Somehow I missed the first book in this new duology by Charlie N. Holmberg, which is really too bad because this book shows much more promise as a series – in line with Homberg’s successful Paper Magician series.
There are two kinds of wizards in the world – those who pay for the power to cast spells and those, like Elsie Camden who are born with the power to break those spells. Elsie has kept her spellbreaker ability a secret, meaning she is unlicensed, which could land her in some trouble.
Currently (in 1895) magicians are being murdered and the crimes are unsolved. For someone with Elsie’s talents, it isn’t too difficult to find the culprit, but to do so she’d have to reveal herself as an unregistered spellbreaker. The assassin in question tries to get Elsie to join him in pursuit of his more nefarious plans (and he’s a charmer, making this a more difficult decision than it should be) and the also charming good wizard, Bacchus Kelsey, offers to help Elsie navigate the path to good and righteousness despite her not being registered. But he has one condition … they must be married in order to provide a believable cover story.
This book is absolutely delightful and charming. Holmberg’s greatest strength as a writer is in creating loveable characters – people who bring out the best in one another and who we, the readers, want to see succeed. Fortunately, Holmberg is also an extremely talented storyteller, weaving a plot that makes sense and appropriately utilizes the characters and their talents (this seems like a no-brainer, but one might be surprised at how often these things don’t happen).
Spellmaker maybe focuses a lot on the romance aspects for Elsie, but there’s enough of the magic and spells to appeal on that level. I don’t mind the romance when it’s handled well, and Holmberg does handle it well.
I will definitely be buying the first book.
Looking for a good book? Spellmaker is a captivating fantasy romance by Charlie N. Holmberg – one of the best in the business at writing in the genre.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Charlie N. Holmberg
series: Spellbreaker Duology #2
paperback, 302 pages