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(Spellbreaker Duology #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  17,176 ratings  ·  1,405 reviews
A world of enchanted injustice needs a disenchanting woman in the newest fantasy series by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

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 ma
Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published November 1st 2020 by 47North
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Charles MacCracken There is one scene where the hero takes off his shirt in front of the heroine. SHOCKING! There is also a kiss, on the cheek. Ms Charlie Holmberg treat…moreThere is one scene where the hero takes off his shirt in front of the heroine. SHOCKING! There is also a kiss, on the cheek. Ms Charlie Holmberg treats romance similarly in her other books I have read.(less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  17,176 ratings  ·  1,405 reviews

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Charlie Holmberg
Aug 05, 2020 is currently reading it  ·  (Review from the author)
In a world where magic is owned by the rich and spellbooks spawn from wizards’ corpses, one woman has the power to unravel it all . . . if she doesn’t get caught.

If you love Victorian stories, magic, or cozy mysteries, this book is for you!

Preorder on Amazon:

Cathy | A Case Full of Books
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fans of Charlie Holmberg will absolutely love this. It felt very similar to Paper Magician while being something entirely unique. I could not put it down. (Except when I had to take care of my children. How rude of them.)

The magic is intriguing, the characters so well developed, and the plot pulls you right in.

How Charlie continues to write amazing book after amazing book is mind boggling. I'm sure glad she does, though.

The only downside is...waiting for book two. 😭
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
In the first of a two-book series, Holmberg introduces us to a young spellbreaker as distinguished from a spellmaker. If you are looking for gritty, rough-edged realistic fantasy, this is probably not the novel for you. Geared for a younger dreamier audience, it gives us a Victorian England filled with all manner of magic spells. Just not my cup of tea.
Eloise Smith
I have very mixed feelings now I've finished Spellbreaker.

Having seen this come up as a choice on October's Amazon First Reads, it sounded right up my street. Elsie is an illegal spellbreaker, she knows of magic but cannot perform spells, only break them. How does she know she is a spellbreaker, well she frequently receives letters from a mystery organisation she refers to as the Cowls that ask her to break spells that keep the rich and poor separate. Elsie therefore considers herself a Robin H
Montzalee Wittmann
I enjoyed this world!

Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Goldberg has a fascinating world of magic, terrific characters, and a great plot. The characters are well developed and I can't help liking Bacchus with him being a kind of underdog although he is rich. An out of wedlock child and darker skin than the English snobs he is not "one of us".
The plot has lots of surprises and twists. Keeps me guessing!
Jeff Wheeler
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Charlie hooked me on her writing style with the Paper Magician series, which is still my favorite of hers, but Spellbreaker was in the same vein and I really liked it. Maybe it's the Victorian setting and the interesting new magic system, but I enjoyed the plot and the main characters. And as usually happens, the tension in the story keeps ramping up until I can't put it down and have to know what happens. We featured an excerpt of this book in the Winter 2020 issue of Deep Magic. Glad I got to ...more
Amanda (bears.and.books)
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks so much to the author for sending me an advance copy of Spellbreaker! Charlie has been a favorite author since I read her Paper Magician series. What I loved about that series is her ability to create unique magic systems yet write in a way that’s easy to understand. Though her worlds aren’t complex fantasy, they’re still fun and full of adventure.

Spellbreaker continues that, though the magic system in this book starts out a little more vague. In this world, there are two types of wizards
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How do I love Charlie N Holmberg’s writing… let me count the ways. Each one of her stories has a strong female lead who has such impeccable morals and a practical head on her shoulders. They are so easy to fall in love with and root for. I was a huge fan of The Paper Magician series, as well as The Will and the Wilds.

She has a way of building a magical world without completely overwhelming you in unnecessary world building. You dive right in with a character who is easy to identify with, and th
The Nerd Daily
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Annie Deo

Spellbreaker is the first in a new duology by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg. It’s set in an alternate Victorian-era England where magic is commonplace, although of course it’s primarily only the wealthy white male wizards who are allowed to gain power and prestige through their abilities. Our heroine Elsie Camden is a lowly orphan who happens to be an unregistered spellbreaker and part of a clandestine group
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This book got much better as it went along. I had a lot of trouble in the first quarter of the book - the rules of the world are many and confusing, and there are lots of characters and places. The narration also switches characters, making it even more confusing. But by the middle, I was enjoying myself even though I wasn’t quite sure how I had gotten there, and the end finished strong. I did not expect the ending and was satisfied! However, there are also several clear cliffhangers left open f ...more
Enthralling. I enjoyed Elsie as a character, and Ogden was so sweet! I also hope we get to learn more about Bacchus and his motivations in the next book. The pacing was a tiny bit slow in the beginning, and the climax was perhaps even a bit too fast, but I still very much enjoyed the reading experience.

3.75 stars
Nov 19, 2020 marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly remarkable book. I would go as far as to say this is Charlie's next "Paper Magician" series and one fans, myself included, will want more from for years to come.

Ellie is a unregistered Spellbreaker working for a secret society of Robin Hood type vigilantes.
Bacchus is in England to gain his Master title in Physical Aspectorship (Physical magic)
When their world's collide a greater mystery is unveiled. Who can you trust?
Since I got the ARC of the second book for this Duology, I will let you know that I was pretty excited to dive into the first book. After doing so, I can now say that it was just an okay book. I'm not sure what I'm doing on my end but it seems to be a trend this week where things don't really happen until the end of the book. Which don't get me wrong doesn't always mean it's a bad thing.. but to me, it just makes me bored because nothing is really happening.

That being said Spellbreaker had some
Jan 19, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a book with two kinds of magical abilities: those who can cast spells and those who unravel the spells. It seems that people who can cast are higher class and admired and those who unravel are either working class or operating illegally. Our main characters are one of each magical kind, Elsie is a secret spellbreaker and working for an underground organization. Bacchus is wealthy and trying to create a master spell. They come from different worlds but end up making a good team when they ...more
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very very good.

First of all , as my headline says...this was a very well written story. It kept me guessing the entire time. Even close to the end, I was wrong on several fronts.
Magic is not my favorite story subject, and I came close to not reading it; but I'm glad I did.
The heroine is extremely likeable and relatable. She can be duped, but not because the author makes her stupid; but because she is human.
I am not a fan of "to be continued" stories, but this seems to be a trend that's here to
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It takes a special kind of writer to get me excited about genres I don't normally read. Charlie N. Holmberg is one of those writers. This novel, the first in a duology, is a masterful blend of historical fiction and fantasy that made me wish that the sequel was already out. The world building and magic system are well-planned and believable, the characters sympathetic and relatable, and the plot compelling in a way that makes the book difficult to put down. I'm happy to have discovered this very ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Once again, I am completely and utterly impressed by this magical world Holmberg has created. I could not put this book down, and gravitated toward it every time I had a few free seconds where I might be able to read a little more. I was immediately drawn into this story, each chapter pulling me deeper and deeper as this amazing book unraveled like the spells Elsie was breaking. There were twists and turns abound, and my mind was working constantly trying to figure out what was coming next, what ...more
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm a Charlie Holmberg fan. I love her books - the ideas she gets for her stories are so entertaining to read. So I was surprised that I had a difficult time getting into this book. The beginning just took forever to pick up. Some of the pieces felt disjointed. Honestly, it didn't gain momentum until I was halfway through. By then I was understanding the gist of the book and the plot began to thicken. The interesting tidbits at the beginning kept me reading, trying to figure out what the rules o ...more
Samantha W.
This book wasn't bad per se. I will probably read the second one because I want to know what happens. I really didn't like how long it took to get where it was going.

Also, I generally struggle with this author. So maybe it's just me.
Dawn Michelle
Set in an alternative-reality Victorian England, where magic rules [though typically only by rich men], Spellbreaker tells the story of Elsie Camden, an orphan who is also an illegal spellbreaker [which means she knows of magic but cannot perform spells, only break them], unregistered and working in the shadows. Aided by a group she has labeled "the cowls", she works in the shadows, breaking spells and making life better for those who have been trapped by said spells. Then she is caught by Bacch ...more
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
A fast-moving story with likeable characters, an interesting magic system, a murder mystery and a budding romance, all set in a Victorian England.
Elsie Camden is an orphan, long separated from her original family and rescued from a workhouse by a mysterious benefactor.
Elsie works for a stonemason, Ogden, whom she regards as her father, but she has another secret, job. Elsie is also a secret spellbreaker.
Spellbreakers can do as their title suggests: break spells created by spellmakers. Both typ
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommended to Brinley by: Hiel Vicente
After having a friend recommend this to me, I had high hopes. I was expecting a fantasy with complex characters, a thought out plot, and twists that shocked me. This was about halfway there.

Spellbreaker follows Elsie, a young woman working for an unskilled spellmaker. After being saved by a group she calls the Cowls, she owes them, and to pay off that debt, they send her on missions using her ability to break spells. Soon, spellmakers are being killed for their knowledge, and Elsie is on a miss
Hila Karimov
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
The gist is - parallel universe Victorian England, but where some of the aristocrats are also mages. You have to be either rich or connected to learn magic, even if you are extremely gifted. Magic is taught at "Atheneums", every magical discipline has its own Atheneum. Training outside of an Atheneum is highly illegal. Spells are represented by runes and can either have a long standing area effect (e.g lock spell on a door) or an immediate explosive one (e.g shooting lightning at someone). The h ...more
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Spellbreaker is my very first book by Charlie Holmberg and her writing style has fascinated me to the point where in am looking forward to read more of her work. The world building and writing pulled me in right from the beginning and kept me locked in. I thought the idea, plot, and characters were all one of a kind.

Elsie is an illegal spellbreaker, she is aware of sorcery yet can’t perform spells, just break them. How can she realize she is a spellbreaker, well she as often gets letters from a
Feb 22, 2021 rated it liked it
My biggest issue with Spellbreakers was that the pacing started out extremely slow. Nothing exciting or overly interesting happened until about halfway through. The first half was drawn out and easily could've been shorter. The main characters, Elsie and Bacchus, were… pleasant. While their backgrounds were rather interesting, their personalities were unfortunately quiet and bland. So while there wasn't anything major to complain about, they were also somewhat forgettable. The world is unique, b ...more
Jan farnworth
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of the Paper Magician series as it shows the uniqueness of an author who can develop ​magical systems like this. In this series, we have Spellbreakers who can see a spell and take the knots of it and untangle it to where it no longer works. Their also Spellmakers which take center stage for the second half of this duology.

Our main character is drawn into a world of magical intrigue by a group she has dubbed "the cowls". She balances her duties at a stone masonry and as a rouge S
Timothy Boyd
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Another great start to a Charlie Holmberg series. Even though it is only 2 books long it starts off with a bang and keeps you pulled in all the way to the end. Great read. Very recommended
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
I know Charlie likes romance in books way more than I do, so I was a bit fearful that this would be nothing but a kissing book. But I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the whole thing.

It’s set in alternate Victorian England with magic: the wealthy can purchase spells and become titled this way. They are only restricted by how much magic their bodies can absorb. They’re known as spellmakers or aspectors. But spellbreakers are born — these people can be anyone, and they can undo spells.

Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely riveting!

I love her writings and have always jumped to read her next book. This one kept me on the edge of my seat and I never saw the ending coming! Great mystery intertwined with magic.
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Charlie N. Holmberg is an award-winning, best-selling, and internationally published author of fantasy and romantic fiction. She was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters, who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. She currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at

Amazon: amzn

Other books in the series

Spellbreaker Duology (2 books)
  • Spellmaker (Spellbreaker Duology, #2)

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