**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**
Author Charlie N. Holmberg
The orphaned Elsie Camden learned as a girl that there were two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those, like her, born with the ability to break them. But as an unlicensed magic user, her gift is a crime. Commissioned by an underground group known as the Cowls, Elsie uses her spellbreaking to push back against the aristocrats and help the common man. She always did love the tale of Robin Hood.
Elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey is one elusive spell away from his mastership when he catches Elsie breaking an enchantment. To protect her secret, Elsie strikes a bargain. She’ll help Bacchus fix unruly spells around his estate if he doesn’t turn her in. Working together, Elsie’s trust in—and fondness for—the handsome stranger grows. So does her trepidation about the rise in the murders of wizards and the theft of the spellbooks their bodies leave behind.
For a rogue spellbreaker like Elsie, there’s so much to learn about her powers, her family, the intriguing Bacchus, and the untold dangers shadowing every step of a journey she’s destined to complete. But will she uncover the mystery before it’s too late to save everything she loves?
Release Date November 1, 2020
I’ve been seeing this book all over Instagram lately and was super bummed when I didn’t get an ARC for it. But, thanks to Amazon’s First Reads program, I was able to read it a month before it came out. I love the premise and I love historical fantasy. This book sounded right up my alley so I’m so glad I had the chance to read it early.
Some Things I Liked
- Victorian England. I loved the setting. Despite being set before Downton Abbey, the wit, humor, and language felt very Downton and I loved that so much. I loved the way Elsie mentally chastised herself for daring to think about Bacchus or the way everyone was so excited about dining with a Duke. This is one of my favorite time periods to read about.
- Slow burn romance. It felt so right for the time period. I really enjoyed the friendship / mutual respect that blossomed between Elsie and Bacchus as the story progressed. Naturally, I want them to fall in love and live happily ever after but, I enjoyed the way their story developed.
- Magic system. I thought the idea of Spellmaking and Spellbreaking was very interesting here and I enjoyed the visual description Elsie gives of seeing spells as knots or puzzles of a sort.
- Plot twist. I honestly did not see the plot twist coming here. I loved that. It’s very hard to surprise me and I loved that this did.
I can’t wait to read the next book. While I wait, I will definitely be working my way through Charlie’s other works. I’ve already read The Will and the Wilds and The Paper Magician.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, is one of my new favorite genres, and had so much fun banter. I can’t wait to keep reading this series and I can totally see why this was one of Amazon First Read’s picks of the month.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith – if you enjoy historical fantasy, wit, and magic, look no further than this series. It’s a perfect fall read to cozy up with.
- The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg – if you enjoyed the idea of unique magic, historical fantasy, and you liked the writing style of Spellbreaker, try Charlie’s other series.
- Spellmaker by Charlie N. Holmberg – I haven’t read this one yet but you can bet I will be reading it when it comes out (or sooner if someone wants to send me an ARC, wink wink.)