Spellmaker by Charlie Holmberg – Book Review (ARC)

Hello fellow book nerds!

I just finished another amazing Charlie Holmberg book and I just don’t know how she makes me love every book more than the last one I read. This was another great duology and I highly recommend checking it out.

And such a huge thank you to Charlie who mailed me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Seriously.

NOTE: If you did not read Spellbreaker then there will be spoilers. The review for Spellmaker itself is spoiler free, as always.

You can read my review on the first book here: Blog Tour: Spellbreaker by Charlie Holmberg – Book Review


Charlie N. Holmberg

Spellmaker (Spellbreaker Duology, #2)

5 out of 5 stars


Taken from Goodreads

England, 1895. An unsolved series of magician murders and opus thefts isn’t a puzzle to Elsie Camden. But to reveal a master spellcaster as the culprit means incriminating herself as an unregistered spellbreaker. When Elsie refuses to join forces with the charming assassin, her secret is exposed, she’s thrown in jail, and the murderer disappears. But Elsie’s hope hasn’t vanished.

Through a twist of luck, the elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey helps Elsie join the lawful, but with a caveat: they must marry to prove their cover story. Forced beneath a magical tutor while her bond with Bacchus grows, Elsie seeks to thwart the plans of England’s most devious criminal—if she can find them.

With hundreds of stolen spells at their disposal, the villain has a plan—and it involves seducing Elsie to the dark side. But even now that her secret is out, Elsie must be careful how she uses the new abilities she’s discovering, or she may play right into the criminal’s hands.


So it is no secret that I love Charlie’s book. I honestly don’t think there’s been a book she’s written yet that I haven’t enjoyed. And this duology is no different. It takes place almost immediately following the events of the first book. Merton has been unmasked as the person behind all of the missing Opus. Ogden was under her spell but thanks to Elsie is now free. Events pick up right away with Elsie being thrown in jail for being an unregistered Spellbreaker, which could result in her death. In order to save her, Bacchus claims that she just found out and how does he know? Because they are engaged. YES – SHE DID THAT. So, while trying to find Merton to stop the deaths, Bacchus and Elsie need to prepare for a wedding for their “fake” engagement. I felt like this book took a different tone than the first one did. It focused a lot more on Bacchus and Elsie than the story, which I didn’t mind. I absolutely devoured this story, but the pacing did feel a little slower than the first. It was more because the case was sprinkled in while more personal matters were being tended to. But Charlie has such a fantastic way of writing her characters that I really didn’t mind the more personal parts of the story. Everything did come to an epic conclusion and I loved this world so much. The magic system was explored a little more and I’m glad that more of it was introduced in this book. It was fascinating to see how Ogden’s powers work and how Spellbreakers really do play a big role in this society.

I love these characters so much. While I didn’t feel a huge progression from Elsie, I still really enjoyed her character. She did a lot more self discovery in the first book, but in this one, she embraced herself a little more. Her powers didn’t really evolve that much but I felt like this book focused more on her accepting herself than her powers. Bacchus is perfect for Elsie. There was also a lot more of self development from him. Since he isn’t from London, his character had been more about blending in but this book gave him a different feel. It was clear to see the influence Elsie had on him and how much more he embraced his heritage in the open than the first book. While there wasn’t so much development in this book I really liked how their powers were more present. It was great to see how Ogden’s real magic worked. And in the end, to see the true strength of Bacchus – this really made the book fantastic.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Spellmaker by Charlie N. Holmberg was fantastic book. This duology was so much fun to read and I absolutely loved the world. I felt like some of the major plot from the first book took a backseat to the personal plots of the story, but I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the characters relationships develop more but it did cause a little bit of pacing issues. While the first book flowed seamlessly, this one didn’t have that same rhythm. I still devoured the book and enjoyed every aspect of it, but I could see how that might cause trouble for some readers. However, these characters are just amazing. I love reading about Elsie more, and her acceptance of herself was becoming more clear. Bacchus was just utterly amazing. But I really enjoyed reading more about the magic and seeing these characters utilize this wonderful system that Charlie has created. I highly recommend this book, and series, if you enjoy magic, hunting the bad guy, and slow burn romances.

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