Summary: Ceony wants to bespell metal, but much to her disappointment, she’s assigned an apprenticeship in pager magic with Magician Emery Thane. Once bonded to paper, she can’t become any other sort of magician. Yet, paper magic turns out to be more incredible than she’d initially thought. However, her education is threatened when a practitioner of dark magic (Emery’s ex-wife) invades the cottage and pulls out Emery’s heart. Ceony embarks on an adventure that takes her into the chambers of Emery’s heart to face the evil that did this to him and save him before the paper heart she replaced his actual heart with crumples and finishes what his ex-wife started.
Thoughts: A friend got me all three books and I was so sure I was going to love this before I even started on the first book. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but I went in with so much expectation only to reach the end, half-dissapointed. There were many things I loved about the story: the magic, the society surrounding it, Emery Thane and his backstory, even Ceony who I couldn’t really stand at the start, I ended up warming up to by the time I finished. The writing and prose were very beautifully done, and I wanted to keep reading the descriptions of the cottage and the magic etc. But everything happened way too fast. Her attraction to Emery came as a surprise. I knew she cared about him but it wasn’t very clear that she loved him more than a teacher or a friend. That wasn’t an issue though, because I assumed having watched his heart being ripped out of his chest must have brought her feelings into focus, but even then, I felt like Emery fell in love with her even though he was unconscious for the better half of the book – so was that love there from the start, or not? That wasn’t really clear to me. So many things happened once Ceony went into Emery’s heart but I felt like so many things were shown without explanation. The reader had to assume it was magic and just be at peace with that. And given the illusory quality of her surroundings and quest, I felt like I needed more handholds. There were a lot of places where I had to pause and re-read and think, “wait, how did this happen?” But all in all, I’m pretty sure I’m going to read the second and third books and I really hope I love them and get to discover more about the characters because this book felt more like an introduction to something bigger rather than a full arc with possible sequels.