Friday, May 7, 2021

Review: SPELLBREAKER by Charlie N. Holmberg


Rating: 4/5 stars

After enjoying Charlie Holmberg’s Paper Magician series, I knew I wanted to read everything she’s written. Next in line for me was this book, Spellbreaker

Elsie is a spellbreaker, which is a type of magician who is born with the ability to sever the ties that hold a spell together. Bacchus is a spellmaker, which is a type of magician who isn’t born with their ability but instead pays lots of money to learn one of the four kinds of aspecting: physical, temporal, spiritual, and rational. This book follows these dual POVs in 1895 London. 

Elsie is unregistered and therefore must keep her spellbreaking ability a secret lest she be arrested. She is commissioned by the underground rebellious group she calls the Cowls to push back against the aristocracy and the injustices in the world in the style of Robin Hood by going out on secret missions. One day on one of these missions, she gets caught by Bacchus at his estate, and he promises to keep her secret only if she’ll do a few tasks for him first. And thus begins a wholesome friendship that turns into a very slow-burn but swoon-worthy romance. 

This book started out slow but ramped up the further I got into the story. Imagine a roller coaster where the beginning of the book is the coaster in stopped position and the first half of the book is the coaster slowly being pulled up to the peak before it drops. Then around halfway into the story, it gets crazy! The coaster drops fast and everything happens at once and I couldn’t read the pages fast enough. And then the very ending happens and you realize the roller coaster is coming over the edge right before it drops againand then the book ends. It was insane. 

The mysterious aspects especially had me so invested throughout the novel. There were a lot of questions I was dying to see answered, and while some of them were, I know some answers won’t come until book two. I’ve always loved mysteries but I hardly ever read straight mystery novels, so I love to see some good mysteries in a fantasy setting like we had here. 

I ended up enjoying Spellbreaker more than I expected to, which is always a lovely surprise. This book is a cozy fantastical historical mystery with a little romance; a good fit for everybody and a book that I definitely recommend. I’ll be picking up the sequel, Spellmaker, within the next few weeks because I can’t wait to get back to Elsie and Bacchus’s story and see how this duology concludes. 

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