BOOK REVIEW: Spellbreaker by Charles N. Holmberg

Title: Spellbreaker
Author: Charles N. Holmberg
Publication: November 1, 2020
Publisher: 47North
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 331

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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 am not really sure what drew me to this book in the first place.  Maybe it was the cover with the skyline of London on it, or maybe it was the Victorian-dressed woman right in the center.  It could have been that I heard so much hype over her other series The Paper Magician that I wanted to see what this Duology was like.

Elise is an unregistered Spellbreaker.  She was abandoned by her family in the middle of the night when she was 6 years old.  She went into the workhouse and eventually worked her way up to work for a stonemason as his assistant of sorts.  She has also been secretly working for a group she calls The Cowls as a Spellbreaker for them.  She has the ability to take rune magic apart.  Her life was mundane until she meets Baccus as she was doing work for The Cowls at the home he was staying in.  This book was really good.  It kept me guessing the entire way over who The Cowls actually were.  I did at some point get irritated with Elise with how she just would do whatever her little papers would say.  I still want to know how those little notes found their way into her personal stuff without her knowledge.  Even with how the book ended I still want to know!!

I really liked the banter between Baccus and Elise. I hope that the second book sees something blossom between the two.  I was glad to see that there was magic in this book without being over the top and annoying.  It was just the right amount.  I will admit that I did find the character of Ogden a bit tedious.  I thought he was just a little bit extra.  Once the story was laid out though I will admit I did find him a bit more endearing.  I thought that Elise’s character was such a strong one.  She stood her ground and worked hard to get where she was, even though she had such a rough childhood and she never stopped looking for her family, even though they abandoned her at 6.  I do wish we could have learned more about that but who knows maybe we will in the second book.  I am really excited to read the second book I have already borrowed it from Kindle Unlimited and have added her other series to my to-be-read list as well!  Can’t wait to read more by this author. 


Pick up your copy of Spellbreaker by Charles N. Holmberg on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out more from author Charles N. Holmberg on his website HERE.

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