This was the first book I’ve read by Charlie Holmberg and I must say, I was absolutely charmed. The first few chapters were a bit of a rough start not because of the writing or the story, but because I picked it up near the end of my semester when deadlines were crashing in around me. Once things settled down and I could simply sit and read, I was transported to a unique and exciting magical place. We are given a Victorian England where magic is commonplace and most of those with magic are part of an organized system. The protagonist, Elsie Camden, is unregistered and works in secret for an insurgent group. Through one of her missions, she is discovered by Bacchus Kelsey who promises to keep her secret if she helps him break some spells.
Their relationship was a slow burn and was very sweet. They went from disliking each other to being friends to having feelings for each other. I also loved Elsie’s relationship with Ogden and Emmeline. Although they were not related they created a beautiful family atmosphere.
The writing was very nice. It was not extremely flowery, but it had some nice flourishes to it. Holmberg also moved things along nicely. She spent time where time was needed but didn’t dwell on things either.
Lastly, I loved that the ending surprised me! I was not expecting Elsie’s secret employers to be who they were and I was not expecting them to be so devious either. I had thought that there would be some great reveal of how the Cowls were right and the others were misusing their power, but I was so wrong!
This was a clean read – there was no profanity or explicit scenes.
I am excited to read the sequel to Spellbreaker which will be coming out on March 9, 2021.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.