cover image Spellbreaker


Charlie N. Holmberg. 47North, $14.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2009-1

Holmberg (The Will and the Wilds) kicks off her Spellbreaker duology with this romantic and electrifying gaslamp fantasy. Orphan Elsie Camden is a spellbreaker with the rare ability to disable any wizard’s spell. At age 11, she’s recruited by the Cowls, a mysterious organization who order her to use her powers to disenchant spells for the good of their cause. Now 21, it’s been 10 years since Elsie interacted with any of the Cowls in person, instead receiving her assignments through cryptic letters. On one of her missions, she’s caught by Bacchus Kelsey, a powerful wizard, and agrees to work for him to keep him from reporting her to the authorities. As a series of wizard murders and grimoire thefts sow fear among the magical community, Elsie discovers that the Cowls are not who she thought they were. Holmberg maintains the tension and suspense in the magical story line even as light romance blooms between Elsie and Bacchus. Though the cliffhanger ending will leave some frustrated, the fast-paced plot and fully realized world will have readers eager for the next installment. Fans of Victorian-influenced fantasy won’t want to put this down. Agent: Marlene Stringer, the Stringer Literary Agency. (Nov.)