Monday, May 28, 2018

Paper Mage --by Leah R. Cutter

Fiction / Historical / Fantasy
329 pages / 827 KB
5 Stars

Back in 2003 or so, I attended a Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention and had the privilege of meeting Leah Cutter and talking with her for a few minutes. We both had an interest in Ancient China, and she told me about her new book, Paper Mage. I bought it. I read it. I loved it. I kept it.

The other day, I was in the mood to read something different, saw her book on my shelf, and remembered how much I enjoyed it years ago, and then realized I couldn't remember how it ended. So I picked it up to read again. Fortunately, I live alone, and if I spend time reading instead of cleaning, cooking, sewing, or any of the other mundane things one must do, no one cares! Had I picked it up earlier in the day, it would have been a one-sit read. Again.

Xiao Yen is the protégé of her aunt, Wang Tie-Tie, whether she wants to be or not. Wang Tie-Tie is a bit unusual in that when she became a widow and had no men to look after her, she became head of the house and ran the business. She made all decisions regarding the family, and when a Paper Mage came to town to start a school, she sent her youngest niece to learn. It isn't that Auntie was being generous, it was that Auntie had an ulterior motive.

Xian Yen must learn to fit in, or at least accept, her world as different from what girls are brought up to believe and is traditional. She must work in the male world of magery. She is, more or less accepted at school, but when she graduates and goes out on her first assignment, she truly comes of age. And begins to understand that luck is not something that is given or taken away, but is something that is made.

If you are not familiar with the culture of the time, you might not realize just how difficult it was for Xiao Yen to be filial and honor her family—Auntie, Mother, Elder Sister—and to also learn she had her own life and was capable of living it.

I had remembered enough of the story to know I loved it once and had forgotten enough of the story to fall in love with it all over again. In fact, the ending was a total surprise to me! 

If you like history, fantasy, and well-told stories, buy this book, read this book, and review this book. It's truly a marvelous read.

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