothing else tastes as good. It’s been 18 years since I’ve been to Germany, but I still dream of finding bratwurst as good as what I had there.

    Liked by 1 person

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