I picked up The Paper Magician in Amazon’s Kindle First program because, at first glance, it seemed similar to The Narrator. Paper magic, book magic. I thought they would have some things in common. As it turned out, the magics in The Paper Magician and The Narrator don’t have much in common at all!
In Paper Magician, Ceony becomes apprenticed to Emery Thane to learn the secrets of paper magic. Thane teaches her how to animate paper animals, create illusions as she tells stories, and produce gales with a simple paper fan. The focus of the magic is on the paper itself. The spell won’t work if the paper’s folded incorrectly, and it’s implied that even the type of paper will affect the spell.
The focus of the magic in Narrator, on the other hand, is on the story. Elements of the story (characters, objects, etc.) can be drawn out of the story or dropped into it, with disastrous consequences in either case.
There are some aspects of paper magic that could be fun to use in Narrator. I like the idea of using illusions to illustrate the book you’re reading, although I’m not sure how I’d fit that into the story. I also never considered what would happen if a bespelled book got wet…hmmm…
I do have one similarity to Paper Magician. Ceony learns to make paper cranes, probably based on origami. When she animates them, they can scout for her. In Narrator, I have one instance so far of a folded paper bird that serves as both messenger and message. The recipient can unfold the bird and read their message, but then the paper will re-fold itself back into a bird.
I’d like to think that’s a pretty cool bit of magic, worth of The Paper Magician himself.
Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.