I preordered Spellbreaker on May 31st because I knew I had to have it. So imagine my utter delight when I saw that there was a blog tour for it, and even more so, I got picked to participate! Just look at this cover!
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?
I made very little notes on this one, which sometimes happens when I’m reading a book from an author that I absolutely adore. Spellbreaker is a book that drew me in and didn’t let go. Because of that, this won’t be much of a review. Elsie is a fantastic main character, and all the characters that surround her are just as wonderful. I love all the magical elements that are involved in this. I love the commentary on the various classes. The storyline is fun, addicting, and it’s absolutely magical. I’m going to need the second book, stat.
About the Author:
Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of the Numina series and the Wall Street Journal bestselling Paper Magician series, which has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. She is also the author of five stand-alone novels, including Followed by Frost, a 2016 RITA award finalist for Best Young Adult Romance, and The Fifth Doll, winner of the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses. She currently lives with her family in Utah.
Click on the image to take the Spellbreaker Quiz and find out what discipline from the Spellbreaker duology suits you best.
Elsie spied the slightest wisps of orange light emanating from the doorknob. She reached for it— The door swung open, and a wide-faced woman of about forty startled, her hand flying to her chest. Pieces of sweaty curls stuck out from her cap.
“Goodness, girl, you scared my blood cold!” she exclaimed, looking Elsie up and down.
“Forgive me, I was about to knock. I’ve come hoping to sell.” She gestured to her basket.
The woman—she looked like a cook—was about to wave her away, but her hand stilled when she saw the Madeira. “What are you selling those for?” She gestured to the bottles.
“Two and five for both,” she answered, purposefully choosing a low number.
The cook’s eyes bugged. “Two and five? Don’t you know what—never mind. Wait right here.”
She turned around, leaving the door ajar. Inside was a narrow room lined with hooks. A pair of dirty boots sat on the floor. Beyond that, Elsie could just see the opening of a pantry on one side and a kitchen on the other. She thought she felt a tingle cross her face as she leaned in—was there a rational spell nearby, or was that just nerves? Perhaps the duke had a large illusion on display in a nearby room, or someone could be using a mental spell to keep their memory sharp. In a place as rich as this one, spells were likely to abound.
Setting her basket down, Elsie glanced over her shoulder for the wash girl. She’d vanished. Footsteps sounded deeper within the house. Nearby, a horse nickered.
Taking half a step back, Elsie put both hands on the enchanted doorknob. It was a small physical spell, but not a simple one. A knot made of light instead of rope, pulled tightly together. It was a bright white at its center, twinkling like a shy star, and slightly blue around the edges. Her eyes unfocused a bit as she found the start. The spell resisted her—it was well made. An intermediate spell formed by a master’s hands. She loosened the rune and picked it apart string by string until it ceased to exist, fizzling out like the last sparks of a firework.
The cook returned moments later with a cheery disposition. She handed over three gold coins. “I’ll take both bottles and a wedge of that cheese.” She pointed to the paler option.
Elsie handed the goods over and thanked the cook, who had no idea she’d been liberated. Soon enough, that cheery disposition would be genuine, not the fleeting excitement of having nabbed a good price on wine.
It would likely take a few days before Elsie’s work was discovered. It wouldn’t be reported in the newspapers or shouted from the rooftops, but prestige had never been the goal.
Feeling accomplished, Elsie swung her much lighter basket at her side and left the estate grounds.
She hoped the Cowls were watching.