Charlie N. Holmberg
November 1, 2020
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Review by Liz Gatterer

Charlie N. Holmberg, author of the Paper Magician series, has returned to the Dickens-like magical universe with Spellbreaker.  Set in a time where orphans go to work houses, women aren’t to go about alone, it explores the the unequal distribution of wealth and power, both normal and supernatural, that maintain the separation between the classes.  Spellbreaker is the first in a new series featuring Elsie Camden, a young woman unique in the magical world.  Abandoned by her family as a young girl, she was sent to a work house where she accidentally discovers that although she cannot perform a magic spell, she can break them.  This is a closely regulated gift and those that can do it, must be registered or risk ending up at the end of a hangman’s noose.  Elsie is unregistered.  She has become the cats-paw of a secret society that seeks to even the scales between the “haves” and “have-nots” by risking Elsie’s life.  There is also a love story, and an orphan story, but to me the real story was really the struggle between the classes that was the best part of the story.  I always cheer for the underdog.