The Spellshop

Bramble. Jul. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9781250333971. $29.99. FANTASY
When revolutionaries set fire to the library where Kiela lives and works, she and her friend Caz, a sentient plant, pack up spell books and quickly leave the capital island. With nowhere to go, Kiela decides to return to her childhood home island of Caltrey, where she has inherited her parents’ old house. Once there, Kiela and Caz must keep the stolen spell books hidden because magic is restricted to trained wizards only. However, the longer both stay on the island, the more they realize magic is needed to keep the island and its inhabitants thriving, so they come up with remedies to sell to the local population, secretly sharing their illicit spells. Eventually, magic is reported to the emperor’s guards, who arrive on Caltrey to inspect the community of any magical wrongdoing. Can Kiela, Caz, and their newfound friends fool the guards and evade punishment?
VERDICT Durst’s (The Bone Maker) cottagecore romantasy takes place on an island of fantastical creatures and people, with romances among found family and friends and illicit spellcasting adding a dash of suspense to the mix. An excellent match for fans looking to take a break from epic fantasy for some feel-good humor and happiness.
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