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(Spellbreaker Duology #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  6,198 ratings  ·  527 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 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,198 ratings  ·  527 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.
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
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
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
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?
Nov 19, 2020 marked it as to-read
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
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
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
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
Cozy mystery, magic spells, and quirky romance. Oh, my.

This is perfect for fans of The Paper Magician. I am one of them, of course :-D

With an atmosphere touched by Jane Austen, this Victorian mystery is crafted with wit and charm in equal measure.

Elsie Camden is a smart, resourceful orphan working for a stonemason while dabbing in espionage and illegal wizardry. Can you imagine an alternative England where magic is almost monopolized by the aristocracy, mainly in male hands and excruciatingly
Andrew Wideman
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I really enjoyed this book and I hope the second in the series is just as well written. It kept me interested throughout and I loved all of the characters.
Donna Weaver
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Victorian England, there are two kinds of wizards: those rich enough to make spells and the rare few born with the ability to break them.

I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it. It was narrated by a man and a woman. Elizabeth Knowelden did a great job; Joel Froomkin was just okay, but it didn't take away much from my enjoyment of the story.

The tale itself was intriguing. Holmberg does a great job with her magic systems, and Spellbreaker was no different.

Corinne Edwards
4.5 out of 5

As a child, Elsie lost everything familiar and familial and was saved by an organization, the Cowls, that needed what she could do: undo the spells that spellcasters performed. Not just anyone has this skill, of course, and she knows she should be registered, but in order for Elise to perform the sort of work the Cowls require, stealth and covertness really is necessary. She's proud of the efforts she's made to protect those that need protecting and bringing the uppity down a peg, ev
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun little jaunt through magical Victorian era England. Literally, magical. There are spellmakers and spellbreakers. Spellmakers need money to buy their spells, while spellbreakers are born into their gift. Overall, I think the magical system the author developed is a little unnecessarily complicated...but it makes for some fascinating plot points and an interesting take on classism.

The first half of the book was a lot of set up. Building characters and their relationships, understan
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
A new to me author chosen from Amazon first reads. Elsie is an unregistered spell breaker who was taken from the workhouse as a child by a mysterious man who seems to be part of the Cowls. She doesn’t know who they are but the Cowls give her secret missions to break spells to ‘help’ the common man. Whilst on one of these missions she is detected and faces severe punishment because she isn’t registered but Baccheus Kelsey keeps her secret and gets her to help him instead. At the same time there i ...more
Kim Howard
This is my first book by Charlie Holmberg and her writing has intrigued me to want to read more of her work. The writing and world building pulled me in right from the start and kept me engaged. I thought the concept, plot, and characters were all unique. It’s a world of magic with our heroine being a spellbreaker. I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize this is two book story so I wasn’t prepared for the cliffhanger-like ending. March 2021 is a long time to wait to see what happens. Well r ...more
Ellen Williams
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another interesting world

I already read this authors paper magician series and was quite pleased with the majority of that series because of the interesting world building she does. The different ideas of magic and how it is used and regulated are different than most mainstream magical themed books. Overall this book was a bit of a magical mystery where the main character isn’t necessarily a good person but strives to do the right thing. It’s not in the same world as paper magician and is the b
LianaReads blog
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A bit sidetracked by this book as it's not my usual kind of books but i found it interesting enough to keep me engaged especially because i love the descriptions of historical London
Let's see how the next book will be.
Linda Kovic-Skow
Nov 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Spellbreaker was a well-written, intriguing story filled with mysteries that kept me turning pages. Elsie and Bucchus were well matched and interesting characters. BUT, and this is a big one, why not end the book with a more satisfying ending? This easily could have been a five-star novel.
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
IH :)
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5... This was a well written, quick read fantasy novel that I didn’t want to put down. Its plot explored elements that were creative and not overplayed in other fantasy novels. The half point deduction is for the incredibly apricot ending... it literally felt, like they took a full novel and just published the first half... PS the next book is out Match ‘21.
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I decided to give this author another chance, even though she put a tyre swing in the 1870s in The Paper Magician .

The late-Victorian language isn't quite idiomatic, and a tradesperson's assistant coming to the front door of a manor house would be a huge social error in this period, so the author is still not really getting historical fantasy quite right. But the story is well enough told that I can mostly overlook this; there was nothing as glaringly anachronistic as the tyre swing, and the
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another fun book from Charlie! It was just wanted I needed to mentally escape from our current quarantine. I loved Elsie, although I was a bit frustrated at her being so naive to always blindly follow the instructions she was given. There are many twists and turns at the end and while I had faith and knew it would end on a positive note, it kept me guessing right up until the very end. She did a fabulous job with the love interest and now I have to impatiently wait for the next book!
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
Anne - Books of My Heart
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

4.5 hearts

Oh how I enjoyed this story!  One main point of view is Elsie, who works for a stone mason and artist, Ogden. He has been kind to her and it is a good position.  She was abandoned by her family at the age of 5 and put into a workhouse.  She got her position with Ogden when she was 10.  A fire in the workhouse showed her
Peter Baran
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fun bit of magical Victoriana, with a pretty lightly drawn society where magic is weaved in, is mainly for the posh and the intricate rules seem well sowed into an otherwise unchanged Victorian world. The magically adept can buy spells, can train up in schools and be mentored but it usually takes money, unless you are the one naturally gifted form of magic user - a Spellbreaker. Our orphan girl is one, hiding her skills as she is unregistered, doing odd Robin hood style jobs passed on to her b ...more
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Charlie N. Holmberg is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the fantasy Paper Magician series, which has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her latest fantasy novel is Spellbreaker. Learn more at

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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

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