47North: Amazon. (Spellbreaker, Bk. 1). Nov. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781542020091. pap. $14.95. fantasy
Set in Victorian England, Holmberg’s (Plastic Magician) newest fantasy is also a mixture of mystery and romance. Elsie Camden is a young child when she is “rescued” from a workhouse by a shadowy figure. She is set on a path to use her special talent to help people for whom justice has been magically denied. She is proud to be useful, and wanted, as a tool for good. After a decade, the missions come more frequently, until one day, she is caught. The man who interrupts her latest spellbreak, Bacchus, is handsome, strong, and even a bit distracting. And confusing, because if he is so just, how can he be working against her mentors? Bacchus is not the only distraction, either. Someone is killing aspectors (or spellcasters) in order to steal their magical essences (called opuses).
VERDICT Those who enjoy gentle romance, cozy mysteries, or Victorian fantasy will love this first half of a duology. The cliffhanger ending will keep readers breathless waiting for the second half.
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