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Publisher's Summary

A world of enchanted injustice needs a disenchanting woman in the newest fantasy series by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

The orphaned Elsie Camden learned as a girl that there were two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those, like her, born with the ability to break them. But as an unlicensed magic user, her gift is a crime. Commissioned by an underground group known as the Cowls, Elsie uses her spellbreaking to push back against the aristocrats and help the common man. She always did love the tale of Robin Hood. 

Elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey is one elusive spell away from his mastership when he catches Elsie breaking an enchantment. To protect her secret, Elsie strikes a bargain. She’ll help Bacchus fix unruly spells around his estate if he doesn’t turn her in. Working together, Elsie’s trust in - and fondness for - the handsome stranger grows. So does her trepidation about the rise in the murders of wizards and the theft of the spellbooks their bodies leave behind. 

For a rogue spellbreaker like Elsie, there’s so much to learn about her powers, her family, the intriguing Bacchus, and the untold dangers shadowing every step of a journey she’s destined to complete. But will she uncover the mystery before it’s too late to save everything she loves?

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

What the critics say

“Skillful vocal characterizations enhance this fantasy audiobook set in a magical Victorian Britain…While the plot is complex, both narrators evoke the sympathetic protagonists so convincingly that listeners will feel invested, as well as excited for the sequel.” --AudioFile magazine

“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.” --Library Journal (starred review) 

“Powerful magic, indulgent Victoriana, and a slow-burn romance make this genre-bending romp utterly delightful.” --Kirkus Reviews 

What listeners say about Spellbreaker

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  • MSN
  • 2021-11-20

Buy the book, pass on the audio!

I would have liked this book had I just listened to the other reviewers and just read it instead of getting the audiobook. I couldn't finish it. Joel Froomkin, the male voice actor is horrible - weird, over the top voices and accents - gave me a headache trying to listen to it. They should have just stuck with Knowelden. Never again.

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Worth listening

This is sooo good! A lot of people didn't like the male reader but it's not that bad. the audio book is totally worth if only for the story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Roderica Ruddle
  • 2020-12-21

Interesting read/listen

I have to say, I really enjoyed listening to this book. I’ve already got the preorder saved for the next book in the series.

Normally, I don’t write reviews unless the book is really good or really bad. Although this wouldn’t be a book I’d normally give a review one way or another I felt I needed to based on other reviews.

Most previous reviews stated how horrible the male reader is. I almost didn’t get this book because of those reviews. However, not only am I glad I did, I totally disagree with the previous reviews.

The male reader is good. Not the greatest I’ve ever heard but not nearly as bad as it’s been blown out to be. My ears didn’t bleed every time he began to read. Actually, I thought he did quite well with the tone of other male voices and the main male characters voice especially when having to slip into an “island” dialect.

I guess I felt like Joel Froomkin was getting a bad shake and I wanted a review for future readers to have a different perspective.

And, no I don’t know this man, or getting paid to write this. Js.

93 people found this helpful

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  • Bart Hanus
  • 2020-11-05

Joel Froomkin should find different work

I feel bad for Elizabeth about leaving 1 star on the performance, as hers is excellent. But Joel’s narration is so bad that I can’t increase the score and allow him to coast on a better co-narrator.
His reading is stiff and jilted. His emphasis increases the first few words of each sentence, then drops to nothing for the remainder of the sentence — regardless of length or content. His dialogue is almost unintelligible.

I am a big fan of Charlie N Holmberg. I can’t express the disappointment I felt when the second chapter started.

Read this one. Skip the audio.

55 people found this helpful

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  • Voracious Reader
  • 2020-11-13

Intriguing

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
In Victorian England, there are two kinds of wizards: those rich enough to make spells and the rare few born with the ability to break them.

MY TAKE
I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it. It was narrated by a man and a woman. Elizabeth Knowelden did a great job; Joel Froomkin was just okay, but it didn't take away much from my enjoyment of the story.

The tale itself was intriguing. Holmberg does a great job with her magic systems, and Spellbreaker was no different.

Elsie Camdem's magical ability of taking apart spells is against the law--but only because she's not registered. Abandoned as a child, she spent years in a workhouse until at the age of 11 she accidentally broke a fire protection spell and the place burned down. The law is severe against unregistered people, so Elsie can't admit what she can do. But she has a purpose, something given to her by the "cowls" (a name she gave the people who send her on secret missions to undo spells that she's told are being used to injure or subjugate poor people).

It's on one of those that Elsie's caught by Bacchus Kelsey, who's visiting England to gain his mastery in magic. They work out a deal: he won't turn her over to law as an unregistered Spellbreaker, and she will work with him around his host's estate to undo negative spells.

There's a lot going on in the story, including the murder of magic users, a search for Elsie's missing family, and a growing trust between her and Bacchus.

I enjoyed the twists. There was one point where I was getting irritated by Elsie's naiveté and ready to stop reading when everything is turned upside down. Then the action really takes off. There's resolution for the main storyline but not for another part. I'm looking forward to the next book.

4 1/2 stars

31 people found this helpful

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  • Dana Marie
  • 2021-01-20

Great Book, Not Great Narration

Don’t get me wrong, Elizabeth Knowelden does a great job on the narration, but Joel Froomkin is absolutely awful. His voicing of Bacchus is forced and over the top, as well as jarring in terms of cadence and inflection. His voicing of the female characters is inconsistent and overall frustrating. I wish they had only used Knowelden for this audiobook.

That being said, it’s a good book with a good story. If you enjoyed the Paper Magician, you’ll enjoy this for the same reasons. It’s a quick, easy, read; not terribly challenging, but nice for a mental break and some happy fantasy.

If I had to do it over again I’d buy the physical book instead of the audio, but I’d still buy it nonetheless.

16 people found this helpful

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  • ulutree
  • 2020-12-20

Loved the story, but not the male narrator

Many reviews have mentioned the male narrator’s performance, and while it didn’t ruin the book for me, I do agree that his voice and accents were unpleasant. He didn’t really match what I thought Bacchus should be, and sounded more like a caricature of these people than anything else. His vocalization of the female characters was atrocious. The female narrator was great, and I wish the producers had just stuck with only her instead...or found a male with a deeper, more melodious voice.

As for the story, it was highly engaging and I listened all the way through. The magical world is fully developed and understandable, and there are unexpected twists that keep things interesting. However, if you’re impatient, wait until the second book comes out before starting this one...at the end I found myself yelling at the app to tell me more. It is NOT a cliffhanger (so you will be satisfied), but it is clear that this is not the end of Elsie and Bacchus’ story. Needless to say I am anxiously awaiting the next one.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Hannah
  • 2020-11-17

enjoyable when the female voice reads

honestly, I hated the male reader. I hated his accents, how he spoke, his voice, everything. but when the female voice spoke I enjoyed the book. kind of predictable, but still enjoyable

7 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel A. Lindley
  • 2021-05-13

Please re-record this with a different male lead!

Good story, but every time the male narration by Joel Froomkin started, it was so bad I wanted to turn it off. Please re-record this, he is ruining this book. The female narration by Elizabeth Knoweldon was great.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-03-07

How did Joel Froomkin get this job?

The story is very good, and if you enjoy Holmberg’s previous work you will enjoy this book.
Elizabeth Knowelden delivers a magnificent performance and really allows the listener to sink into the story.
Joel Froomkin is absolutely awful. Wooden, jarring, and distracting. Just terrible!

6 people found this helpful

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  • G Ed-Wats
  • 2020-11-30

I love the story

I love the story, Charlie N. Holmberg is one of my favorites in this genre. The female narrator is perfect but I can do without the male he was awful and I found myself wishing his parts would hurry to get back to the her she could have read the whole book alone. Still great book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • kat
  • 2021-06-26

Lovely story, horrible male narrator.

I enjoyed the rhythm and story lime though it is a cliffhanger. the female narrator was charming but I actually laughed out loud when I first heard the male narrator and almost shut it off but I was already invested in the story. Not only was his accent atrocious, he sounded twice the age of his female counterpart which just felt really off. If you can get past his performance it's worth a listen!

5 people found this helpful