Set in England of the 1900s, THE MASTER MAGICIAN starts on a normal and peaceful day. The years have gone by with little problems or drama. (Quick reminder for those with short-term memory: THE PAPER MAGICIAN tells of Lira stealing Magician Emery Thane's heart and Ceony taking it back. Soon after, THE GLASS MAGICIAN happens, leading to a lot of drama, blood, death, and violence. The time between the events of THE GLASS MAGICIAN and THE MASTER MAGICIAN is about a year and many months, from what I read.) But everything explodes when a high-risk prisoner breaks out and is on the loose. Ceony is on the move, as always.
I'm impressed by how Charlie N. Holmberg is able to juggling three main plots. Ceony has to deal with her final magician's test and a spiteful test administrator, her long-distance relationship with her mentor (Magician Thane), and a hunt for a ruthless, insane killer. They are intertwined with each other, and Holmberg is capable of pacing them perfectly. Not a second, a word, a part, or a chapter falters.
A little fact about the world building: I love it. The telegraph, the telephone, the magic, and the technology. Even though I don't know much about the 1900s, I can easily imagine it, and the alternative world of magic simply catches my breath. (Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter is hanging around in the backgrounds, of course.)
Now older and much more skilled with her magic, Ceony is about to take her test, which will decide whether or not she becomes a master magician. Ceony's brilliance, intelligence, and resourcefulness is refreshing, and her character has most certainly changed in two years. Still, she is and is not the Ceony Twill from The Paper Magician.
The ending, though it ends with a certain question, is very satisfying. It is a fitting end to the trilogy, but one could hope that the author will write short stories one day.
In conclusion, THE MASTER MAGICIAN is a wonderful and light ending to the trilogy. Ceony's adventures concludes with a HEA. Emery... Well, I already revealed too many spoilers. But I admit I reread THE MASTER MAGICIAN at least twelve times. It is best recommended for those who love magic and paper.
Rating: Five out of Five