Review: Spellmaker (Spellbreaker Duology #2) by Charlie N. Holmberg

I haven’t had very good luck with duologies. I typically find them to feel unfinished. There is something about the trilogy of three books that rounds out a story in a way that two books just doesn’t. So often I tend to pass on them, but then I was pitched Charlie N Holmberg’s Spellbreaker duology.

The covers for Holmberg’s books are whimsical and really stand out to me. They are easy to identify and the suggest something historical mixed with fantasy and I couldn’t pass on the first book. It just sounded so good and I did enjoy it so reading the second book in the duology was a no brainer for me! These books are quick reads and I really enjoyed diving back into Holmberg’s rich world!

I still feel the a trilogy would have worked better in this particular series but as duologies go, this one wasn’t bad at all. I enjoyed many aspects of this one and am excited to read more books by Holmberg!

Summary

Dead wizards, stolen enchantments, and broken promises force a young spellbreaker out of the shadows in the next thrilling installment of the Spellbreaker series by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

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.(summary from Goodreads)

Review

As expected, this book answered a lot of questions from the previous book and wrapped up the larger narrative so you will want to go back and read the first book before diving into this one. In the first book, the focus was on the world building and the main story of the spellbreakers, but in this book the focus was more on the romance part between Elsie and Bacchus, which for me was fine but other readers might feel a little let down. The first book in the series already does a lot to establish the main characters and villains as well as various character motives which means by the time we get to the second book it’s just basically wrapping up book one by extension.

This is what bothers me about duologies. It’s like the author couldn’t fully wrap up everything on one book but doesn’t have enough story to fill a trilogy, so they split the different and go with a duology which for me almost always feels unfinished or unnecessary. I have read some pretty disappointing duologies but I wouldn’t say this one was disappointing per say, but I still felt like it could have been stronger or simply wrapped up in one longer book. I would personally liked to have seen more development within the world and story but the romance question was more the focus here, which again was fine but I think it could have been better of the two books were more balanced.

But at the end of the day, I still enjoyed this one and read it quickly. It was a wonderful escape and I love fantasy so this one was a great break from some of my heavier reading I’ve been reading lately. If you liked the first book in the duology, then there is no question that you will enjoy this one probably just as much. I know that I enjoyed it even if at times I wished for more, overall the book accomplished what it set out to do—entertain me! Holmberg crafts a stunning world rich with fantasy elements and fun characters. On that front I felt fully satisfied and I am really looking forward to reading her both books, especially the Paper Magician series! If you love fantasy with some romance and a mystery, this one might just enchant you too!

Book Info and Rating

Format301 pages

Kindle Edition

PublishedMarch 9, 2021 by 47North

Free review copy provided by publisher, 47North, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: fantasy

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