Book Reviews

Book Review: Spellbreaker

by Charlie N. Holmberg

publisher’s synopsis

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?

A fun start to this historical fantasy duology.

Initially, it took me a little bit to get used to Holmberg’s writing style, but I soon enjoyed it.

I liked the magic system and the idea of spellmakers and spellbreakers. I hope we get to learn more about the magic system in the next book.

Elsie and Bacchus were nice main characters. I personally felt that Elsie was the more developed of the two, which makes sense since she is the main main character. Her voice was fun.


My one quibble with Elsie is: why did she never suspect the Cowls of being bad guys? I suspected from the beginning that they were evil and Elsie their pawn. Though, I suppose that Elsie’s thoughts could have been magically altered.


The end of the novel left me confused about some things, but that was probably due to the plot twists. I’m assuming that everything will be cleared up in Spellbreaker.

Cautions: three instances of swearing; four blasphemy; a few British swear words; light/moderate romance; brief mentions of violence

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