The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Helmberg
I read this book because of the world that was created in The Paper Magician, and this takes place in the same world, but without the original characters. The magicians have created a new form of working with materials in plastic magic. Alvie is an apprentice and realizes a new use for this magic and how it can help society and medicine. Sadly, this new form of magic is already creating rivalries and Alvie gets caught up in one that could cost her dearly. Alvie’s mentor encourages his apprentice to volunteer a few hours a week to help her stay humble, get out of the house, and be of service. In her volunteer hours Alvie realizes a new use for polymaking (plastic magic) and with her mentor’s help they submit an idea to be presented at the Discovery Convention. A happy ending is almost ruined, but in the end Alvie, her mentor, her boyfriend, and her friends have happy endings. Sadly, this book is not a series, but it is a great one book read for those not looking to have a series. A strong female lead who is great with math and science is a great role model, but more importantly she has flaws that many can relate to. Alvie’s ability to overcome her awkwardness and find an area she excels in is something everyone can find a way to relate to.
In a surprise and short appearance the Paper Magicians do help Alvie in one grand gesture.
Character List/Book Summary:
Alvie Brechenmacher = gets her diploma as part of the class of 1905, is 20 years old, will be an apprentice to a polymaker in London, has German ancestry, family lives in Ohio, volunteers at a hospital because it is tidy, loves numbers, notices one of the robbers is a female, and saves herself when she is kidnapped. Her father is Gunter Brechenmacher who helped created the lightbulb that allowed for him to be able to send Alvie to school to become a magician. Wears glasses that have magic in them to help her see since her sight is so poor.
Magician Marion Praff = created of the Imagidome, one of the most prestigious and esteemed Polymakers, 39 years old, 6’1″, has his apprentices volunteer 2 hours a week, loves his wife, has three children, bought land that had been royalty but does not get the title that went with it. On Alvie’s first day in his house he gives Alvie plastic glasses that have been touched with magic to help her see and make the frames lighter and thinner.
Magician Roscoe Ezzell = Polymaker, meets Alvie on the train, instructs her to the wrong station, Alvie thinks he is the one who broke into Praff’s polymery, he considers himself to be Praff’s rival and is determine to outshine Marion.
Bennet Cooper = met Alvie at the train station and helps her find her way to the correct station, meets Alvie again when he is visiting his sister in the hospital. Bennet finds Alvie interesting and courts her throughout the book, but mostly through letters. Is an apprentice to a folder, Alvie helps convince him to take the Magician’s test.
Charlotte Praff = Marion’s wife, mother to Lucas (in Tokyo), Maximums (at University), and Martha (just married and living in the country), orders dresses for Alvie and likes magical items, is not a magician.
Mr. Hemsley = Marion’s butler, only servant entrusted with a key to the polymery, Alvie does not think he approves of her wearing pants or that Bennet comes to court her.
Emma = on of Marion’s maids, helps Alvie dress and do her hair for special occasions, tells Alvie it might rain on the night of the break in.
Magician Patrice Aviosky = head of the Board of Education for England’s Magician’s Cabinet, witnesses Alvie bond to plastic
Ethel = a patient in recovery who Alvie befriends, her left arm is gone below the elbow, is Bennet’s sister, Alvie has an idea on how to help her and talks to Marion on how to make her idea a reality, they use Ethel as a model and make a working prototype.
Magician Thane = folder who creates birds for the post office, is very pregnant, helps Alvie with a an apology and grand gesture
Magician Alfred Hughes = saves Marion and Alvie when they are robbed at gun point while they are going to the hospital, head of Criminal Affairs for England, a siper, was surprised to learn about the break-ins to Marion’s polymery.