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Spellmaker  By  cover art

Spellmaker

By: Charlie N. Holmberg
Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden,Noel Arthur
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Publisher's Summary

A Wall Street Journal bestseller.

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 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.

©2021 Charlie N. Holmberg. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Narrator Elizabeth Knowleden returns to this magical series as brash Elsie, with Noel Arthur joining in as reserved Bacchus. Lyrical accents and evocative descriptions ground listeners in Holmberg's fantasy world as Elsie and Bacchus attempt to halt a murderous rampage through nineteenth-century England.... Knowlenden and Arthur deliver full-bodied performances. Their nuanced pacing pulls listeners into both the danger and the tender moments between the lovers.” (AudioFile Magazine)

“The romance between Elsie and Bacchus, combined with the fantasy of magic and good fighting evil, will appeal to fans of the previous Spellbreaker novel (Spellbreaker, 2020) and to fans of Naomi Novik or Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy.” (Booklist, starred review) 

What listeners say about Spellmaker

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better male narrator!

While listening to the first book, Spellbreaker, I had to read my kindle copy of any part that was narrated by Joel Froomkin bc his voice was terrible. This new guy is better but not amazing. I just wanted to leave a review solely to let people know they don’t have to suffer through that first dude any longer.

15 people found this helpful

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Fun & engaging

I listened to this 2-book series pretty much back to back. It was a lovely adventure, and I found the ending satisfying.
They chose a new male narrator for this book, thank goodness. This one voiced Bacchus much better.

8 people found this helpful

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Unexpected delight

I am so glad I stumbled across this series. It caught my attention right away and the pacing was perfect. I adored the characters, loved that I questioned motives, and wondered what was really going on! The narrator was perfection and I highly recommend this series.

Magic and murder, friends, fantasy and love! It definitely has a few, or all of my favorite things! This book picks up after the first in early England, but Elsie has to make a choice to take a stand against a murderous magician. The relationship between Elsie and Bacchus develops quite sweetly along the way as they navigate trial after trial, determined to stop the murderer. I would highly recommend this series.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Better than the 1st book

Super happy that the male reader changed for this one. Definitely a much nicer listen!

Story is fine. Elsie Camden is an interesting character. Sometimes predictable but a character one roots for.

Bacchus is also very compelling.

I'm glad the author didn't belabour the romance between them.

3 people found this helpful

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Sleuthing Amongst the Magical Disciplines

I go once again into the breach of aspectors, spellbreakers and Georgian England in Charlie N. Holmberg’s Spellmaker.

[***Warning – Spellbinder spoilers. I encourage reading Spellbreaker before reading Spellmaker***}

Spellmaker flows seamlessly from Spellbreaker. Elsie is doing something considered not on the “up and up” for a good cause whilst considering the burden she is to Bacchus, Ogden is still recovery from his life as a spell slave and Emmeline is bringing in another telegram from a pining Bacchus. Ms. Holmberg continues to flesh out this lovely world of magical practices broken into disciplines of physical, rational, spiritual, and temporal. Then there are the spellbreakers like Elsie; while aspectors (those who practiced one of the spell making disciplines) often pay to learn them (and, hence, tend to be limited to the realm of the well-to-do). Spellbreakers, on the other hand, are simply born with the ability and must be honed through study and practice. This world is full of class distinction, xenophobia, and racism (just ask Bacchus); you know, kind of like our world except the magic part. (BTW, I love how some reviewers seem to attribute to Ms. Holmberg all the sins of her literary world.)

While it’s a bit endearing to see Elsie and Bacchus’ humility, it’s equally clear that their lack of confidence in affairs of the heart come from a history of rejection in Elsie’s case and the aforementioned racism in Bacchus’. Now the trio (including Ogden) are loosely banded together to bring down Lily Merton and her serial murders to accumulate opuses. (An Opus is book describing all of an aspector’s spells that was birthed upon their death; anyone could execute a opus spell; you didn’t have to be an aspector to use an opus.)

Bacchus and Elsie courtship dance is usually fun and sometimes frustrating to behold. The relationship between Ogden and Elsie (and even Ogden and Bacchus) is a little more complex since Ogden is as driven by his need to right the wrongs of his enslavement as it is by his relationships. While the character arcs remain relatively flat, they are intriguing characters none-the-less. It is worthwhile watching their story continue to play out. This is a paranormal, historical novel, set in time where Elsie and Bacchus could have exchanged greetings with Darcy and Elizabeth or Edmund and Fanny. It’s one where these disciplines of magic reign with a bit of sleuthing thrown in for fun. Actually, there are quite a few twists and surprises not so much in the direction the story takes but the means by which it arrives. .

One of the things I like to do is think about music by which I would like to read a novel. For this one, it seemed like a marriage between the soundtrack to the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle’s version of “Pride and Prejudice” and “The Prisoner of Azkaban”. While I’m not in love the book and I haven’t seen the movie – the best mix seems to be Ferando Velazquez’s excellent soundtrack to “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

One complaint I’ve seen is that characters, especially Elsie, too readily took others on face value. They found this especially troubling given that magic, especially mind control, should make people more skeptical. I would say that this was Georgian England was different time, when people over-all were a bit less jaded, more conscious of authority especially of people of certain rank. It’s always easy to step back in these situations because we, the reader, know things are going to run amiss. Within the story and day-to-day interactions of the characters, not so much. Finally, at least in one example given, there was little choice.

A bit over midway through the novel, I switched between the audiobook version and the Kindle. As with Spellbreaker, Elizabeth Knowelden narrates, but this time joined by Noel Arthur. Ms. Knowelden is a first-rate narrator and Mr. Arthur adding his own twist. The narration added to the story rather than being distracting.

I thoroughly enjoyed Spellmaker. There was good development of the story arcs of the characters, the world and its workings remain fascinating, and I love a good Battle Royale. I highly recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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Much better male narration

I loved the story and the continued world building, but I was delighted to have a new much less distracting male narrator for this installment.

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Better than the first voice were perfect this time!

This book was better than the first! The voice was perfect! I need more I need to know more details! I hope there will be more books!

1 person found this helpful

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An excellent end!

I truly enjoyed this, it was intriguing and complex story. I love the growth of all the characters and how they were able to each find their happy ending.

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Loved it!

Finally a clean book (series) and I couldn't put it down. It's not my usual read but I still loved it.

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Much better

I am not a fan of two narrators but they both did a great job.

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  • Tatiana P
  • 04-07-21

The change of narrator by chapter wasn't enjoyable

I loved the other books by Charlie N. Holmberg and was waiting for this one for months. It wasn't as good as the previous ones though.
The audio shifted from a narrator I liked on the sample to another I didn't, so it only made it worse for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Danai
  • 01-17-22

Unfortunate choice of male narrator

I really enjoyed the first book and both narrators.
The male narrator in this is very flat and sounds like he is reading the back of the cereal box.

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  • R. Powell
  • 09-01-21

dodgy reading

the male reader was poor. story OK with some twists. speed of two readers didn't match.